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Although it isn't completely accurate (note the part about Covad not being cheap, and beyond the reach of the smaller indies - not true, their AOL bundle is priced below the competition, and their network passes by approx. 54 million residences) this article pretty well sums up the latest FCC NPRM which was released Friday.

Covad has the potential (long awaited) to still be the dsl arms dealer to the remaining ISPs (AOL, ELNK) as well as a major player in telephony via VOIP (their upcoming LPV trials w/ELNK and, hopefully soon, AOL).

"US telecoms regulator the FCC has signaled the end of the independent ISP, a move which will leave DSL provision concentrated in the hands of just a few large providers. The move, which turns local DSL provision from a regulated monopoly into an unregulated monopoly, also has repercussions for rural telephony providers, who will lose a chunk of subsidy, and has potentially chilling consequences for free speech.

The alternative for ISPs is to negotiate a deal with a CLEC, a competitive local exchange carrier, but in practice that means Covad. (Of the three national CLECs once offering national wholesale DSL, Covad survived Chapter 11, but Northpoint and Rhythms didn't - they went bankrupt and dissolved.) But Covad service isn't cheap and is beyond the reach of the smaller indies."

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