Competition in the communications industry began when upstart MCI started challenging Ma Bell (AT&T) in the long distance business. Since AT&T’s divestiture and the introduction of competitive access providers (CAPs) and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), the communications industry has changed dramatically.
Competitive providers are spurring innovation and driving down the prices of communications services for consumers and businesses alike. These service providers are also creating thousands of new jobs and playing an important role in strengthening our nation’s economy.
Below are some highlights from the Federal Communications Commissions’ September 2010 “Trends in Telephone Service ” report that underscore the impact that competitive providers have had on communications industry. The data is current as of December 2008, the last period for which analysis has been completed.
Growing Number of Competitors
The FCC finds that local competitors now outnumber incumbent LECs (ILECs). As of October 13, 2008, there were 1, 744 local competitors compared to 1,307 ILECs.
A review of the consumer price index (CPI) for the cost of Telephone Services vs. all other goods and services, shows that greater competition has forced prices of telephone services down while the cost for all items have increased dramatically since 1982.
More Residential Alternatives
There was a significant rise – from 41.3 percent to 56.3 percent – in the number of residential customers who are served by competitive providers, while ILECs saw declines to just over 61 percent by December 2008.
Growth in High-Speed Connections
The number of end users with broadband connections continues to grow (Chart 2.1). In addition, high-speed connections are no longer delivered over telephone lines. Chart 2.2 shows the various types of networks over which end users receive broadband services. Tables 2.5 and 2.6 show breakdowns of high-speed access by state.
The following charts will give you a perspective on the central office technology in use, including number of ILEC switches, use of key switching technology, and additional categorization of switches by number of lines served.