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Broadband open access

Broadband open access is an issue of policy debate in telecommunications, regarding wheather or not companies which own broadband telecommunication infrastructre[?] (such as cable operator) should be obligated to provide an access to their facilities for competing businesses which do not own the physical infrastructure. The issue came to fore in the U.S. in 1998, when AT&T announced its plan to acquire TCI, then the nation's largest cable operator. It involved municipal and local governments, the courts, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Congress, businesses, industry associations[?], consumer advocacy groups[?], and many others. Similar issue sprung up in other countries such as the Netherlands, Hungary, and Canada.

In the United States, cable operators[?] had not been having an obligation of providing access to its facility to other competing businesses. On the other hand, local telephone providers with the physical infrastructure, or imcumbent local exchange carriers[?] (ILECs), had the obligation. This asymmetrical scheme of regulation became a problem when two industries' business come to overlap and the boundary erode. This transformation of industrial landscape, often called convergence[?], happened in the broadband Internet service provider market. To make matters worse, the cable operators were the leading camp although local telephone carriers were burdened by the open-access obligation.

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