It was fitting that former US senator John E. Sununu invoked Geoffrey Chaucer in his April 14 op-ed “Time to shake the copper habit,” which essentially advocated for less choice and higher prices for phone and broadband service. After all, Chaucer wrote of the Hundred Years’ War, while the policy changes Sununu advocates would bring about the return of the 100-year monopoly once enjoyed by the Bell telephone company system into the hands of AT&T and Verizon.
To justify his argument, Sununu points to the rise in cellphone use in the residential market. However, he ignores the rise in wire-dependent networks in the business market. New competition brought new networks that power the Voice over Internet Protocol, the cloud, and data security. These network advancements help businesses with multiple locations, such as restaurant chains and banks, stay connected.
Competition is driving the old phone companies to upgrade their networks. And it’s not a fluke. The bipartisan 1996 Telecommunications Act, coauthored by Massachusetts’ own Edward Markey, then a US representative, helped continue to break up the Bell monopoly, unleashing an 18-year span of innovation that has created millions of jobs.
But to keep the broadband revolution going, common-sense interconnection policy and last-mile access must remain the law of the land.
The writer is a former US representative from Mississippi.