USA Today has a story today about the efforts by the regional Bell companies to make it impossible – or at least expensive – to compete with them in building broadband networks across the country.

It’s a potent combination of pressure on federal, state and local legislators and regulators, based on threats to slow down the Bells’ plans to roll out fiber networks for higher capacity and speed.

A few years ago the Bells put DSL middlemen like Covad, Northpoint and Rhythms into bankruptcy or forced them out of business with grossly unfair business practices. That put them a step closer to controlling the entire market, the ultimate goal of these monopolies.

It’s a multi-pronged attack that could directly affect your pocketbook and local businesses., for example, has this on its home page:

“ on December 20th filed comments (PDF) at the FCC in response to BellSouth’s request to exclude independent ISPs from access to DSL. is very concerned that if BellSouth is allowed to re-monopolize the telecommunications market, and if SBC follows this precedent, virtually all consumers in California will be left with just two choices for broadband: SBC/Yahoo or Comcast.”

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