Broadband open access is an issue of policy debate in telecommunications, regarding whether or not companies which own broadband telecommunication infrastructure (such as cable operators) should be required to provide access to their facilities for competing businesses which do not own physical infrastructure. The issue came to the fore in the U.S. in 1998, when AT&T Corporation announced its plan to acquire TCI, then the nation's largest cable operator. It involved municipal and local governments, the courts, Federal Communications Commission (the FCC), Congress, businesses, industry associations, consumer advocacy groups, and many others. Similar issues arose in other countries such as the Netherlands, Hungary, and Canada.
In the United States, cable operators were not required to provide access to their facilities to other competing businesses. However, local telephone providers with physical infrastructure, or incumbent local exchange carriers, had such an obligation. This asymmet