News

Carriers Announce New Coalition to Preserve Investment, Competition in Broadband Market

“Invest in Broadband for America” will push for the FCC to reconsider business broadband proposal

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Five U.S. network infrastructure providers today announced they were combining their efforts to preserve critical network infrastructure and competition in the business broadband market.

The companies, who together operate data and fiber transport networks in all 50 states, provide dedicated connections, or “special access,” to competitors who need to reach fiber networks to market competing telecom services. Substantial and ongoing investments in these services are what connect businesses, homes, cell towers for wireless traffic and data services for millions of users. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently proposed sweeping and questionable new regulations on the special access market and incumbent providers.

The “Invest in Broadband for America” coalition (investinbroadband.org) is made up of CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL), Cincinnati Bell, Inc. (NYSE: CBB), Consolidated Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSL), FairPoint Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: FRP), and Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FTR).

The same companies were joined last month by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) in filing a motion to strike the “irretrievably flawed” data framework underlying the FCC’s recent business broadband services proposal. According to the motion, the record shows that several major cable providers did not clearly or fully report that they were able to provide at least 22 times more business data services using metro Ethernet than were reflected by the original data in 2013.

“First and foremost, it is crucial that the FCC get the data right on competition in the marketplace before flying blindly into a major policy decision,” said John Jones, CenturyLink Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Relations. “Important decisions are best made with accurate data. What is at stake here is the definition of ‘competition.’ That definition will have a substantial impact on the telecom and national economy for years to come. Think investment, suppliers, employees, infrastructure, and contractors.”

According to Kathleen Quinn Abernathy, Frontier Senior Vice President, External Affairs, “It appears much of the FCC’s plan for new regulation of broadband services is for the purpose of subsidizing undefined 5G technology for the wireless industry. This is the same wireless industry that increasingly relies on our robust fiber build-out to move data traffic from smartphones to the public network and has as much as 10 times the earnings of the wireline industry. Without investment into the backhaul infrastructure by the wireline industry, the future of 5G technology could be rendered useless.”

The coalition partners are particularly concerned about the potential of unintended consequences for rural and other underserved communities if the FCC’s proposal is passed.

“The underserved rural markets are already trailing large urban areas in investment and higher speeds. This order does nothing to further additional investment, much less competition, in those markets. Under the FCC’s proposal, productivity factors and picking winners and losers with questionable data would make rural markets poor candidates for investments that would enable 5G technology,” said Michael T. Skrivan, FairPoint Vice President, Regulatory. “We are concerned the FCC’s rush to regulate would harm the country’s most vulnerable consumers.”

About CenturyLink

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is a global communications, hosting, cloud and IT services company enabling millions of customers to transform their businesses and their lives through innovative technology solutions. CenturyLink offers network and data systems management, big data analytics and IT consulting and operates more than 55 data centers in North America, Europe, and Asia. The company provides broadband, voice, video, data, and managed services over a robust 250,000-route-mile U.S. fiber network and a 300,000-route-mile international transport network. Visit centurylink.com for more information.

About Cincinnati Bell Inc.

With headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Bell Inc. (NYSE:CBB) provides integrated communications solutions – including local and long distance voice, data, high-speed Internet and video – that keep residential and business customers in Greater Cincinnati and Dayton connected with each other and with the world. In addition, enterprise customers across the United States rely on CBTS, a wholly-owned subsidiary, for efficient, scalable office communications systems and end-to-end IT solutions. For more information, please visit www.cincinnatibell.com.

About Consolidated Communications

Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ:CNSL) provides business and broadband communications services across its 11-state service area to carrier, commercial, and consumer customers. For more than a century, the Company has consistently provided innovative, reliable, high-quality products and services. Consolidated Communications offers a wide range of communications solutions including: High-Speed Internet, Data, Digital TV, Phone, managed and cloud services, and wireless backhaul over an extensive fiber optic network. Learn more about Consolidated Communications at consolidated.com.

About FairPoint Communications, Inc.

FairPoint Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: FRP) provides advanced data, voice, and video technologies to single and multi-site businesses, public and private institutions, consumers, wireless companies, and wholesale re-sellers in 17 states. Leveraging an owned, fiber-based Ethernet network – with more than 21,000 route miles of fiber, including approximately 17,000 route miles of fiber in northern New England – FairPoint has the network coverage, scalable bandwidth, and transport capacity to support enhanced applications, including the next generation of mobile and cloud-based communications, such as small cell wireless backhaul technology, voice over IP, data center colocation services, managed services, and disaster recovery. For more information, visit www.fairpoint.com.

About Frontier Communications

Frontier Communications Corporation is a leader in providing communications services to urban, suburban, and rural communities in 29 states. Frontier offers a variety of services to residential customers over its fiber-optic and copper networks, including video, high-speed internet, advanced voice, and Frontier Secure digital protection solutions. Frontier Business Edge offers communications solutions to small, medium, and enterprise businesses. Frontier’s approximately 29,000 employees are based entirely in the United States. More information about Frontier is available at www.frontier.com.

Media Contact

Jenny Murphy
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jenny.murphy@deweysquare.com

investinbbandCarriers Announce New Coalition to Preserve Investment, Competition in Broadband Market