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Telecom Carriers Call for Peer Review of FCC’s Business Broadband Report

Carriers warn of “shortcuts toward a pre-determined outcome”

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must, under federal statutes, submit for peer review a revised assessment of competition in the business data services (BDS) marketplace, according to six U.S. telecom carriers who last month filed a Motion to Strike an earlier version of the same report.

The revised report “raises significant new concerns,” the carriers say in a new filing with the FCC. The agency’s actions “reflect a desire to find shortcuts toward a pre-determined outcome rather than a neutral commitment to evaluate” competition in the BDS market, the filing says.

In June, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL), Cincinnati Bell, Inc. (NYSE: CBB), Consolidated Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSL), FairPoint Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: FRP), and Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FTR) filed a Motion to Strike the earlier report from the FCC’s hired economist. That motion was in response to acknowledgements by four of the largest cable providers that they had significantly undercounted the number of locations that are capable of providing business data services. The FCC based its May 2 further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) on the report, which the carriers described as “irretrievably flawed” in their motion.

According to the carriers, the revised report from the FCC’s hired economist states the agency’s analysis of competition in the BDS marketplace is “essentially unaffected by [cable providers’] updated submissions.” This conclusion comes despite the Commission’s longtime position that the installation of Metro Ethernet does in fact constitute cable providers as relevant BDS competition, according to the filing.

“Instead of conducting a thorough review to include an accounting of the cable industry’s participation in the business data services market,” said John Jones, CenturyLink Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations, “the FCC apparently is doubling down on their original flawed report.”

Jones said the FCC’s reliance on a non-peer reviewed revised report would violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and “exacerbate the Commission’s violation of the Data Quality Act (DQA).”

“Not only is this revised report inconsistent with proper rule-making procedures,” Jones said, “but by violating both APA and DQA, it would preclude reliance on either the original report or the revised analysis in any final order.

“The FCC should be commended for much of what they got right in the FNPRM,” he continued. “But they shouldn’t allow a rush to regulate prevent them from getting this critical data on competition right.”

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, mobile, high speed internet, and voice services. We’re the world’s largest provider of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. We offer the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider. And we help businesses worldwide serve their customers better with our mobility and highly secure cloud solutions. Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/att, and YouTube at www.youtube.com/att.

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
202-777-0676
jenny.murphy@deweysquare.com

investinbbandTelecom Carriers Call for Peer Review of FCC’s Business Broadband Report