Media Coverage

Five Democratic Senators Say FCC’s BDS Proposal Could Hamper Emerging Competitors

FierceTelecom By Sean Buckley

A group of five Democratic senators sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler saying that the regulator’s proposed business data services (BDS) re-regulation could stop emerging competitors from extending broadband networks to rural markets in states where competition is limited.

The latest warnings come in three new filings with the FCC: One from six U.S. Senators, another from the Governor of Delaware and the last from two U.S. congressmen.

Five senators, including Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), signed onto the letter.

investinbbandFive Democratic Senators Say FCC’s BDS Proposal Could Hamper Emerging Competitors
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Democratic Senators, Reps. Warn of BDS Proposal Impact

Multichannel News By John Eggerton

A group of Democratic senators have told the FCC that Chairman Tom Wheeler’s business data services (BDS) proposal could have an “outsized” negative impact on rural telecoms, including small towns and small businesses in their states.

In a letter to the chairman after he circulated his new proposal last week, the senators said that they wanted to make sure that any effort to regulate non-competitive markets (as determined by the FCC), should take into account the “real cost” and “unique challenges” of providing service to rural and small towns.

investinbbandDemocratic Senators, Reps. Warn of BDS Proposal Impact
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Black Caucus Has BDS Issues

Multichannel News By John Eggerton

More than a dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus have called on the FCC to use “all available data to recognize and support competition where it has developed, especially as additional providers have entered the market in recent years.”

investinbbandBlack Caucus Has BDS Issues
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Frontier, IBEW Say FCC Special Access Price Cut Could Compromise Union Workers

FierceTelecom By Sean Buckley

Frontier Communications and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) recently told the FCC during a meeting that the regulator’s proposal to cut business data services (BDS) prices could have repercussions on the ILEC’s union workforce.

Like its fellow ILEC brothers AT&T and CenturyLink, Frontier’s workforce is represented by the IBEW and Communications Workers of America (CWA) unions.

“Tens of thousands of IBEW members install, maintain, and support the business data services (BDS) provided by incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) like Frontier,” Frontier and IBEW said in a letter to the FCC. “IBEW and Frontier explained that if the FCC imposes BDS price cuts — at a time when there has never been more competition in the BDS market — it would undermine investment, hurt competition, and ultimately put thousands of union jobs at risk.”

investinbbandFrontier, IBEW Say FCC Special Access Price Cut Could Compromise Union Workers
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Verizon-INCOMPAS ‘Compromise’ on FCC Business Data Is Anticompetitive

Forbes By Fred Campbell

A regulatory ‘compromise’ between Verizon and trade association INCOMPAS to set prices for business data services is effectively an anticompetitive agreement that’s designed to protect Verizon’s existing high rates for ethernet connections while providing a competitive boost to Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the emerging market for 5G wireless services.

Private agreements among competitors to set prices or service terms are generally prohibited by U.S. antitrust law because they often lead to higher prices. But the same type of agreement is generally legal when it’s used to persuade the government to do the price setting, even if its sole purpose is to eliminate competition, because the agreement then falls into the category of “political activity” protected by the First Amendment. The Verizon-INCOMPAS agreement falls into the political category, because it was submitted to the Federal Communications Commission in the agency’s proceeding to impose new price regulations on business data services (or “BDS,” which includes ethernet-based data connections to businesses and cell towers).

investinbbandVerizon-INCOMPAS ‘Compromise’ on FCC Business Data Is Anticompetitive
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