Yesterday’s announcement of the FCC’s proposal to place new price regulations on business data services is attracting both heavy criticism and high praise. The Commission released a statement saying that its data shows that competition in this market is uneven, and that existing rules have “failed to identify markets where competition is lacking, even as they have failed to identify competitive markets.”
The proposal drew fire from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, which says that cable’s entry into the market for business data services over the last few years has improved services and lowered prices for businesses. “It is disappointing that Chairman Wheeler is responding to this unquestionably positive development by asking the Commission to consider imposing onerous new rate regulation on these competitive services,” the association states. “We are confident that this proceeding will expose the obvious harm to investment created by such an approach and that the Commission will reject the Chairman’s proposal to abandon four decades of bipartisan pro-competitive policy.”
Tom Struble, policy counsel at TechFreedom says the FCC’s actions cast a pall over the market, and points to economic data predicting it could result in a decrease in fiber investment. He adds that the new regulations could actually depress rollouts in the business data services market, and decrease the number of fiber and other high-capacity service options.
INCOMPAS cheered the FCC’s launch of a further rulemaking to address what it calls the lack of competition in the business data services market.
“We are committed to working for technology-neutral policies that ensure providers do not abuse their market positions in the prices, terms and conditions for BDS services — services that are necessary for wireless backhaul and competitive services to business customers, schools, hospitals, libraries and government buildings,” Chip Pickering, CEO of INCOMPAS, says. “This action today is a critical step forward in promoting next generation mobile broadband networks such as 5G.”
“The FCC is now poised to usher in a new competitive and sustainable business data services framework to the benefit of the entire broadband economy,” BT says in another statement. “We thank the FCC for its action today and look forward to continuing our work together to ensure that competition governs this critical input to innovation.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations