The FCC announced new actions in its ongoing process to review the special access market.
The Commission will begin making data collected on the $40 billion market available to the public, condition to a protective order that holds back “competitively sensitive information.”
In addition, the FCC has commissioned a white paper from a Boston University professor who will advise and analyze the state of competition within the special access market using the available data.
At the same time, the FCC has extended the comment period in the proceeding from Nov. 20 to Dec. 11 of this year while also providing a list of new data access requests from parties including AT&T, BT Americas, CenturyLink and Vodafone.
BT made headlines in August when it accused AT&T and Verizon of hurting rivals by charging exorbitant fees for access to last mile networks. BT Group president Bas Burger told the Financial Times that there are not sufficient regulations to promote competition.
BT, along with Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee, Broadband Coalition, Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), COMPTEL, Level 3, Public Knowledge, Sprint and others have joined to form a coalition named Competify aimed at promoting competition in the broadband market.
The group cheered the FCC’s announcement.
“There is relief on the horizon for the millions throughout the broadband economy suffering from competition loss and the effects of chronic broadband access control. By reviewing the comprehensive data collected by the Federal Communications Commission on this disease, we can move from diagnosis to cure, unleashing lower prices, greater broadband availability and a stronger broadband economy for all Americans,” Competify said in a statement.
AT&T fired back at critics, particularly BT, by refuting the claims that special access costs more in the U.S. than in other countries and by pointing out that infrastructure investment per capita is almost 50 percent higher in the U.S. than it is in Europe. The operator also maligned harsher regulation for its potential to chill investment.
“The BT representative never explained in the article how the return to strict rate regulation would promote any entity to invest in more fiber. I suspect the reason for that is because history tells us a return to those policies won’t promote investment,” AT&T chief privacy officer Bob Quinn wrote in a blog post.
Filed Under: Industry regulations