Sprint wasn’t happy with the FCC’s Business Data Services reform proposal before, and its passage in April certainly hasn’t left the carrier any more pleased. In fact, Sprint is now suing the FCC, asking an appeals court to vacate an order it called “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.”
In a filing with the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals earlier this week, Sprint argued the order violated the notice-and-comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, as well as other federal laws including the Communications Act of 1934 and the FCC’s own regulations. The carrier asked the court to block the order’s implementation and “provide such additional relief as may be just and proper.”
Passed in late April in a 2-1 vote, the BDS reform order establishes a new framework that would allow “whenever possible, for competition instead of regulation to ensure that rates charged for business are just and reasonable.” Sprint pointed out in its filing the order also includes determinations that certain business data services are not subject to common carrier regulations under the Communications Act, and “adjusts the scope of regulatory forbearance previously granted to certain business data services provided by affiliates of Verizon Communications.”
Sprint’s latest complaint marks a continuation of its opposition to the order, which it previously said relied on assumptions that were arbitrary and unsupported by the facts.
“The record demonstrates that there is inadequate competition for BDS, especially at DS1- and DS3-level capacities, and that the draft order’s reliance on the expectation that ubiquitous competition will one day develop, even for lower bandwidth and lower revenue services, is unwarranted,” Sprint Counsel Paul Margie wrote in an early April FCC filing.
Sprint’s position against the order was seconded by FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who voted against the measure’s passage. Like Sprint, Clyburn said the order was “arbitrary and capricious” and an “all-out assault on America’s small businesses, schools, and local economies.”
Internet and networks association INCOMPAS also blasted the measure after its approval.
“Outside of the FCC, and a handful of AT&T lobbyists, there is not a single person on the planet who believes we currently have enough broadband competition. Prices are going up, and customer service is going down. That doesn’t happen in free markets with competitive choice,” INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering said in an April statement. “Today’s FCC action protects monopoly over free markets. By saying one provider is sufficient, the FCC is favoring old incumbents over new innovators. It is punishing small business customers, and holds back entrepreneurs. Our networks drive our economy, and blocking competition from one of our economy’s most important sectors is dangerous.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations