Press Release Tech Transitions Broadband

Public Knowledge Files FCC Comments Supporting Competition in Business Data Services Market

June 29, 2016 , , ,

Today, Public Knowledge, along with other public interest organizations, filed comments in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on competition in the high-speed broadband “business data services” (BDS) market.

The following may be attributed to Phillip Berenbroick, Government Affairs Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“For more than a decade, the Federal Communications Commission has heard from competitive carriers, consumer advocates, and businesses about the lack of competition and unjustifiably high prices in the BDS market. In April, we welcomed the Commission’s FNPRM aimed at addressing incumbent market power and protecting BDS customers and downstream consumers.

“Today, Public Knowledge, along with groups representing consumers; community anchor institutions; municipal governments; and small, innovative companies has filed Comments on the FCC’s FNPRM urging the Commission to act now and adopt long-overdue reform of the BDS market.

“The FCC’s new regulatory framework should begin with the acknowledgement that the BDS market is, by any measure, extremely concentrated and that the market power of incumbent providers requires regulatory oversight. The Commission’s rules should also be future proof — they should be technology neutral and apply to any provider that can exercise market power.

“Critically, the FCC must not repeat prior mistakes. As Public Knowledge recently explained in detail, BDS regulation and determinations regarding whether markets are competitive should be based on actual competition, not hypothetical potential competition. Additionally, pricing benchmarks should reflect competitive markets, not existing prices the FCC has already suggested are unreasonably high and subject to little or no competitive constraints.

“As Consumer Federation of America found earlier this year, lack of competition and exercise of market power in the special access market has allowed incumbent telecom providers to pocket $20 billion annually in overcharges for business customers. Those charges are then passed to consumers, compounding the economic consequences. As a result, uncompetitive BDS markets cost the American economy approximately $150 billion over the past five years, raising the prices on everything from healthcare and financial services to education and other government services.

“Lack of competition in the BDS market has harmed consumers, businesses, taxpayers, economic growth, and innovation. It is long past time for the Commission to address these harms.”

You may view our comments here.