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Today, the Federal Communications Commission approved a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks to increase competition in the high-speed business broadband “special access” market.
The following may be attributed to Phillip Berenbroick, Government Affairs Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“For more than a decade, competitive carriers, consumer advocates, and business organizations have sought to bring more competition to the special access market. Today’s FNPRM is an important moment in this effort.
“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, costing the American economy approximately $150 billion over the past five years, and raising the prices on everything from healthcare and financial services to education and other government services.
“The FNPRM seeks to address the drag that an uncompetitive business broadband market has placed on the American economy and consumers. Where special access markets are not competitive, the Commission could act to ensure that business customers, wholesale providers, and ultimately, consumers, aren’t forced to pay unjustifiable or unreasonable special access rates.
“Importantly, the FNPRM takes a forward-looking, technology neutral view of the special access market. This approach ensures that incumbent providers, competitive telcos, and emerging cable competitors are treated equally, and that the exercise of market power, regardless of the technology used, can be addressed when it harms business customers and consumers.
“After a decade of advocacy, we look forward to working with the Commission and other stakeholders to conclude this proceeding in 2016 and finally bring renewed competition to the special access market.”