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AT&T: FCC Appears Driving to Pre-Ordained BDS Destination

The FCC on June 28, the same day comments were due on its proposal to revamp the business data services (BDS) market, released the peer reviews of an economic study (Empirics of Business Data Services by Dr. Marc Rysman ) it used to buttress that proposal.

Per the Office of Management and Budget, the FCC sought external review of the study. That review prompted some changes in the form of clarifications and explanations from the author.

Related: INCOMPAS/Verizon--50 Mbps Should Be Business Data Services Table Stakes

AT&T, which is a big critic of the FCC proposal, took aim in a blog post June 29 at the timing of that data drop (98 pages worth of review).

Bob Quinn, senior VP, federal regulatory, AT&T, minced no words, saying the release of the review after the item had already been voted tarnished the FCC's reputation and said it left the FCC open to claims that it was motivated by a political agenda rather than acting like an independent regulator.

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"Whatever the FCC's excuse for delaying the release of this critical data, the lack of due process only reinforces that this agency is driving to reach a pre-ordained outcome," he said.

“The FCC released an NPRM [notice of proposed rulemaking] which it knew [at the time of release] was based on a study that peer review had determined was flawed. It then required the industry to file comments on that flawed study. And once comments were filed, the Commission performed a huge data dump on the industry (which we will now have to unpack and comment upon) containing these previously withheld peer reviews and additional analyses that purport to respond to them. Moreover, instead of having their hired third party economist address the comments from his peers on his paper, the Commission assigned that task to the same FCC staff which will write the final rules in this proceeding. This is completely unorthodox and defeats the entire purpose of having a third party study in the first place,” he said.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.