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Computer Giants Knock FCC’s BDS Reform Proposal

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has told the FCC it has issues with chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to deregulate incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) business data services rates and with how the FCC came to the conclusion that most areas are competitive and incumbents can be deregulated.

The FCC under former chairman Tom Wheeler came to a different conclusion about competitiveness, but Pai is treating duopolies or markets with "nearby" competitors capable of offering service as competitive.

In a letter to the FCC Tuesday, CCIA, whose members include Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Facebook and Yahoo! (as well as Dish and Univision), said that Pai's proposal, which is scheduled to be voted on at the FCC's April 20 public meeting, "would not effectively promote competition, that instead it would lead to price increases that would ultimately be born by consumers."

Related: Clyburn Calls for Release of BDS Counties List

The Wheeler proposal came after a years-long data collection, and CCIA says that buttressed the case for the previous chairman's (more regulatory) proposal based on the conclusion that competition was "uneven," not generally robust as Pai's proposal argues. 

CCIA says the new proposal lacks a record of support and speaks in generalities about the presence of competition.

"CCIA is concerned that the Commission’s new half-mile test [for 'nearby' competitors] seems to rely on assertions based on potentiality while not realizing the realities of the marketplace where a competitor faces high costs to extend that fiber to the building," it told the FCC. 

Earlier this week, INCOMPAS, which represents competitive carriers and also backed the Wheeler proposal, asked the FCC to hold off on a vote and first release information on the list of markets it is deeming competitive and on what it is basing that conclusion.

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.