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Democratic Senators Warn of BDS Proposal Impact

A group of Democratic senators have told the FCC that chairman Tom Wheeler's business data services (BDS) proposal could have an "outsized" negative impact on rural telecoms, including small towns and small businesses in their states.

In a letter to the chairman after he circulated his new proposal last week, the senators said they wanted to make sure any effort to regulate non-competitive markets (as determined by the FCC) should take into account the "real cost" and "unique challenges" of providing service to rural and small towns.

They were not exactly carrying torches and pitchforks into the debate. More like flashing yellow lights and caution flags.

They praised FCC efforts to promote broadband infrastructure and gently cautioned that the FCC "not undercut incentives that would allow them to access these critical economic resources."

Signing on to the letter were Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

In a separate letter, Reps. Gene Green (D-Texas) and Bill Flores (R-Texas) said they were concerned that the proposal will slow investment and harm services that rely on the critical infrastructure.