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FCC BDS Proposal Draws Crowd

Reaction was flowing in Friday to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to reform business data services (BDS) regulations, which was circulated for a vote Friday.

USTelecom president Walter McCormick dubbed it a mixed bag.

“Chairman Wheeler’s draft order appropriately recognizes that companies are investing and competing in BDS, and that price regulation of packet-based IP technologies is both unwarranted and unwise," he said. "We are concerned, however, that the order appears to apply indiscriminate price regulation to legacy TDM services without regard to the state of competition in the local market, or economic factors such as company size, demographics, and geography of the service area. In doing so, that aspect of the order is inconsistent with the commission’s obligation to engage in reasoned decision-making based on the record before it. We would urge the commission to revise its approach here to better align with its statutory mandate to rely wherever possible on competition, rather than regulation, in order to encourage investment, job creation, and economic growth.”

British Telecom was more upbeat.

"[British Telecom] and many other stakeholders have long called for true market competition, and thanks to the Chairman’s leadership, we are one step closer to real reform ensuring that American businesses and consumers benefit from an innovative, thriving, and job-creating broadband economy," said BT in a statement. "We look forward to learning more about the Commission’s proposal and continue to encourage rules that reflect the reality of today’s marketplace."

The Internet Innovation Alliance, whose honorary chair is former Democratic House Communications Subcommittee Chairamn Rick boucher (D-Va.), was not pleased with the regulations imposed on traditional carriers.

“Today, we witness, with great disappointment, the FCC Chairman’s plan to re-regulate all copper-based legacy business data services throughout the nation," IIA said in a statement. "We fear that American businesses and consumers will ultimately be ill-served by an expert agency that ignores record evidence of robust competition in the market and instead opts for market intervention to favor certain service providers to the disadvantage of others. We hope that a majority at the agency will recognize the potential harm of this plan and will call for a return to long-held bi-partisan policies aimed at spurring innovation and promoting greater broadband infrastructure investment.”   

The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, a member of the Competify coalition (, suggested the FCC had missed the mark.

"The FCC must bring prices for BDS services under control. SHLB believes these efforts should be applied in a technology-neutral way to both TDM and Ethernet services," the coalition said in a statement. "The FCC has fallen far short on reducing costs, and this proposal threatens to cut off the future of education.

"Schools, libraries, health providers and other anchor institutions need high-speed broadband connectivity options from a variety of providers, and lowering special access/BDS prices would help spur competition and investment in the broadband marketplace. To move us toward the National Broadband Plan goal of gigabit connectivity for all anchor institutions by the year 2020, more action must be taken."

For more reaction, go here.