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FCC Seeks Mobile Broadband Competition Info

The FCC is seeking input for its 19th report on the state of mobile wireless competition. That comment date is May 31, with replies due June 15.

Among other things it wants to know is if the metrics it used for the 18th report were sufficient for analyzing competition.

It is looking for information on revenue, profit, coverage, demographics, consumer use, pricing, speed and latency. But it is also asking whether the metrics it used in the 18th report are sufficient for analyzing competition or need changing. 

Whatever metrics the FCC uses, mobile broadband providers would likely want to see it result in an actual assessment of how competitive the marketplace is, particularly since they argue there is plenty of competition.

Like other recent mobile reports about the state of mobile wireless broadband, the 18th report after collecting all that data about competition, came to no conclusion about whether or not the marketplace is competitive.

That did not sit well with mobile broadband players or FCC Republicans. The commission's Wireless Bureau, which released the report, suggested that handicapping competiveness could lead to an overly simplistic conclusion.

But FCC commissioner Ajit Pai saw other factors at work. "[T]his FCC will never find that there is effective competition in the wireless market, regardless of what the facts show.  That’s because doing so would undermine the agency’s goal of expanding its authority to manipulate the wireless market – a goal it can’t accomplish if it deems that market healthy," he said back in December.

The FCC has taken a broad view of its authority to regulate in the absence of a conclusion that advanced telecommunications is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely manner (Sec. 706), which the FCC under recent Democratic chairman has been interpreting as deployed to everyone at sufficient speed.