FCC Won't Stay BDS Deregulation

The FCC's Wireless Bureau has denied a request by INCOMPAS and others that it stay its decision to deregulate business data services (BDS).

That is according to an FCC spokesperson, who said the order had been issued by the bureau, though it was not available at press time.

The FCC on April 20 adopted a BDS Report and Order, under new chairman Ajit Pai, declaring the broadband business data services market generally competitive—a distinct departure from the more regulatory proposal of Pai's predecessor, Tom Wheeler, who had concluded the market was insufficiently competitive—and deregulated the rates incumbent providers can charge for services like wireless backhaul, credit card readers, ATMs and institutional hookups to schools and libraries.

Related: FCC Gets Deregulation Earful

Groups like INCOMPAS argued that the final order was sufficiently different from the rulemaking proposal—for one thing the notice was based on the presumption that the BDS market was insufficiently competitive, while the order was based on the presumption it was generally competitive—to require gathering new comments before voting, which the FCC did not do.

INCOMPAS and others have separately challenged the FCC decision in federal court, a challenge that three weeks ago was consolidated in the Eighth Circuit.

John Eggerton

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.