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INCOMPAS/Verizon: 50 Mbps Should Be BDS Table Stakes

As the comment deadline on the FCC's business data services (BDS) nears (June 28), INCOMPAS, representing competitive carriers and computer companies including Google, and telco Verizon were pushing their compromise proposal at the FCC.

They came up with proposal several months back, before the FCC's late March vote, but fleshed it out with a specific test for what the FCC should consider competitive markets for business data services.

They say the FCC should conclude that any service at speeds lower than 50 Mbps should be deemed noncompetitive, and that any service over a gig should be considered de facto competitive.

Key to the proposal is that they tell the FCC they support ex ante (after the fact) price regulation for all business data services the FCC concludes are not competitive.

Those include the new services built out by cable operators.

Cable operators were strongly against the compromise, much of which was reflected in the proposal the FCC voted to put our for comment.

“For decades the Commission and the courts have recognized that regulation of rates charged by competitive providers is both unnecessary to protect consumers and harmful to investment incentives," said the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. "The proposal by Verizon and INCOMPAS to abandon this successful policy would seriously undermine the Commission’s goal of expanded deployment of competitive facilities and consequently the proposal should be rejected.”

“The Verizon and INCOMPAS so-called business data ‘compromise’ is anything but that and simply not credible," said CenturyLink SVP John Jones. "Now that Verizon and Sprint, INCOMPAS’ largest member, have sold off vast amounts of their own wireline networks, it is no surprise that they are seeking a free ride on the backs of companies that continue to invest billions of dollars in their fiber networks every year. This proposal should be dismissed for what it is—a self-serving attempt to ignore the cost of building tomorrow’s infrastructure while seeking below cost rates from the providers who build the nation’s networks.”

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.