NCTA: Four-Providers BDS Competition Test Nonsensical

Cable ISPs continue to try and convince the FCC that proposals to regulate the rates of new entrants and other competitors to incumbent telcos in the provision of business broadband service are off base, including a proposed market test for competition.

A representative of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, aided by academics, made the pitch this week to FCC staffers.

The FCC Democratic majority voted this spring to potentially regulate any broadband business service provider, not just the incumbents with legacy positions in plant due to their phone monopolies, based on the presence or absence of competition in a market.

INCOMPAS, representing competitive telcos, together with Verizon have proposed making four providers with "connections" in a census block the market test for competition.

NCTA says that is "nonsensical," given that in census blocks with any BDS customers over half have only one customer and over 80% have three or fewer customers.

Related: BDS Price Rules Would Cripple Competition

"Such an approach is not a meaningful competitive test, but simply a plea for the broadest possible regulation without regard to competition or costs," said NCTA, according to an ex parte document on the meeting.

It also said that only counting providers with connections to a building is "impossible" to reconcile with the fact that "competition in the marketplace typically occurs through a bidding process in which providers compete for business in buildings where they have not yet deployed facilities."

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.