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Sen. Markey, Rep. Doyle Call for BDS Vote Delay

Add to the list of those calling for a delay in the FCC's April 20 vote on deregulating broadband business data services (BDS) Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.).

Doyle is the ranking member on the House Communications Subcommittee, while Markey is former chair of that subcommittee and one of the Senate's strongest critics of new FCC chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to deregulate prices for incumbent providers (ILECs) on the theory that the marketplace is generally competitive and getting more so all the time.

In a letter to Pai, they urged him to postpone the vote saying the market was not competitive, citing the FCC data collection that informed the conclusion of Pai's predecessor, Tom Wheeler, that the marketplace lacked sufficient competition to justify such deregulation.

They said that competition has driven up costs for schools, libraries businesses and anyone who relies on the BDS market, which means anyone swiping a credit card, withdrawing money from an ATM, or accessing broadband over a wireless device—wireless backhaul is a major BDS service. 

"We are concerned that the proposed BDS Report and Order does not adequately promote competition or apply appropriate pricing protections where competition does not exist." 

The Pai proposal presumes competition where there are at least two companies (a duopoly) or where there is "nearby" competition to a lone provider.

They also echoed other proposal critics that if the FCC Republicans do adopt the deregulatory order, as expected, they should provide for a transition period before it takes effect—three years was one of the suggestions from groups—including computer companies and competitive carriers—opposed to the proposal.

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.