The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has jumpstarted the process of protecting and advancing competition in the $45 billion market for business data services.
Business data services are critical in the day-to-day life of consumers, business and industry, and are integral to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy as a whole in the information age. Users include banks and retailers connecting ATM machines and credit card readers, government and corporate users connecting branch offices and data centers.
Mobile phone providers offloading calls and data from wireless networks will also benefit from the move, a need that will grow exponentially with the deployment of advanced 5G wireless service. “Data collected by the FCC shows that competition in this essential market is uneven, and that the FCC existing rules have failed to identify markets where competition is lacking, even as they have failed to identify competitive markets,” reads a press statement from FCC.
The item adopted by the Commission on May 2 seeks broad public comment on reforming and modernizing its rules based on four principles: competition is best, but where competition does not exist, market conditions must not be allowed to stifle the ability of business customers to innovate and compete, technological neutrality should be at the core of any new regulatory framework, policies should remove barriers to the transition to new technologies and rules should be crafted to meet the needs of both today’s and tomorrow’s marketplace.
The item includes an Order resolving an investigation of existing special access tariffs filed by four major telecommunications companies, known as incumbent local exchange carriers or ILECs: AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and Frontier. “The Order finds that certain terms and conditions of these tariffs were unjust and unreasonable, and had the effect of decreasing facilities-based competition and inhibiting the transition to new technologies. These companies will be required to withdraw the illegal terms of these tariffs,” the statement added.