US telecom carriers call for FCC broadband report review

US telecom carriers call for FCC broadband report review

Six US telecom carriers are calling for a peer review of the latest business broadband report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The revised report "raises significant new concerns," the carriers say in a new filing with the FCC, who add that under federal statutes a peer review of competition in the business data services (BDS) marketplace must take place.

The agency's actions "reflect a desire to find shortcuts toward a pre-determined outcome rather than a neutral commitment to evaluate" competition in the BDS market, the filing says.

In June, AT&T and Invest in Broadband for Amercia coalition members CenturyLink, Cincinnati Bell, Consolidated Communications, FairPoint Communications and Frontier Communications filed a Motion to Strike the earlier report from the FCC's hired economist.

That motion was in response to acknowledgements by four of the largest cable providers that they had significantly undercounted the number of locations that are capable of providing business data services. The FCC based its May 2 further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) on the report, which the carriers described as "irretrievably flawed" in their motion.

According to the carriers, the revised report from the FCC's hired economist states the agency's analysis of competition in the BDS marketplace is "essentially unaffected by [cable providers'] updated submissions." This conclusion comes despite the FCC’s long-term position that the installation of Metro Ethernet does in fact constitute cable providers as relevant BDS competition, according to the filing.

"Instead of conducting a thorough review to include an accounting of the cable industry's participation in the business data services market," said John Jones, senior vice president, public policy and government relations at CenturyLink, "the FCC apparently is doubling down on their original flawed report”.

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