The Federal Communications Commission today voted to eliminate price caps in much of the business broadband market by imposing a new standard that deems certain local markets competitive even when there’s only one broadband provider.
“What this order does is open the door to immediate price hikes for small business broadband service in rural areas and hundreds of communities across the country,” FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, said in a detailed dissent. “Cash-strapped hospitals, schools, libraries, and police departments will pay even more for vital connectivity.”
While there are no price caps on home Internet service, the FCC does limit the prices of so-called Business Data Services (BDS) provided by incumbent phone companies like AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink. The services are delivered over copper-based TDM networks and are commonly used for “connecting bank ATM networks and retail credit-card readers [and] providing enterprise business networks with access to branch offices, the Internet, or the cloud,” the FCC said.
One ISP choice counts as competition
In a very inside-baseball proceeding (the Jurisdictional Separations and Referral to the Federal-State Joint Board) that has not gotten any attention, the FCC has requested an 18 month extension to examine the cost allocation rules that are applied to revenues and expenses of AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink’s state utilities, which they control.
The problem is that the FCC has been taking extensions in the same, exact proceeding for 16 years (which we will discuss). This takes the phrase “kicking the bucket down the road” to a whole new level of government cover-up.
And this proceeding is critical. In a meeting scheduled for April 20th, 2017, the FCC is steam-rollering and doing a hatchet job on upcoming proposals that will be discussed. From Broadband Data Services, (BDS), to the shutting off the copper networks, or the IP Transition, the FCC plans to gut all customer protections, block competition, and harm all businesses that rely on these data services, (formerly called “Special Access”).
So, how can the agency, then, attempt to shut down and delay examination of the accounting rules that are directly tied to these other items?
On April 17th, 2017 we filed comments with the FCC to start immediate audits and investigations of the cross-subsidies of the incumbent phone companies, AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink. As we document, Verizon’s own financial accounting revealed massive manipulations of the financial books created by the FCC’s “Big Freeze” and negligence. But this is happening in every state because the FCC rules are federal, not state-based.
The Verge, April 11th, 2017
“After Congress repealed the FCC’s broadband privacy rules two weeks ago, new FCC chairman Ajit Pai promised the American people that he would ensure that the personal information they give to their ISPs would continue to be protected. Pai said that he planned to work with the Federal Trade Commission to “restore the FTC’s authority to police internet service providers’ privacy practices.”
“But this plan will not only fail to provide effective broadband privacy protections, it will come at the cost of eliminating the FCC’s net neutrality rules that prohibit ISPs like Comcast and AT&T from picking winners and losers on the internet. And there’s a real chance the FTC actually won’t be able to regulate ISPs at all.”
1 million NYC homes can’t get Verizon FiOS, so the city just sued Verizon
Nearly 1 million New York households do not have access to Verizon’s fiber-based FiOS service. Verizon says it has brought its network to 2.2 million NYC residences, while the city has an estimated 3.1 million households.
The city government’s complaint in the New York State Supreme Court seeks a declaration that Verizon is in breach of its obligations and an order to complete the project. The 2008 agreement, which gave Verizon a citywide cable television franchise, said Verizon must “pass all households” with its fiber-to-the-premises network by June 30, 2014. The agreement covered only cable television, but the fiber build-out also provided faster Internet speeds because the same fiber is used to deliver both services.
Click to Read the Complaint:
A.G. Schneiderman Announces Lawsuit Against Spectrum-Time Warner Cable And Charter Communications For Allegedly Defrauding New Yorkers Over Internet Speeds And Performance, February 1st, 2017
Complaint Alleges Nation’s Second-Largest Internet Service Provider Systematically And Knowingly Failed To Deliver The Reliable And Fast Internet Access It Promised To Subscribers Across The State
Suit Seeks To Compensate Spectrum-Time Warner Cable Subscribers For Five Years Of Broken Promises And Damages And Restitution That Could Be Worth Upwards Of Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars
Click Here To Read The Full Complaint Filed In NY State Supreme Court