Trump’s FCC Votes to Allow Broadband Rate Hikes for Schools and Libraries

Another day, another anti-consumer corporate giveaway.

President Trump’s recently-installed Federal Communications Commission chief, Republican Ajit Pai, has made clear that he wants to roll back US rules protecting net neutrality, the principle that all internet content should be equally accessible to consumers.

But the forthcoming Republican assault on net neutrality is just one component of an escalating effort by Trump’s FCC to deregulate the broadband industry in ways that benefit corporate giants like AT&T and Verizon, and hurt consumers, according to public interest advocates.

For example, the FCC voted today to approve a controversial plan to deregulate the $45 billion market for business-to-business broadband, also known as Business Data Services (BDS), by eliminating price caps that make internet access more affordable for thousands of small businesses, schools, libraries and hospitals. The price caps, which have been in place for years, are designed to protect small businesses and other community institutions from predatory behavior by monopoly broadband providers like AT&T and Verizon.

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FCC helps AT&T and Verizon charge more by ending broadband price caps

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

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