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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The FCC Wants to Hide All Controversial Cross-Subsidies and Manipulations of AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink’s Financial Accounting.

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.