FCC To Investigate Special Access Pricing
As pressure from AT&T, Verizon competitors builds...
Back in June
, Sprint, Covad, T-Mobile, Clearwire and several other smaller carriers and consumer groups joined forces to create something known as the No Choke Points Coalition
. Collectively, the group has been arguing that AT&T and Verizon have abused their dominant position as gatekeepers of massive backhaul and core networks, imposing unreasonable special access charges on smaller operators requiring cross connectivity. The age-old debate over these charges has heated up lately with discussions over whether special access reform should be included in the broadband stimulus plan. In a win for the group, the FCC yesterday announced they'd be taking a look at special access pricing
Yarmouth Port, MA
Not just competitors, but also consumer groups... (I am a representative for New America Foundation in the No Choke Points coalition.)
Just a note that there are a number of Public Interest groups here, including NAF, Public Knowledge, Media Access Project, and US PIRG (and maybe others that I am forgetting).
The lack of competition in this space raises prices and/or eliminates access to those who can least manage it. The situation is one of a choke point, a geeky term for a bottleneck or a single point of failure.
Ironically, the problem isn't geeky at all, it is as simple as buying popcorn in a movie theater -- because you have no other choices than to do without, you'll pay $7 for the popcorn that costs less than $1 to make. Estimates are that the inflated Special Access prices are like the popcorn example, because 90% of the market is controlled by AT&T and Verizon and it is deregulated nearly everywhere.
You, the consumers, pay for this because the communications prices are inflated higher for stores, banks, and health-care providers. If you're a WISP customer, your network can be slower to build out. WISPs can only charge what consumers can bear and can't build out the network if all of the money goes to pay the backhaul bill. Plus the data commitment and early-termination conditions put on Special Access service are so crazy that it creates a high barrier to entry that the would-be last-mile providers just can't break ground.
While AT&T and Verizon do deserve a fair profit that encourages more growth, we've had years of non-regulation and inflated profits and little real growth. What we've seen is a choke point to our progess. AT&T and Verizon can and should be part of the solution and should be rewarded for doing so, but the current situation is choking off progress.
Robb Topolski -= funchords.com =- District of Columbia -- KJ7RL
Test your Broadband connection today! -- »measurementlab.net/
Re: Not just competitors, but also consumer groups...
said by bostonkarl1:And if you get into bed with the wrong person, you may regret it for the rest of your (possibly drastically shortened) life.
So what. Politics make stange bed fellows.
said by funchords:That is exactly the point. The FCC should have announced a Notice of Inquiry on the need (or not) for "network neutrality" regulation and a Notice of Proposed Rule Making on "special access." Instead, it did just the reverse.
As to the FCC mechanics, my understanding is that the FCC has a full record from previous looks into Special Access that it is debatable whether it needs another data refresh: not much has changed.
The results could be devastating. The "network neutrality" regulations could mandate that small, competitive, and rural ISPs obtain more bandwidth before the "special access" proceeding makes sure that the bandwidth is available at a reasonable cost. This could be the "perfect storm" that will kill competitive providers.
said by funchords:Maybe you have filed something nauseating; I tried to file sensible and truthful testimony.
Brett, you and I have filed ad nauseum
into the broadband practices record.
However, the record of that circus-like proceeding contains huge amounts of misinformation from Google lobbyists and is in fact mostly spam generated by them. (Less than 1% of the docket is anything other than spam.) The FCC needs to do fact finding of its own and root out the falsehoods.
The only reason to keep that going is to further delay any action at all.There is no to keep the old, fatally flawed proceeding going. It is time to start with a clean slate and do a serious inquiry to find out the facts. The previous proceeding was tainted from the start by a Chairman who wanted an excuse to bash Comcast... so that he could leave the FCC -- as he has -- to be paid huge hourly rates by the telcos as a lawyer at a firm that works for them. And maybe even be tapped by them, one day, as an executive.
I'm still saying what I've said for over a year -- I want the rules to continue to be a one pager -- much like the policy statement is today.In which case it would be unconstitutionally vague -- as the FCC's "four principles" document was -- and hence not even legal. (Note that if the "four principles" had been enacted as rules, they would be illegal for this reason and also for another: they exceed the FCC's statutory authority. Thanks to Comcast's challenge to the FCC order, expect to see a court ruling to this effect soon.)
Re: 90% of the market is controlled by AT&T and Verizon and it i
said by sides14:Well since you seem to know that for a fact why not contribute positively by enlightening the forum on the real figures. Failing that your post is meaningless and mischievous.
AT&T and Verizon do not control 90% of special access lines. Let's not forget that Qwest has a 13 state region.
Re: 90% of the market is controlled by AT&T and Verizon and it i It's simple logic. To say that AT&T and Verizon control 90% of access lines would be to assume that they control all of the markets. This would be to say that Qwest, Cox, Comcast, Embarq and all of the other players do not have any presence in the reset of the country beyond 10%. Here in Arizona, I can chose between Qwest, Cox, Integra, Level 3, Time Warner Telecom, etc.
Anyone can throw out a number and claim it to be true, but 90% is a ridiculus number. People tend to believe numbers that are represented in articles (whether or not they are true).