Washington, DC- The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) supports FCC Chairman Michael Powell’s recommendations to Congress that call for strengthening penalties for any local telephone company that prevents new entrants from gaining fair access to the wires connecting homes and businesses. CCIA urges Congress to quickly enact the proposals as endorsed by Chairman Powell.

In his recommendations, Chairman Powell requested Congress to increase the maximum penalty that could be assessed against a local telephone company for violating the law to $10 million from $1.2 million. CCIA believes that by raising the maximum penalty, it will help ensure that incumbent carriers will seek effective ways to provide appropriate access to competitors as required by law.

“Fines in the economic arena always need to be of a magnitude that they are not simply treated as a routine cost of doing business.” said Edward Black, CCIA President & CEO. “The penalties need to reflect the significance of the violation, and raising the fine ceiling will encourage more diligent compliance with the law and respect for the FCC.”

CCIA hopes these recommendations reflect a renewed commitment to predictable enforcement by the FCC. “We support these recommendations and hope that the FCC will move to curb anticompetitive violations whenever they take place. Fair and predictable enforcement of the law is in everyone’s best interest,” said Ed Black. He continued, “The quickest way to begin to improve the enforcement process is through the provisions Chairman Powell has laid out, as they appear in Chairman Fred Upton’s bill.”

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