Washington, D.C. — FCC Chairman Ajit Pai plans to hold a vote on a new regulatory regime for Business Data Services Thursday. The Computer & Communications Industry Association has continued to express its concerns about how Pai’s new rules could embolden incumbents to raise prices for these dedicated broadband connections — since they don’t face enough competition to discourage such behavior. Some 73 percent of locations in the U.S. are served by only one BDS provider.
Last week, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy suggested that the controversial new rules would result in massive price hikes on small businesses across the U.S. Pai’s new regulations could result in average price increases of 25 percent for businesses and institutions that use this broadband service for transferring medical data, processing credit cards and ATM transactions.
CCIA calls on the FCC to delay a vote on this deregulatory windfall that would embolden well-connected incumbents, who face little competition, to further gouge businesses, hospitals, and schools across the country. Even before the vote, in an act of regulatory hubris, AT&T has already revealed plans to swamp consumers and small business users in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin with rate hikes for business broadband services.
CCIA has advocated for competition in telecommunications services since the 1970s. The following comments can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“The FCC’s controversial, new BDS regulations undercut competition, and look very different from what was on the table last year. Compelling data, which illustrates the lack of meaningful competition, is overlooked. The FCC should halt the rush to lavish benefits on historically abusive incumbent carriers, which stand to harm millions of consumers and small businesses. This proposal would also have a significant effect beyond the market for BDS, which is worth well over $45 billion a year.
“Unfortunately for businesses and consumers across the country, Chairman Pai’s new plan allows dominant legacy companies to drive up the cost of everything from credit card transactions, to healthcare, to education. The only competition likely to result from this FCC action would be which incumbent will raise rates the quickest. The FCC should delay its vote.”
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