Washington, D.C., March 4, 1999 – Citing the potential for harm to telecommunications carriers and consumers, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject anti-competitive efforts to delay licensing a new, trans-Pacific telecommunications cable that would increase bandwidth and improve carrier services significantly.
In a letter to the FCC, CCIA strongly urged the FCC to grant the Japan-U.S. Cable Network’s (JUS) license and reject the petition to defer, which was filed by Global Crossing Ltd. (GC), a competitor in trans-Pacific cable services. Stalling or restricting construction of underseas cable would undermine competition in the global telecommunications market and deprive consumers of a much needed increase in capacity and bandwidth, according to the international, nonprofit industry trade association whose members include several telecommunications carriers.
“GC’s petition is a transparent attempt by one provider of international transmission facilities to use the FCC’s procedures to gain a competitive advantage over a rival supplier in the marketplace,” said CCIA Vice President and General Counsel Stephen I. Jacobs in his letter to the FCC.
“If GC succeeds in delaying the grant of the JUS cable license, or in creating uncertainty as to the conditions under which the JUS cable will be permitted to operate, the result will be commercial harm to the JUS cable and diminished competition on the trans-Pacific route.”
Jacobs noted that it is common practice for U.S. carriers to buy ownership interests in consortium, or cooperative, cables that enable them to share facilities and networks by routing their traffic simultaneously through the same fiber optic lines.
“In the international arena, cooperation among multiple international carriers through shared, consortium cables like JUS can make necessary international facilities available to small carriers and other new entrants at affordable prices,” he said.
According to Jacobs, GC’s petition failed to demonstrate any proof that the JUS cable would inhibit domestic or global competition among cable companies or harm consumers in any way.
“GC is simply trying to reduce overall capacity on the route by impairing, if not eliminating, competition from the higher-capacity JUS cable, and that’s just wrong,” he said.