BROOMFIELD, Colo., April 8, 2016 -- For more than a decade, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been investigating how the big incumbent telephone companies have abused their market power by charging unreasonable prices and imposing anticompetitive demand lock-up terms for business data services (also known as “special access” services), all of which hurt customers, competitors and the broader U.S. economy. The FCC’s own data, collected in the most thorough examination of this market ever conducted, leave no doubt about the extent of this market power: according to a review of the data by a former FCC Chief Economist, incumbent telcos are the only provider of these services in 77 percent of locations.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today announced he has presented to the full Commission an item that represents the first substantive action the FCC will take to break the incumbents’ dominant hold on this market.
Below is a statement from Level 3 Communications:
Level 3 applauds Chairman Wheeler for presenting to the full Federal Communications Commission a Tariff Order that will help unlock the $40 billion-per-year market for business data services. This order will put an end to some of the worst of the incumbent telcos’ anticompetitive tactics—tactics they use to lock up the market, keeping competition out and helping them maintain and exploit their market power. Freeing up the market is a critical step in unleashing competition for these vital network services and spurring a virtuous cycle of innovation and investment for the U.S. economy.
Chairman Wheeler’s proposal also sets the stage for the necessary next steps to reform this broken market, enhancing wireless broadband deployment and reducing consumer costs in healthcare, finance and nearly every sector of the economy. After more than ten years of delay and obfuscation on the part of the big incumbents, consumers — and the American economy — have waited long enough for relief from the incumbents’ chokehold on the market, and we commend Chairman Wheeler on his commitment to press forward with further reforms later this year.
- Joseph Cavender, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Federal Affairs, Level 3 Communications