Blog posts tagged with 'Special Access'
Tuesday, December 18
FCC’s Special Access Data Collection Order Is Necessary to Shed Light on Today’s Highly Competitive Marketplace
Today’s Special Access Market Is Quickly Leaving Outdated, TDM-Based Technology Behind - It’s Time for the FCC to Refocus its Priorities for America on How Best to Make the Transition to Next-Generation IP Networks for the Benefit of Consumers and Businesses Nationwide
WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 18, 2012 – In response to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) unanimous approval and release of its Special Access Order, the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), a broad-based coalition supporting broadband access and adoption for all Americans, today issued the following statement:
“Moving forward with comprehensive data collection and analysis of the special access market to evaluate competition and infrastructure investment is a step in the right direction; the new data is expected to show that the market has grown highly competitive due to Fiber/ethernet network build-out by competitors and is dramatically different today than just five years ago. The demand for TDM-based services is declining with customers choosing to use high-speed IP-based services. Given this trend, it’s time for the FCC to refocus its priorities for America on how best to make the transition to next-generation IP networks for the benefit of consumers and businesses nationwide. Policies regarding special access were put in place in the 1990’s when incumbent telephone company copper lines were the only available option, and clearly this is no longer the case.”
“Unfortunately, the FCC appears to be moving forward prematurely with its FNPRM on how to conduct its market analysis. Data should be collected first so that any future analyses will be based on a foundation of facts that reflect the current state of the marketplace. However, the FCC should be asking itself whether it is worthwhile to undertake such a large examination of competition for a service that is rapidly being replaced by an IP-based technology and whether its resources would be better spent creating a clear path forward for the deployment of this newer technology across America.
Thursday, August 23
For years the FCC has said that it does not have adequate data to evaluate competition and infrastructure investment in the special access market, and as pointed out by Commissioner Robert McDowell, it has ignored “calls from Members of Congress, commissioners, industry and civil society for a comprehensive data collection and analysis in the course of contemplating a change in special access rules” for more than five years. Yet the Commission has announced that it will prematurely proceed with the immediate suspension of the thirteen-year-old deregulation of special access. Thankfully, the FCC has acknowledged that having data from all providers is essential to any future competitive analysis.
Burning money, time and manpower to regulate an outdated technology is fruitless. America’s future depends on the transition away from special access service to faster next-generation IP networks that will strengthen the economy, amp up U.S. global competitiveness, and improve consumers’ experience. Commissioner Ajit Pai got it right when he said that ‘we should bring this decade-old proceeding to a close soon so that special-access providers and purchasers will have the regulatory certainty they need to carry out their businesses and invest in high-capacity infrastructure.’ Today’s special access order puts the FCC on a regulatory path to nowhere.
Yesterday along a 3-2 party-line vote, the FCC opted to suspend a thirteen-year-old special access regulatory framework without an adequate evidentiary record or market analysis.
For would-be investors, innovators and entrepreneurs, government has once again injected uncertainty into the broadband marketplace, undermining a forward transition across the country to IP-based technologies that enable efficiency and better capabilities for consumers through high-speed broadband networks.
This is a mistake.
America’s special access market is competitive and has contributed to ongoing private-sector investment in upgraded networks. Take T-Mobile, for example, which is able to choose from over a dozen different backhaul providers — from local exchange carriers, to Ethernet wireless providers and cable companies — to keep its customers connected. And that’s just one company in a truly vibrant industry.
Instead of hitting the brakes on special access deregulation and increasing regulatory uncertainty that undermines economic activity, the FCC should encourage the private investment America needs to finally kick free of the technologies of the past, to the benefit of consumers.The future of communication is in bytes — IP-based wired and wireless networks — not the copper-based, networks that offered dial-up, for example.
As pointed out by Sprint, the advantages of Ethernet backhaul over special access are tremendous:
The company [Sprint] might pay $1,500 per month for T1 backhaul at a tower site. That T1 might deliver 4.5 MB of backhaul capacity. When Sprint switches to Ethernet…for the same price of $1,500 per month, Sprint will get almost 20 times the backhaul bandwidth at that location.
Everyone knows healthy competition leads to a healthy market. That’s why the FCC’s focus on the already healthy and competitive special access market is, frankly, a bit baffling and misguided. Technology is fast moving, and the Commission should take care to not bog down innovation with regulatory uncertainty.
Wednesday, June 27
The FCC got it right this week by continuing a Clinton administration policy that removes price regulation for so-called “special access” business services in markets where strong competition exists.
Specifically, by allowing several pending petitions to take effect yesterday, the Commission green lighted pricing flexibility for special access lines operated separately by AT&T and Windstream in several markets throughout the country.
“Special access” is the inside baseball phrase for the lines that link cell towers and business centers to main telecommunications lines. While only indirectly related to consumer services, enabling pricing flexibility for these services represents the kind of forward thinking required to reach President Obama’s goal of delivering high-speed broadband to almost every American home and business. In essence, the Commission ratified the Clinton Administration’s determination that competition, not government, is the best way to set prices. Opting for competition over government rules is a way to stimulate telecom companies to battle for customers by investing in better, more advanced technologies. In today’s marketplace, such investment almost automatically means high-speed lines for broadband services.
That’s exactly what President Obama had in mind in last year’s State of the Union address when he said:
“Within the next five years, we’ll make it possible for businesses to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans. This isn’t just about faster Internet or fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age.”
The President’s aspirations for a truly digital nation should be the guiding light for the FCC as it moves forward, not just in special access, but in everything it does. In every decision, each Commissioner should ask: “will this action encourage investment in a digital America, or is it an old way of doing business that just gets in the way?”