Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

FCC OKs ownership rule that should ease buyouts

FCC OKs ownership rule that should ease buyouts

Wheeler was not able to pass new reforms on BDS as he stepped down from his chairman position after Donald Trump became president in January. "Despite data collected by the FCC indicating that approximately 73 percent of BDS locations may only being served by one provider, and the Small Business Administration raising serious concerns about its impact on small businesses, the Commission has forged ahead to the detriment of consumers".

According to the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), a pro-deregulation policy group whose members include AT&T, the market is "highly competitive".

The decision ends most regulatory requirements in almost all areas, but retains some price caps in areas with little competition.

More than a decade of FCC data revealed 73 percent of the BDS market is only served by one provider and 97 percent served by only one or two.

"Back in 2013, when the commission began this proceeding, I had a simple request", Pai said.

The FCC plans to readdress the issue later this year. Kerpen said, "The FCC under Tom Wheeler tortured the data to make sure they could continue pushing for onerous regulations like this that pushed their liberal ideology". The order requires a carrier to obtain approval from the FCC before discontinuing, reducing or impairing a service and disclose any change in prices or services when making changes to network infrastructure. Dominant telecommunications providers have long abused their incredible market power, and American businesses and consumers have suffered the consequences in the form of reduced economic growth and job creation, lower business investment in new operations and products, and higher prices passed on to consumers for goods and services.

Pai added that strict price regulations don't encourage incumbents or competitors to invest in new networks. "We must build faster, more affordable networks of the future", said Pickering. Twenty-First Century Fox Inc in September challenged the FCC rule in court.

Clyburn, a SC native and Democrat, called the party-line vote onbusiness data services an "all-out assault on America's small businesses, schools and local economies".

"Business data services, or special access, are important to the functioning of business and anchor institution in each and every city and town in America", Clyburn said.

Instead of looking out for "millions of little guys", the Republican majority at the FCC has sided with the interests of huge telecom providers, she added. Especially hard-hit would be those in rural areas: "Cash-strapped hospitals, schools, libraries and police departments will pay even more for vital connectivity, and soon we will see pressure on our rural health care funding, resulting in less bandwidth".

Clyburn said the cable industry had entered the $45 billion business data services market, but she warned there will be an increase in "significant consolidations", such as Verizon's acquisition of X.O. Communications in 2016.

The National Hispanic Media Coalition said today's FCC decision will cause irreversible harm to diverse owners of small and mid-sized companies. "Our networks drive our economy, and blocking competition from one of our economy's most important sectors is unsafe".

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