INTUG Expresses Concern to F.C.C. over Recent Summary Business Services Data Order

The new Chairman's reversal of the previous FCC Network Neutrality position is also unwelcome for business users.

INTUG has written to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the recent Summary Business Services Data Order, stressing how vital communications services are for business users domestically and internationally.   The difficulty for alternative operators to obtain “Special Access” circuits on an equivalent basis has long been a problem in the US, and INTUG has repeatedly argued for regulatory change in this area.

Unfortunately, new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s new rules will embolden incumbents to raise prices for these dedicated broadband connections, as the incumbents don’t face sufficient competition to discourage such behaviour.

73% of locations in the US are served by only one provider. A competitive environment, in which a choice of operators is available to provide seamless services, is essential for the business users INTUG represents.  Communications services for businesses are a critical enabler for enhanced productivity, economic growth and job creation for the economy as a whole.

In seeking to protect dominant providers, the Summary Business Services Data Order is unwise, because it focuses too much on the economics of the communications industry, and too little on the impact on the overall economy.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy asked for a delay in serving the Order, but regrettably the FCC proceeded, on the basis of a 2-to-1 majority vote.

INTUG also expressed concern about the reversal of the network neutrality policy in the US by Chairman Pai.  This risks causing significant damage to competition, whilst creating problems due to inconsistencies and incompatibilities with policies in other parts of the world, for example in the EU, given the global nature of the Internet.

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