CenturyLink's latest BDS complaint: unrealistic pricing deadlines

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Image: CenturyLink headquarters

CenturyLink says that if the FCC’s proposed business data services (BDS) proposal goes into effect, it and other wireline telcos will need more time to realign back office operations to support the new changes.

At issue is a call made by CLECs urging the FCC to put its proposed new pricing structure into effect in January 2017.

That's not enough time, the incumbent telco said. In order to prepare for this change, CenturyLink said it will have to “update and reconfigure systems used for pre-order, order, provisioning, billing, compliance and reporting” while existing tariffs would have to be modified and rewritten.  

“This effort will take much longer than two months to accomplish,” CenturyLink said in an FCC filing (PDF).

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CenturyLink reiterated its concerns that the FCC’s proposal to implement an 11 percent price cap over three years could inhibit the telco’s efforts to expand business services to its customer base, particularly in smaller cities and towns.

“The rate reductions in the proposed order would make the business case for deploying fiber and broadband even more difficult, especially in less densely populated areas that are already hard to serve,” CenturyLink said. “The result would be less competition and less broadband investment, not more.”

The telco added that the FCC should “adopt a more balanced approach that recognizes the state of competition in the BDS market and does not negatively affect infrastructure investment” and that the “proposed order's finding that there is evidence of emerging competition and falling prices for Ethernet-type services.”

In a previous filing, CenturyLink claimed it would have to reduce “Ethernet rates in the company’s eight interstate service guides by between 37 percent and 89 percent, with a company-wide weighted average reduction of these standard rates of 49 percent.”