FCC to propose scaled down special access plan, says report

FCC headquarters

The FCC is going to set forth a new toned down special access reform proposal that would mainly address the lower-speed TDM-based services service providers purchase to fulfill out of territory business service requests.

Set to be released as early as today, the WSJ reported that FCC will not pose regulations on the broader business data services market (BDS).

FCC officials said that the revised plan could be approved the regulator sometime later this month.

Imposing new regulations on the BDS market has been one of the most controversial issues that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has dealt with during his tenure heading up the regulator. In April, Wheeler unveiled his Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) proposal in a blog post.

Wheeler proposed four key tenets: identifying competitive markets, a technology-neutral approach, encouraging transitions from TDM to IP, and addressing current, future transitions.

Not surprisingly, AT&T criticized Wheeler’s proposal saying that it would have negative consequences for all service providers that want to expand services to new markets. In particular, the telco added that the FCC proposals will instead lead to far less investment in broadband infrastructure -- especially in rural areas. 

Adding to the controversy is an alternative proposal developed by industry trade group Incompas and Verizon, which was floated around the same time Wheeler put forth his proposal. Verizon said its three-part proposal would result in a technology-neutral policy framework for all dedicated services, including TDM and Ethernet services. 

Critics like CenturyLink and AT&T say the Verizon/Incompas proposal is nothing more than a self-serving proposal by Verizon which has sold off more of its wireline assets to Frontier earlier this year.

CenturyLink said in a more recent filing that the Verizon/Incompas plan would drive “extreme and arbitrary” rate reductions for its service while inhibiting competition in the overall market. The telco claims that it would have to reduce “Ethernet rates in the company’s eight interstate service guides by between 37 percent and 89 percent.

For more:
- WSJ has this article

Related articles:
CenturyLink: Incompas-Verizon proposal would drive drastic Ethernet rate reductions, proposes counter framework
Sprint, Frontier, Windstream back Verizon-Incompas price cap proposal on BDS
Verizon-Incompas BDS proposal may be Wheeler's likely gambit as vote nears: analyst
Verizon-Incompas special access proposal gets support from state and local groups