NTCA: Unsubsidized RLECs should provide reasonably priced broadband, voice services

A number of service providers may have set the amount of money they will accept from the second phase of the FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF-II), but the NTCA said that the regulator should require that non-subsidized carriers be required to provide reasonably priced broadband and voice services.

In a filing with the commission, the NTCA asked the Wireline Competition Bureau to ensure that the specific process to determine if "unsubsidized competition" can be validated or denied be done with a process that's "data driven and applied faithfully consistent with the underlying requirement that ties the analysis of competition to specific, individual locations."

The NTCA said that the reporting process should focus on three main areas: providing wireline voice services, providing standalone voice at reasonably competitive rates, and reasonably priced wireline broadband service.

If a service provider is offering a standalone voice side, the NTCA says that service providers should not require consumers to purchase more expensive "service bundles" to get access to 911 and E-911 services.

No less important is broadband service. Service providers should "provision of fixed terrestrial facilities-based broadband service to each location at rates that are reasonably comparable and that otherwise meet or exceed all applicable performance metrics," which include "latency and the achievement of actual speed thresholds."

A competitor that delivers broadband in an area served by an existing rural LEC should confirm they can achieve the speeds they advertise.

But speeds are only one issue. The NTCA added that service providers should not be able to say they offer "reasonably comparable" broadband services if "their only competitive choices come via capped data plans."

For more:
- see this FCC filing (PDF)

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