FCC votes to deregulate business data services, portending price hikes

  • FCC votes to deregulate business data services, portending price hikes

FCC votes to deregulate business data services, portending price hikes

The agency's approval of Pai's order on TV station ownership "changes the way those stations calculate their footprints". Consumer groups and some lawmakers warned that the deregulation steps would trigger more media consolidation and higher prices for consumers.

The basic substance of this action was originally suggested by NRB and was initiated as a proposed rulemaking five years ago by former Chairman Julius Genachowski (D) with the concurrence of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (D) and then-Commissioner Robert McDowell (R). They also understand that's in large part due to the lobbying and financial stranglehold many providers have over both state and federal lawmakers and regulators.

"In the BDS market, we need more protections for competitors and small businesses, not great market control by incumbents", they wrote.

"The overall approach is pretty simple _ it's not to deregulate or over-regulate", Pai told reporters after the meeting.

The FCC also voted along party lines to revisit the media ownership cap, which limits the amount of households a broadcast company is allowed to reach.

But past year, the FCC under Democratic President Barack Obama said those rules were outdated after the 2009 conversion to digital broadcasting, which eliminated the differences in station signal strength. But he said stations had raised legitimate concerns that the FCC's previous rule would have made it harder for them to recruit volunteers to serve on their boards.

The UHF discount, she said, was from another era when there was a disparity between the UHF and VHF signal.

WASHINGTON-The UHF discount is back, the national audience reach cap is on the table, noncommercial TV stations can do third-party fundraisers and the members of their governing boards can keep their private data to themselves.

Two top congressional Democrats, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Rep. Sinclair, with 173 TV stations, is working to finalize a deal to buy Tribune, which owns stations in major markets including New York, Chicago and Miami, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.

Front and center at the FCC's meeting was a vote on proposed changes to regulations on Business Data Services (BDS) - high-capacity broadband connections created to serve businesses, schools, libraries and government agencies.

It is a proposal, so the FCC will collect input on 1) making it easier to attach to poles by streamlining access via "one-touch" and "make-ready" rules; 2) reducing charges; 3) establishing a shot clock for consideration of pole attachment complaints; 4) adopting a rate formula; 5) require reciprocal access; 6) speeding up the retirement of copper plant and reducing regulatory "burdens" on that process; 7) eliminating requirements to maintain "outdated" equipment or legacy services. Lightly-regulated competitive carriers make investments in such networks, which now account for almost half of the $45 billion BDS marketplace.

While most realize the residential broadband market isn't all that competitive, lesser talked about is the lack of competition in the special access and Business Data Services (BDS) market.

Added American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew Polka: "ACA applauds today's FCC action to continue its decades-long policy of applying light-touch regulations to competitive providers' offering of business data services (BDS)". More of these mergers would choke out competition, leading to price hikes, she said.