Mar 24, 2017 10:00:00 AM
We normally do not discuss telecom mergers here, viewing them as regrettable but unavoidable byproducts of the current business environment. However, the pending CenturyLink acquisition of Level 3 caught our eye this week with the potentially troubling issues raised by Frontier and Windstream.The carriers claim that as the acquisition gets closer to FCC approval, Level 3 has unreasonably refused to pay or delayed payment on millions of dollars for services rendered and initiated a significant number of rate increases that are inconsistent with the company’s past practices. As Windstream notes in a March 10, 2017 letter to the FCC:
Mar 17, 2017 10:00:00 AM
In November the FCC was poised to approve a new regulatory paradigm for special access and Ethernet services now collectively called the business data services (BDS) market. The plan would have re-imposed price cap regulations on ILEC special access services with forced large up-front rate decreases and large annual decreases based on ILEC productivity. It was strongly opposed by ILECs.
Mar 10, 2017 10:00:00 AM
A year from now, we will almost surely be able to look back at this week and proclaim that the newest regulatory battle over the Internet began in earnest. Here’s why we view this week as so important.
Republicans introduced legislation to ensure that ISPs do not face more stringent privacy rules than edge providers, while more than 170 consumer advocate groups sent letters to the FCC imploring the agency to keep the net neutrality and privacy rules in place. For his part, President Trump ensured the Internet battle would rage by re-nominating FCC Chairman Alit Pai to a new five year term as an FCC commissioner, locking in the chief advocate of limited Internet regulation as FCC Chairman for the entire term of the Trump administration.
Mar 3, 2017 10:00:00 AM
To the surprise of almost no one but to the consternation of many, the FCC partially stayed the previous FCC’s 2016 ISP privacy Order, scheduled to take effect on March 2, 2017. Specifically, the Commission stayed the portion of the Order, requiring ISPs to obtain consumer consent before using precise geo-location, financial information, health information, children’s information and web browsing history for advertising and internal marketing.
Feb 24, 2017 10:00:00 AM
The election of Donald Trump was a heavy blow to CLECs and smaller ISPs. Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had been a kindred spirit they could turn to reliably create regulations almost on an as needed basis. That empathy for competitive carriers has almost certainly been lost under the auspices of new Chairman Ajit Pai. But independent carriers are not going away and certainly are going to pressure the new Commission to respond to their concerns. That was made clear in a February 13th letter from the association INCOMPAS to Chairman Pai detailing the steps competitive carriers want the FCC to take to better enable broadband deployment.
Feb 17, 2017 10:00:00 AM
It should be readily apparent to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai that it will be a long and difficult climb for the Commission to “fix” it’s Open Internet Order, primarily by reclassifying broadband Internet access as an information service. To succeed, the Commission will have to reopen its proceeding (Docket 14-28), accept industry comments and reply comments, write and release a new order, and craft a legal defense for reclassification that would pass the inevitable court appeals. In addition, the agency will have to withstand a public relations assault that would almost certainly include an avalanche of consumer letters, speeches from Democratic politicians and scathing newspaper editorials, all convinced that the FCC is killing net neutrality. Even if Pai wins, it will be an ugly battle that will leave the Commission and the Chairman scarred for the remainder of his term.
Feb 10, 2017 10:00:00 AM
For anyone observing the FCC during the Obama administration, it was abundantly clear that ex-Chairman Tom Wheeler and current Chairman Ajit Pai radically disagreed about the need for regulations designed to protect consumers. Wheeler was a staunch proponent for such regulations, especially those in which companies such as ISPs utilized consumer data as part of their day-to-day operations. Thus, his FCC promulgated strict net neutrality and Internet privacy rules and had little appetite for services such as zero-rated data offerings that appeared to favor certain content over others.
Feb 3, 2017 10:00:00 AM
New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai tried to calm panicked consumer advocates this week when he announced that he had not decided what, if anything, the Commission planned on doing about net neutrality. Pai stated that he is opposed to the current Title II common carrier classification for ISPs, but would study the issue further. This inaction makes sense since Pai is waiting to see if Congress can quickly “fix” net neutrality before the FCC is forced to address it again in a lengthy proceeding.
Jan 27, 2017 10:00:00 AM
When the FCC released its Open Internet (Net Neutrality) Order in March of 2015, then Commissioner Ajit Pai wrote the following:
On November 10, President Obama asked the FCC to implement his plan for regulating the Internet, one that favors government regulation over marketplace competition. As has been widely reported in the press, the FCC has been scrambling ever since to figure out a way to do just that. The courts will ultimately decide this Order’s fate. And I doubt they will countenance this unlawful power grab. Litigants are already lawyering up to seek judicial review of these new rules. Given the Order’s many glaring legal flaws, they will have plenty of fodder. But if this Order manages to survive judicial review, these will be the consequences: higher broadband prices, slower speeds, less broadband deployment, less innovation, and fewer options for American consumers. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet isn’t the solution to a problem. His plan is the problem. In short, because this Order imposes intrusive government regulations that won’t work to solve a problem that doesn’t exist using legal authority the FCC doesn’t have, I dissent. (FCC Docket 14-28, Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling and Order, released March 12, 2015, Dissent of Ajit Pai, at. p. 1).
Jan 20, 2017 10:00:00 AM
Will 2017 be the end of switched access charges? Despite the FCC’s decision in 2011 to reform inter-carrier compensation charges including interstate and intrastate access and reciprocal compensation charges by transitioning to a bill-and-keep structure, the industry debate over these charges continues into the new year and new administration.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a bill-and-keep regulatory system requires carriers to recover their costs of originating and terminating local and long-distance calls from their own customers rather than from charges assessed on other carriers.