AT&T Statement on FCC’s
Special Access Order

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on August 23, 2012 at 9:29 am

The FCC, in a 3-2 vote yesterday, approved an order on special access.  You may attribute the following to Bob Quinn, AT&T Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory and Chief Privacy Officer:

“We applaud the FCC for committing itself to issuing a mandatory data request of all providers, including those who have refused to provide such data in the past.  However, the FCC is placing the cart before the horse by suspending the existing special access rules before receiving and analyzing the data submissions.  If, as the FCC itself stated earlier this year, it does not have the data to support ‘claims that special access rates are unreasonable,’ then suspending the existing triggers seems premature.  Also, if the FCC’s aim is to revisit its prior pricing flexibility decisions it is committing increasingly scarce staff resources to re-review 250 market areas, a process that took the FCC over a decade to complete the first time around.  And, this re-review could conservatively grow to 500 market areas or more, if the size of the market area is reduced, as reports indicate.  The end result of which is a mountain of work designed to set the price for a relatively low-speed business service that does not even meet the National Broadband Plan’s definition of broadband in the consumer market.”

“All this against a backdrop where the industry – fueled by demand for mobile Internet data – is rapidly moving yesteryear’s copper-based special access services to fiber-based, IP services. This transition is attracting new competitors, creating greater network capacity and broadband speeds, and promoting industry-wide investment and job-creation. Even those that have complained in the past about the need for re-regulating copper-based special access services in the name of competition have recently extolled the competitive market satisfying its fiber-based backhaul needs, citing multiple vendors for its backhaul contracts and pointing out that ‘AT&T was most competitive in many regions.’

“Our national goal of establishing IP-based broadband networks as the foundation for our nation’s economic growth and global competitiveness argues for putting in place policies that incent carriers to deploy for businesses of all sizes these next generation networks. The FCC’s action combined with the questionable conclusions in its Report on Advanced Services deployment, however, indicates the FCC continues to believe it can “regulate” new investment.  It cannot.  If the goal is to encourage new fiber investment and more broadband to transition to an all-IP world, the Commission must establish the conditions necessary to create incentives for all carriers to continue to invest in new IP technology, not further regulate yesterday’s technology.”

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