Sen. Markey, Rep. Doyle Call for BDS Vote Delay

Say proposal would hurt consumers, schools, businesses
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Add to the list of those calling for a delay in the FCC's April 20 vote on deregulating broadband business data services (BDS) Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.).

Doyle is the ranking member on the House Communications Subcommittee, while Markey is former chair of that subcommittee and one of the Senate's strongest critics of new FCC chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to deregulate prices for incumbent providers (ILECs) on the theory that the marketplace is generally competitive and getting more so all the time.

In a letter to Pai, they urged him to postpone the vote saying the market was not competitive, citing the FCC data collection that informed the conclusion of Pai's predecessor, Tom Wheeler, that the marketplace lacked sufficient competition to justify such deregulation.

They said that competition has driven up costs for schools, libraries businesses and anyone who relies on the BDS market, which means anyone swiping a credit card, withdrawing money from an ATM, or accessing broadband over a wireless device—wireless backhaul is a major BDS service. 

"We are concerned that the proposed BDS Report and Order does not adequately promote competition or apply appropriate pricing protections where competition does not exist." 

The Pai proposal presumes competition where there are at least two companies (a duopoly) or where there is "nearby" competition to a lone provider.

They also echoed other proposal critics that if the FCC Republicans do adopt the deregulatory order, as expected, they should provide for a transition period before it takes effect—three years was one of the suggestions from groups—including computer companies and competitive carriers—opposed to the proposal.

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