NCTA, ACA take down Verizon-INCOMPAS special access proposal

The cable industry's top lobbying orgs sharply criticized a proposal announced by Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and INCOMPAS to regulate special access services.

"The 'principles' suggested by Verizon and INCOMPAS seem at odds with sound economics and a policy of promoting market-driven, facilities-based competition," the National Cable Telecommunications Association said in its statement. "Cable operators are new entrants in the business services market, and are investing heavily in building their own facilities to serve business customers. They are providing precisely the type of facilities-based competition that the [FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler] has praised. The FCC should reject any call to impose new, onerous regulations on an industry that is stepping up to offer meaningful choices to business customers. The FCC will not achieve competition if it burdens new facilities-based entrants with regulation."

In a separate statement, American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew Polka said, "This is a private agreement between a dominant provider (Verizon) and providers who have chosen not to build their own facilities that proposes to subject new, facilities-based entrants to regulation in their provision of dedicated services. That will impose costs on these new entrants - many of whom are small providers that have no experience with common carrier rate regulation -- slowing their entry and their efforts to bring competition and innovative services to market.  That is clearly not in the public interest, and ACA intends to oppose this private deal."

As incumbent local exchange carriers like Verizon and AT&T (NYSE: T) migrate to IP-based networks and services, the FCC has been working on proposals to regulate TDM-based access circuits. Competitive providers like Level 3 and Sprint (NYSE: S) use ILECs' last mile network facilities to bring services to areas where they can't build a business case to deploy their own network facilities.

In a letter to the FCC, obtained by FierceTelecom, Verizon said its proposal would result in a technology-neutral policy framework for all dedicated services, including TDM and Ethernet services. 

"Verizon has maintained that demand for business data services is shifting away from legacy services to providers of all kinds, in particular cable companies. In this marketplace, our priority has always been a regulatory framework that ensures a level playing field for all providers that offer the same or similar services," Verizon said in a letter to the FCC. "We have advocated for a regulatory structure that takes into account all of the various competitors for business data services and regulates all competitors evenhandedly."

For more:
- read the full ACA statement

Related articles:
Verizon, Incompas call truce in special access regulation war
USTelecom touts study saying special access regulations will stifle broadband growth
CFA says incumbents hold on special access market cost consumers, U.S. economy $150B since 2010

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