FCC probes four US telcos over anticompetitive practices

Monday, 19 October 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: The Federal Communication Commission said on Friday it is investigating AT&T Inc, CenturyLink Inc, Frontier Communications Inc, and Verizon Communications Inc over allegations of anticompetitive practices.

Smaller rivals of these four companies have alleged that their tariff pricing plans for business data services are unreasonable and lock up the vast majority of the demand for those services, the FCC said. (http://bit.ly/1GihXlG)

Business data services, or special access services, are typically purchased by business, governmental, educational and other institutions for their data and communication needs.

“The FCC is searching for a problem that doesn’t exist and doing an end-run around the competitive analysis it just initiated,” Linda Johnson, a spokeswoman for CenturyLink said. “Opening a tariff investigation on special access services is a step towards rate re-regulation,” Frank Simone, AT&T Vice President of Federal Regulatory, said in a statement.

The FCC said that other competitive providers often describe the tariff pricing plans as ‘discount’ plans, where in reality the price that they offer is significantly higher than competitors’ pricing.

Therefore the commission has sought certain background information from the local exchange carriers (LEC) regarding their pricing plans, as it believes the data that was received did not address sufficient details about the tariff plans or its terms and conditions.

Verizon spokesman Ed Mcfadden said the services involved in the tariff proceeding are legacy services and have been in place for years.

“If the FCC is going to examine these tariffs, it should at least first analyse the data it has collected from the industry so that the agency has an accurate view of how this marketplace is quickly evolving before taking action,” Mcfadden added.

Frontier did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.