Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14) released the following statement in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s decision this morning to deregulate markets for Business Data Service (BDS) in many parts of the country.
"The Trump Administration just adopted rules to make internet service even more expensive for small businesses, schools, libraries, and hospitals.
"The Federal Communications Commission studied the business internet service market for the better part of a decade, and it found widespread anti-competitive behavior by Internet Service Providers resulting in sky-high rates. ISPs overcharged customers by $75 billion over one 5-year period, for example.
"The Obama Administration had been poised to put into place new rules that would have curbed this bad behavior by ISPs, but in marked contrast, the Trump FCC has gone out of its way to make these services even more expensive and give ISPs more freedom to engage in anti-competitive and anti-small business practices.
"The President’s own Small Business Administration asked the FCC to delay this vote and rethink this policy, noting that our nation’s small businesses shouldn’t be forced to pay more for less – but the FCC plowed ahead with this massive giveaway to big internet providers, their lobbyists, and industry associations.
"Most companies and organizations contract directly with ISPs for business data service that costs hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars a month, and they pay extra for guaranteed speed, uptime, and customer support. These companies depend upon reliable service to do business. Like the consumer broadband market, the business data market badly lacks competition; 75% of businesses across the country have only one choice of provider. However, unlike the consumer market, the FCC has long had rules that allowed a competing provider to offer service by buying access to a big ISP’s last mile facilities. The FCC just rolled back those rules.
"More than that, these services are used to connect cell phone antennas back to providers’ networks, and they are one of the biggest expenses associated with operating a cell site. But the big companies that operate cell networks and own these data connections use their market power to make it more expensive for competitors to deploy new cell sites and services. That, in turn, keeps costs higher for consumers.
"I have called repeatedly over the last decade for updating these rules and adapting them to the technologies of the future. Internet access isn’t a luxury for the few, it’s a necessity –and the more expensive these services are, the harder it is to start and run a small business.
"By crippling competition in the Business Data Service market, the FCC’s action today will transfer billions of dollars each year from consumers and small businesses to big Internet Service Providers – and if that weren’t enough, it will slow down internet innovation and delay the deployment of the next generation of telecommunications infrastructure, hurting US competitiveness internationally."