An ongoing regulatory development may have a substantial impact on the bottom-lines of many American businesses, but may not be adequately on the radar of the relevant personnel.

The Federal Communications Commission is currently accepting reply comments to a proposed rulemaking that will likely affect the price that businesses pay for broadband service.  However, the FCC typically does not solicit views from customers in competition studies, not even the largest enterprise customers that endure the biggest impact.  It may be in the companies’ best interests to investigate how these regulatory considerations will impact their annual broadband spend and present the FCC with facts and data from the perspective of the sophisticated intended beneficiaries of these regulations.

The deadline for submitting comments is July 26, 2016 and Tipograph Law can help.  A summary of the key issues is provided below.

Summary of Issues:  FCC Enterprise Broadband Rulemaking

The FCC is considering measures that will affect the nature of competition and therefore the prices of broadband to enterprise customers including:

  • Replacing regulation of dominant carriers with price caps in non-competitive markets;
  • Eliminating contract provisions that it finds inhibits competition, such as:
    • “all or nothing” clauses,
    • excessively high shortfall fees, and
    • excessively high early termination fees.
  • Effectuating an industry-wide technology transition that it believes has been inhibited by current practices.

Right now, the FCC is weighing feedback from:

  • incumbents—such as AT&T, which argues the market is competitive and does not require any additional oversight
  • entrants—such as Comcast, who argue the proposed regulations create additional barriers to entry that will only serve to thwart competition
  • consumer advocacy groups—such as Public Knowledge, which argues that there are additional competition-inhibiting contract provisions that also need to be addressed.