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CenturyLink: More Time Needed to Comply With BDS Pricing Reform

Compliance

CenturyLink says more time will be needed for compliance if the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal for business data services (BDS) or “special access” market reform takes effect in January.

In a letter to the FCC, CenturyLink said the CLECs’ request that the new pricing structure be implemented in January 2017 is unrealistic. On Oct. 7, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released his proposal for BDS market reform, saying it “provides a new framework for this market that strikes a balance between targeted regulation for legacy TDM (DS1 and DS3) services, where evidence of market power is strongest, and lighter-touch regulation of packet-based services, where there has been new entry and competition may be emerging.”

FCC spokesman Mark Wigfield said Wheeler provided his draft to the other commissioners on Oct. 7 and they are reviewing it.{ad}

In its letter, CenturyLink said it “is not possible to modify all the systems involved by that date (January).”

“CenturyLink must update and reconfigure systems used for pre-order, order, provisioning, billing, compliance and reporting,” it said. “Existing tariffs require extensive modification and will need to be rewritten. This effort will take much longer than two months to accomplish.”

CenturyLink also takes issue with the proposed downward adjustment in price cap of 11 percent over three years, saying it could limit its efforts to improve and expand broadband service to its customers.

“The rate reductions in the proposed order would make the business case for deploying fiber and broadband even more difficult, especially in less densely populated areas that are already hard to serve,” it said. “The result would be less competition and less broadband investment, not more.”

CenturyLink asked the FCC to adopt a “more balanced approach” that recognizes the state of competition in the BDS market and does not negatively affect infrastructure investment.

The telco also agreed with the proposed order’s finding that there is evidence of emerging competition and falling prices for Ethernet-type services.


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