Managed-services provider tw telecom has filed a petition with the FCC to suspend and investigate AT&T's proposal to eliminate certain long-term contracts that offer pricing discounts. “These actions are effectively a rate increase for businesses – small, medium or large-- as well as large organizations or government entities that have no alternative for purchasing these critical telecom access services," said Michael Rouleau, senior Vice President – business development and public policy for tw telecom.
AT&T recently told customers it would stop offering extended contracts and discounts to companies that use special-access lines, which are high-capacity connections. tw telecom is among a range of companies – from telcos to banks to retailers – that buy these connections from AT&T and Verizon, which own the lion's share of special-access lines.
“Customers depend on these types of services as a lifeline connection for their business. Often times these DS-1 and DS-3 services are the only network option available for a business. If there were competitive alternatives available, a service provider like AT&T could not take such an action. Only a company like AT&T that possesses overwhelming market power can take such egregious actions to eliminate rate plans that offer lower pricing options to its customers and competitors and not expect to lose its customers,“ Rouleau added.
tw telecom delivers Internet, data and voice services to thousands of customers throughout the U.S. solely over its 30,000-route mile fiber footprint; however, there are times the company must lease DS1 and DS3 last-mile facilities as special-access services from third parties to serve its customers.Sprint and Windstream are among the other companies that are challenging AT&T's special-access proposal.
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