FCC Wants Industrys Input on Special Access Pricing

The FCC is opening an inquiry into special access pricing, a move the industry has expected for several weeks.

On Thursday, the agency kicked off a 45-day comments process; it wants input on how to analyze the wholesale pricing, or special access, the Bells charge for allowing competitors to use their networks.

Struggling Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) is among the many providers clamoring for regulation changes. The nation’s third-largest wireless carrier says one-third of its operating costs go to pay for special access lines on its 60,000 cell sites. Sprint contends that’s one reason why it’s losing market share to rivals Verizon Wireless (VZ) and AT&T Inc. (T)

After the 45 days, the FCC will allow another 30 for reply comments.

“Some parties assert that the commission’s current rules are working as intended and contend that there is extensive actual and potential competition in the market for special access,” the said in its notice. “Other parties assert that there is little or no competition for special access services.”

Commissioners especially want to know if the rates charged by the Bells and other line owners are just and reasonable.

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