New Competitive Coalition Forms to Promote Broadband Policies at FCC, Congress

A group of broadband providers have come together to form a coalition that will advocate before Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to foster competition.

The Broadband Coalition plans to get involved with a number of issues at the FCC, including business broadband and special access proceedings that the new group said “have languished on the back burner for years,” according to a press release dated Thursday. The coalition also will advocate to clarify rules governing the “last-mile access to business broadband customers and interconnection of networks” as the communications industry migrates from older technology like copper to IP infrastructure.

The press release did not name the companies and organizations behind the coalition, although it strongly indicated that the group would represent the interests of the competitive local exchange carriers that were born out of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. These are the companies that compete for customers largely in the small and medium-sized business markets with incumbent telecom providers such as AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon.

“The Telecom Act of 1996 unleashed a wave of innovation by allowing competition in telecom services where monopolies once dominated. But today, competition and innovation are endangered as the largest telecom providers work to consolidate market share and seek to undo much of the benefits of the Act,” said Chip Pickering, who previously served in the U.S. House (R-Miss.) and has since lobbied for C Spire Wireless formerly known as Cellular South. “We want the FCC to reaffirm that competition — the foundation of innovation, economic growth and job creation — remains a cornerstone of federal telecom policy.”

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