CenturyLink, FairPoint Unite in Special-Access Coalition

CenturyLink and FairPoint Communications are part of a new five-member coalition aimed at offering a unified voice as the Federal Communications Commission weighs changes to the market for business data services, or so-called “special access.”

The “Invest in Broadband for America” coalition also is comprised of Cincinnati Bell, Inc., Consolidated Communications, Inc. and Frontier Communications.

Last month, AT&T joined the five companies in requesting that the FCC strike “irretrievably flawed” data underlying the agency’s proposal to reform the market for special access. The telecom carriers maintained the data vastly understated offerings of cable Ethernet service.

In announcing the coalition this week, members of the group blasted the FCC’s proposal.{ad}

“This order does nothing to further additional investment, much less competition” in rural and underserved markets, said Michael Skrivan, vice president of regulatory with FairPoint. “Under the FCC’s proposal, productivity factors and picking winners and losers with questionable data would make rural markets poor candidates for investments that would enable 5G technology.”

Others in the telecommunications industry have responded positively to the FCC’s proposed framework. Describing the special access market as “long broken,” Sprint declared the FCC’s action lays the foundation “for real reform.”

“Importantly, the FCC formally recognized what competitive carriers have long experienced, that large incumbents exercise overwhelming market power and impose unreasonable rates, terms and conditions over a critical part of our nation’s networks,” the company said.

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