Broadband services

Competify Campaign Hopes to Cure Broadband Blues

A new coalition including Sprint, BT, XO, Level 3 and others has joined forces to send a message to the FCC: The broadband industry is sick, and new rules to protect competition are the cure.

The campaign, called "Competify" and kicked off with a full-page ad in The New York Times, uses a medical theme to make the point that more competition is needed to offset the "chronic disease" that is the "powerful few" that "control our broadband pipelines," making them more expensive and slow.

The group includes the Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee, Broadband Coalition, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), Incompas , Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), Engine, Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), Public Knowledge , Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and XO Communications Inc.

Their aim is to influence the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to "protect consumers and American businesses from price gouging." The campaign site reads, "The Commission can stop these dominant companies from using their market power to extract unjust and unreasonable rates over these critical broadband inputs. The future of competition depends on the FCC. The FCC must try Competify." (See FCC Chairman Talks Up SDN/NFV.)

For more on broadband competition in the US and abroad, visit the dedicated Gigabit/broadband content channel here on Light Reading.

More specifically, the group is hoping to influence the FCC's upcoming competitive access proceeding, in which it will decide whether small carriers should get special access to last-mile resources as they transition their networks to all-IP. That IP transition decision is on the FCC docket for August.

A source tells Multichannel News that recent net neutrality scuttlebutt and mergers, including the land grab for Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), also sparked the formation of the group. (See FCC Sets Up Review Team for Charter Deals, Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House and Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC.)

Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

Director22281 7/14/2015 | 1:31:28 PM
Producers worried about consumers are like foxes in the hen house This is classic. 90% of all consumer laws are written by and for producers. This is another case of talking about more competition needed by the producers, but what do consumers think? How would your mother use a gigabit connection? Think she'd care?

Capitalism does not guarantee the lowest prices, it gurantees the widest array of choices. If it guaranteed the lowest prices we'd all be driving Hugos. These producers are trying to figure out how to shear the sheep.
kq4ym 7/14/2015 | 8:51:12 AM
Re: swaying the vote I'm guessing the general public is not all that much aboard any campaign that would actually bring down costs for them. it would be interesting to see if Competify could actually sway the authorities in future rule making. I doubt it though.
brooks7 7/13/2015 | 5:59:41 PM
Re: swaying the vote Carol,

That works except that where everyone is begging for competition is access.  What carriers want is that there be lots of access networks.  And nobody builds it.  Nobody is going to build it.

The only solutions are real governmental intervention, which I don't think we will get.  By that I mean imposing other parts of Title II like price caps and broadband universal service OR structural separation.


cnwedit 7/13/2015 | 5:34:56 PM
Re: swaying the vote Yes, they can overbuild, you are right. I think there is a reasonable argument to make, however, that in the transition to all-IP, there can still be interconnection of competitive networks. 

cnwedit 7/13/2015 | 5:33:31 PM
Re: swaying the vote Actually, Sarah, John Oliver's "free the Internet" campaign apparently did help push the FCC to make broadband Internet access a Title II service. The fact folks were camping outside Tom Wheeler's door to chant at him as he walked to his car didn't go unnoticed.

I don't know that this wonky an appeal - these guys are talking about IP interconnection, after all - will garner the same broad public support. Unless of course, John Oliver gets back on board, and stranger things have happened. 
brooks7 7/13/2015 | 5:19:02 PM
Re: swaying the vote Any time any one of those companies wants to overbuild the US they can go right ahead.

Which is the point.  Everybody wants somebody ELSE to build new networks.


Sarah Thomas 7/13/2015 | 5:11:11 PM
swaying the vote It's a clever campaign, but I wonder how much consumer petitions will influence the FCC's decision making. Hasn't seemed to work that well in the past...
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