Washington DC (October 16, 2015) – Today the Federal Communications Commission launched an inquiry into ‘lock up plans’ used by large incumbent Bell providers, like AT&T and Verizon, in the market for broadband lines used by small and medium-sized business, schools, libraries, health and government offices.
Last month, several of the Broadband Coalition members –including Level 3, XO Communications and Windstream -- sent letters to the FCC calling for action on lock up plans to encourage competition in the special access marketplace.
In response to the announcement from the FCC, Jeff Sharp, a spokesperson for the Broadband Coalition, released the following statement:
“Broadband lock up plans are locking out competition. The large incumbent tactic of locking business customers into multi-year plans with extremely high volume commitments is bad for competition and terrible for the tech transitions. Schools, libraries and government customers are also locked into the Bell’s deal of last century.
“Consumers and business customers are demanding more broadband choices. They want the freedom to choose their own service provider. But in markets controlled by large incumbent providers who charge monopoly-era rents, archaic lock up tactics in the terms and conditions to which their customers are subject are hurting competitors who want to bring new affordable options to the marketplace.
“These lock up contracts have exclusionary volume terms and conditions that force wholesale business customers to use up to 90 percent of their services each month or face steep penalties. Just imagine the consumer outrage if you were charged more each month for not using all your cell minutes.
“Competition is driving other markets forward, but the large incumbents lock up actions prove they are steering the business broadband market backward. It’s time for the FCC to step in and end these anti-competitive tricks and speed the transitions to advanced broadband networks. We commend Chairman Wheeler for his commitment to addressing anti-competitive lock up provisions.”
The Broadband Coalition had led the effort to encourage competition in the tech transitions. Over ten thousand people have signed the #StopBOB (Big Old Broadband) petition, and hundreds of business customers have written the FCC as part of their Customers 4 Competition campaign.
About the Broadband Coalition:
The Broadband Coalition: Competitive broadband providers united to preserve innovation, competition and connection for future networks.
To learn more, please visit: http://thebroadbandcoalition.com
and Customers 4 Competition: http://customers4competition.com
And follow us on Twitter: @bbandcoalition