In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, led four Members of Congress in urging the Commission to reform the special access market. Special access is a term used to define the dedicated, high-capacity broadband lines owned by the three largest incumbent telephone companies. Small businesses, hospitals, universities and government agencies must lease these lines and depend on having access at affordable rates.
The FCC has been reviewing special access for seven years and Eshoo is calling for a completion of its rulemaking to ensure rates are affordable and to promote a more competitive telecommunications marketplace. Congress has a responsibility to review the FCC's on-going actions and ensure special access rates are fair and do not hinder the growth of the nation's small businesses.
"Reducing prices to a just and reasonable level will generate billions of dollars in cost-savings for companies across the country, increasing innovation and investment, enhancing rural broadband deployment, and improving wireless coverage," said Eshoo in the letter.
"We understand that the Commission is planning another round of data requests in the special access rulemaking. We urge you to analyze this data expeditiously and act decisively to reduce rates and reform anticompetitive contracts," she continued.
Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) joined Rep. Eshoo on the letter.