New FCC Rules Seek End to Monopoly Pricing on 'Business Data Service'
NEWS ANALYSIS: The Federal Communications Commission wants to end monopoly pricing for business data services, which are critical to cell tower operations, ATM networks and other dedicated network access.The chances are, you've never heard of Business Data Services, probably because it's a new name recently coined by the Federal Communications Commission in place of what was previously called "special access." The chances are you've probably not heard of special access either. While it hasn't received much attention, it's one of the last remnants of the old monopoly days of telecommunications in the United States. Business Data Services are those network connections that live in the background of nearly everything we do. These services connect most cell towers to the public switched telephone network; they provide communications to banks for their ATMs; they're used by schools and libraries and by companies that need a fast connection to the internet. In the case of cell towers, they form a particularly tricky situation in which cell towers for one company may be forced to use a network provided by a company that competes directly with them.
In addition, Business Data Services are almost always a monopoly in certain areas, except when they're part of a duopoly. As you can imagine, this means that users of these network services are at the mercy of the telecom companies that provide them both in terms of pricing and provisioning. That means that if Verizon doesn't feel like making a fair deal for a Sprint cell tower, for example, it doesn't have to.