Major companies such as Comcast, TWC, Charter, and Cox have invested heavily in their networks to become big suppliers of business data services.
In turn, these major cable MSOs who have ramped up their fiber and Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) are fearful that if the FCC implements business data market regulations on new competitors it could cause more harm than good.
For example, last week Charter took over third place in VSG’s U.S. Ethernet rankings beating Verizon in terms of port share, due to its acquisition of TWC and Bright House Communications. Charter now has a larger fiber and hybrid-coax footprint to target businesses of all sizes with Ethernet services.
Comcast and Cox have also spoken out saying that changes to the business data services (BDS) rate regulation could have an effect on new investments.
Comcast specifically made a recent filing with the FCC saying any proposed pricing rules could hinder future investments cable MSOs could make to support wholesale and business services.
Meanwhile, Cox petitioned the FCC to keep Ethernet over Hybrid Fiber Coax out of the proposed BDS rules being considered by the FCC, saying that the technology doesn’t meet the SLA requirements for wholesale-type broadband services required by many businesses.
An analyst with Wells Fargo & Co. said It’s probably a bigger deal for cable even though AT&T has more exposure, cable is being very loud and speaking out against this because they’re not really regulated.
The FCC proposed the rules back in April and received all final comments on the matter the first week of August. Now, the final ruling could be put to a vote in late September or late October during the commission’s meetings.
Fresh Start for Business Data Services
Back in April 2016, the FCC proposed a “fresh start” for business data services regulation saying that they would set aside outdated regulatory distinctions and be more technology-neutral.
Smaller telecom companies were obviously onboard because it put them at a level playing field with larger competitors that were entering the space such as cable MSO’s.
Cable MSO’s however responded opposite saying that their firms would be unfairly targeted by putting them under more regulation since they were newer to the market.
The National Cable and Telecommunications Associated saidThe FCC should reject any call to impose new, onerous regulations on an industry that is stepping up to offer meaningful choices to business customers. The FCC will not achieve competition in the space if newcomers automatically get hit with regulation.
One of the obvious questions to ask: would the FCC be making these regulations had cable MSO’s not ventured into this space? The FCC says they want fair competition or competition in general, but if you make the rules fair to only one side is that really competition?
Cable seems to withstand any obstacle thrown at them. Large cable MSO’s know that they are a strong entity not only in the cable space but also in digital and now coming into business data services. They again know the rules of how to stay relevant and break into other spaces, and I suppose that’s why rules are being enforced because if not cable could possibly dominate all relative mediums.