It’s tough enough wading through all the rules and regulations clogging up the telecom industry these days. It seems every company has their own agenda, and the users are the ones that end up paying for it.
But a new ruling from the FCC (News - Alert) may offer some relief to those being crushed under the burden.
According to a new report by media and technology company Morning Consult, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to ban certain contractual practices with companies such as AT&T and Verizon (News - Alert).
“The FCC voted 3-2 on party lines for a new regulatory framework for the ‘special access’ market, the bulk data that connects everything from retail outlets and ATM machines to cell towers,” Morning Consult noted. “Many of those rules will be negotiated for the next few years, but the commission’s ban on ‘all or nothing’ clauses and early termination fees is effective in 60 days.”
The biggest benefit will be that major telecom providers will be required to remove certain contractual prohibitions and enter into new contracts with smaller carriers and businesses.
“These contracts govern a historically troublesome relationship between the industry’s legacy powerhouses and the competitive companies that have risen to contest them since the landmark 1996 Telecommunications Act,” Morning Consult said. “And that could significantly open up the market to new players.”
For companies that don’t have a Master Agent advocating for them, this is a big win. Still, the myriad regulations surrounding telecom would indicate that having a Master Agent on your side could only help.
In its ruling, The FCC indicated that some of the provisions in contracts offered by special access owners such as AT&T, Verizon, Frontier Communications and CenturyLink (News - Alert) were unreasonable at best.
“The commission banned ‘all or nothing’ clauses, which require a business subscriber to purchase all its services from one plan,” the report said. “The commissioners reasoned that such an obligation could force companies to rely on the incumbent’s technology rather than integrating newer services like fiber.”
Such a ruling is sure to help make the landscape fairer and more competitive. Yet how far the companies will go to comply remains to be seen. Only time will tell.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi