FCC chair urges swift action on business internet reforms

FCC chair urges swift action on business internet reforms
© Greg Nash

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said Monday it was important for the agency to move quickly in its consideration of reforms to the market for high-capacity internet connections used by certain businesses.

“To have such a fresh start, we need broad principles, we need to work to find common ground, and we need to seriously look at the best ways for the Commission to act,” he said at a conference held by trade group INCOMPAS, according to his prepared remarks. “And we need to do it quickly.”

ADVERTISEMENT

He said that he wanted to “conclude the proceeding, quickly, certainly no later than the end of the year.” The commission is currently slated to vote on whether to formally consider the plan at its open meeting later this month.

“Now is the time for action,” Wheeler said. “I assure you that I will treat this issue with the urgency it deserves. I expect that same from you and other stakeholders in this debate.”

INCOMPAS has been among those pushing for reforms.

His comments are his first publicly since officials at the commission and Wheeler revealed details of his plan to reform the so-called “special access” marketplace.

The connections in question are used by businesses that need reliable connections that are dedicated to transmitting large amounts of data. ATM machines, for example, could use such a connection, as could a cell tower.

Wheeler proposes considering a regulatory framework that identifies which markets are competitive and which are not. He also says a framework should be neutral to different types of technology.

If approved, the item rolled out Friday would simply begin the rulemaking process. Another vote would be required to formally adopt new rules.