The FCC has apparently declined to take further action on an informal complaint filed earlier this year by a self-identified Edge Provider, although it is unclear that the FCC’s action related to the merits of the complaint.
As we noted in in June, Commercial Network Services (CNS) had submitted a complaint to the FCC claiming that a broadband provider violated the FCC’s Open Internet Order. The complaint asserted that the broadband provider refused to engage in direct peering unless CNS entered into a commercial agreement, and further claimed that such a refusal violated the FCC’s rules against throttling and paid prioritization, and forced CNS users to utilize higher latency routes. At that time, the complaint appeared to have potential for clarifying the “just and reasonable” standard governing interconnection with broadband providers. However, according to the CNS website, after a response from the broadband provider and several subsequent filings by CNS, the FCC indicated on September 22, 2015 that FCC staff would not provide CNS’s chief executive, Barry Bahrami, with any “further status” on the complaint. In addition, MultiChannel.com reports that CNS executive Barry Bahrami says that the FCC has “closed the ticket.”
The text of the FCC’s response, as posted on the CNS website, does not address the merits of the complaint. It suggests that the complaint process that CNS pursued is directed at consumer complaints, and further suggests that Mr. Bahrami attempt to resolve the dispute directly with the broadband provider. The response, which has not been verified as coming from the FCC, is below:
The goal of the FCC’s informal complaint process is to make it easy for consumers to file complaints about telecommunications services and for service providers to address those complaints. This process also helps to ensure that, even when a service provider’s actions do not violate any applicable Commission rule, the provider knows how its customers feel about practices and policies that they believe are harmful to them.
In this instance, however, we regret that you were not satisfied with attempts by FCC staff to facilitate a more satisfactory resolution of the underlying issue. At this point, you might want to contact the company directly to see if you and the company can arrive at a resolution that is more acceptable to you. You will receive no further status on your complaint from FCC staff.
The CNS website indicates that CNS is now considering filing a “formal complaint” with the FCC. So there may yet be an opportunity for the FCC to address the merits of the complaint, and to clarify the rules governing interconnection between Edge Providers and broadband providers.