FCC Chairman Wheeler’s plan to extend a new rate regulation regime to so-called business data services (which provide point-to-point transmission of data at guaranteed speeds and service levels), formerly known as “special access” services, is one step closer to reality following the Commission’s recent adoption of an Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”) on May 2, 2016. The item puts forward a proposed framework for potentially regulating the rates for such services in those markets deemed to be “non-competitive.”

If adopted, this regime would impose a complex and unwieldy set of rules designed to regulate rates for business data services, or what Commissioner O’Rielly described as “plain old rate regulation”—precisely the kind of ex ante rate regulation Chairman Wheeler had previously rejected in other proceedings.

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