WASHINGTON Aug 18 U.S. telecommunications
regulators will review rates at which telecommunications
providers sell high-capacity data and voice connections, known
as special access lines, to businesses, the Federal
Communications Commission said on Monday.
Many businesses rely on special-access lines to transmit
large amounts of data quickly, for instance connecting banks to
The services are highly lucrative for large carriers, such
as Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc. Smaller
carriers, such as Sprint Corp, have argued the
special-access market is uncompetitive.
The FCC has now received approval from the Office of
Management and Budget to begin collecting information from
providers and some purchasers of special access connections on
the rates, terms and conditions of the services.
The FCC will then determine whether the industry is
competitive or needs regulation. The FCC will begin collecting
special access information for 2013 from companies by the end of
this year, an agency spokesman said.
"We will move forward with data collection and fact-based
analysis that will help the Commission better understand
competition in this marketplace, and the impact on consumers as
we pursue the Commission's statutory mandate to ensure special
access services are provided at reasonable rates and on
reasonable terms and conditions," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said
in a statement.
The FCC sought permission last year to collect information
about the market from the OMB, which analyzes the potential
economic consequences of proposed actions by regulatory
agencies, and studied whether benefits of data collection
outweighed its burdens.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh and Marina Lopes. Editing by Andre