FCC Gives Special Access a Special Inquiry

600px-US-FCC-Seal.svgThe FCC said today that it will open up a public comment period seeking information on the issue of high prices and a lack of availability for middle mile and backhaul access for wired and wireless broadband providers. While the average consumer may not care about so called “special access issues,” proponents of reform argue that a lack of competition prevents ISPs from delivering robust services and raises costs for end consumers.

So your ISP may charge you more, or force you to do less on your connection because it can’t afford to connect its network to the Internet backbone. This an especially big problem for rural ISPs and for wireless network operators. The notice asks about pricing of middle mile and backhaul access (see chart below), technologies used, availability, how availability affects pricing, what impact such pricing has on the network and service, how certain types of contracts may hinder competition and a bunch of other tough questions to which I can’t wait to get answers. I’m going to have to, however. Folks have until Nov. 4th to file their comments.