Fueling the Broadband Economy


High-capacity broadband lines (also known as Business Data Services, or BDS) are increasingly critical to connecting the digital economy, from banks, retailers and businesses to schools, libraries and hospitals. Whether you are operating a small business, using a smartphone for calls and Internet access, or withdrawing money at a local ATM, a BDS connection is powering your connection to the Internet.

Unfortunately, the market for BDS is extremely concentrated and noncompetitive. Typically, the former monopoly telephone provider in each region – AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink – remains the monopoly wireline provider of BDS. According to a massive data collection by the FCC, 73% of locations are served by a monopoly BDS provider — and 97% by no more than two. This lack of competition poses real problems for the future of the broadband economy, including 5G wireless networks and the Internet of Things.

After ten long years of data collection and debate, the FCC is finally poised to reform the enterprise broadband marketplace. The Commission will soon decide how and when to impose a price cap and other reforms on the broken BDS market.

On  the eve of this historic decision, our panel – representing a range of stakeholders – will discuss the need for the FCC to move quickly towards real reform. The panel will discuss the impacts of BDS reform on rural investment, the future of 5G, community anchor institutions, and the impact on closing the digital divide.

Lunch will be served.    


Michael Calabrese
Director,  Wireless Future Project, Open Technology Institute at New America 


Dr. Raul Katz
Director of Strategy Research at Columbia Institute for Tele-Information and President, Telecom Advisory Services

Angie Kronenberg
Chief Advocate and General Counsel, INCOMPAS

Steven Berry
President & CEO, Competitive Carriers Association    

John Windhausen
Executive Director, Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition    

Colleen Boothby
Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee

Matt Wood
Policy Director, Free Press