News

A Chronic Disease Affects Entire Information Economy

(13 July 2015)

But There’s Hope: Diverse Group of Internet Advocates Urges FCC to “Competify” the Broadband Economy

Kicking off with a full-page New York Times spread, the “Competify” campaign launched today, bringing together a diverse group of Internet advocates, trade groups, and companies that are urging the FCC forward on its critical work to address the scourge of high broadband prices and anticompetitive behavior by advancing meaningful broadband competition. We all know the broadband economy is sick. Competify has the cure. Visit www.trycompetify.com to see if Competify is right for you; submit a letter to tell the FCC to #TryCompetify.

While the campaign is light-hearted, the message is serious. The broadband economy pays at least $10 billion dollars each year in overcharges to a few huge companies that control access to America’s critical broadband infrastructure. These profits of over 100 percent come at the expense of the rest of the economy: driving up prices, stifling innovation, and dragging down speeds and deployment of both wireless and wireline broadband. And every consumer and business – using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, telephone, credit card reader, ATM and many other technologies – must use one of these incumbent-controlled paths to get to the Internet.

The Competify campaign urges the FCC to continue its work as a champion of a competitive broadband market, following its landmark pro-consumer decisions on Net Neutrality and community broadband. The disease of broadband access control is chronic, exemplified by the fact that even with those key decisions, these huge companies still control nearly all the inputs to broadband competition, including high-capacity broadband lines. As a result 3 out of 4 American consumers have zero to one choice for broadband.

“Mobile carriers need competitive connectivity to provide the innovative services that consumers demand,” said Steven K. Berry, President & CEO of CCA. “Choices for high speed mobile broadband should not be dictated by captive rent paid to dominant providers.”

A growing body of data shows that consumers and businesses are clamoring for broadband choices. Competify members will work with the FCC and Chairman Wheeler to ensure that their voices are heard and that real reform happens. Campaign “Partners for the Cure” members include: Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee, Broadband Coalition, BT, Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), COMPTEL, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), Engine, Level 3, Public Knowledge, Sprint and XO.

“Large incumbent gatekeepers have the power to dictate when, where, and how much consumers and businesses pay for broadband access on which they increasingly depend,” said Chip Pickering, CEO of COMPTEL. “Competition is a bipartisan, free market principle that should drive our country’s broadband policy for the 21st Century so we can deliver better, faster, affordable broadband to all Americans.”

Bas BurgerBas Burger, president of BT in the Americas, added: “Approximately 50 percent of our top 2,000 customers have headquarters or major operations in the U.S. which makes this a vital issue for both BT and our customers. When there is a level playing field for broadband services and pricing, everyone wins.”

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com.

For further information:

Please contact Alan Ball, Head of Global PR.