Sprint, Windstream sue FCC over business data services deregulation

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

In legal filings, two telcos claim the regulator's “Report and Order is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion”

Sprint and Windstream have launched legal action against the Federal Communications Commission over the regulator’s plans to deregulate the business data services market.

The lawsuit has been launched after the FCC voted on 20 April to deregulate business data services, including wireless backhaul.

In a filing to the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the two companies claimed the “Report and Order is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion”.

Reform of the market, worth around $45 billion, has proven controversial. Former FCC chairman had sought to introduce lower caps on special business data access lines, but rowed back after pressure from Republicans and telcos, a number of whom opposed the move.

While the likes of AT&T had opposed Wheeler’s proposals, Sprint supported them, saying they make are a significant cost for its wireless and wireline units to bridge network gaps in backhaul services.

However, Sprint has appealed against the deregulation proposed by Wheeler’s successor Ajit Pai, which the current FCC chair claims will help promote competition in the segment.

As the petitioners, Sprint and Windstream requested that the court reverse, annul or set aside the FCC's Report and Order, and provide additional relief as determined proper.