Over the last few years, both CenturyLink and FairPoint have been heavy proponents of getting government involvement out of the free market broadband system.
When the FCC instituted Net Neutrality rules in 2015, CenturyLink was one of the very first to bring a lawsuit against the FCC. In a press release after the lawsuit was filed, CenturyLink gave us the usual telecom talking points about the evils of net neutrality and the government …”government-controlled public utility regulations“…”will chill innovation and investment“… “higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.”
Meanwhile, it seems that a month doesn’t go by without FairPoint crying about how much regulation is put on them by the big, bad government. As I wrote about a few weeks ago, FairPoint has quite the reputation in several states for demanding massive deregulation of all consumer-protecting laws yet then failing to expand or even increase any broadband speeds or coverage in the area. They simply pocket the money.
In fact, in Vermont, FairPoint had the nerve to ask state regulators to eliminate or loosen more rules so that FairPoint could provide a fantastic broadband service to Vermont consumers. Sounds great except FairPoint made this same pitch years earlier. How did that work out? Terrible. So bad, in fact, that Vermont took FairPoint to court because the state had received so many complaints about atrocious service.
But even with these harsh anti-government views, both CenturyLink and FairPoint have received money in the past from the FCC under their Connect American Funds I & II. These Funds were put in place by the FCC in order to expand broadband services to less populated areas. For example, CenturyLink announced just last year that they would be taking more than $3 billion from the FCC for broadband expansion. FairPoint has taken millions from the FCC as well.
But now, CenturyLink and FairPoint are asking the big, bad government for even more money. As FierceTelecom reported, CEOs of CenturyLink and FairPoint (and Frontier Communications) now want the FCC to pay them additional amounts of money everytime any of the telecoms offer voice services for residential and business customers that reside outside of areas covered by the Connect America Fund Phase II program.
So, they want even more government handouts for parts of the country not within the CAF framework? In fact, this request was hated by so many that even the National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA) asked the FCC to deny the request made by CenturyLink and Frontier.
Let’s remember, CenturyLink is one of the many companies slapping on new, ridiculous fees that are forced onto customers bills every month, whether they like it or not.