SOURCE: Internet Innovation Alliance

February 17, 2016 09:00 ET

IIA Fact Check Reveals Sprint's Conflicting Stories to Wall Street and Washington on the Need for Regulated Special Access Services and Competition in the Market

Sprint Tells Wall Street That Competitive Market Eliminates Need for Special Access, Yet Lobbies Washington to Continue Regulation for Competitive Advantage

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Feb 17, 2016) - Today, the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) released a Sprint Fact Check document that highlights Sprint's continuing conflicting statements regarding special access. The document, "Fact Check: Sprint's Tale of Two Stories on FCC Special Access Regulation," highlights multiple instances of Sprint telling Wall Street how the competitive communications marketplace eliminates the need for regulated special access services, while at the same time lobbying Washington to continue and extend outdated regulations over antiquated networks to advance its own competitive standing.

In a September 2015 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing, Sprint lobbied Washington regulators on its need for regulated access to copper-based business data lines. According to Sprint, access to this antiquated technology is vital since "Sprint and other competitors will depend on both TDM and Ethernet special access more than ever to be able to compete." This echoed a similar plea from Sprint in comments to the FCC in February 2013.

Sprint, however, alters its tune to Wall Street, where it consistently boasts of cost savings achieved by its investment to modernize and upgrade its network, aimed at reducing its dependency on FCC-mandated incumbent business data circuits. Sprint has repeatedly informed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it purchases alternative Ethernet services in the competitive marketplace as a replacement for special access. In SEC filings every year from 2011 to 2015, Sprint repeated these messages. For example, in multiple filings, Sprint contends that it is: "...modifying [its] existing backhaul architecture to enable increased capacity to [its] network at a lower cost by utilizing Ethernet as opposed to [its] existing time division multiplexing (TDM) technology."

"As the FCC moves forward on whether to extend mandated access to copper-based incumbent business services in a highly competitive market, it should give significant weight to what rent-seeking competitors are saying to the SEC and Wall Street about the wide availability and competitive prowess of their next-generation fiber-based business services," commented Bruce Mehlman, founding co-chairman of IIA.

IIA contends that, "Instead of managed competition [through special access regulation], it's time for everyone who wants to compete in the telephone system of the future to invest in new technologies rather than in trying to convince the government to hold on to the past."

To read IIA's Fact Check on Sprint, go to

About The Internet Innovation Alliance

The Internet Innovation Alliance was founded in 2004 and is a broad-based coalition supporting broadband availability and access for all Americans, including underserved and rural communities. It aims to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to this critical tool. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that leverage the power of entrepreneurs and the market to achieve universal broadband availability and adoption.

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