Businesses with broadband internet deals for bulk service may eventually pay more for their access after the Federal Communications Commission voted this week to reduce price controls on those sales.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who voted with the commission’s other Republican member to approve the change, said that those regulations constricted internet service providers, such as AT&T (NYSE: T) or Verizon (NYSE: VZ), from investing further in their networks and also discouraged competitors from entering the space, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Consumer groups counter that the telecom companies are already powerful and that this action simply lets them raise prices on customers, the Times said.
The price controls are in place for what Ars Technica referred to as the “ business data services” market, which is separate from the broadband access sold to residential homes and is available to companies, hospitals, schools and other institutions.
Though actual effects remain to be seen, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat and an opponent of the change in the party-line vote, warned there could be “immediate price hikes for small business broadband service in rural areas and hundreds of communities across the country,” Ars Technica reported.
Ars Technica added that filings with the FCC suggest AT&T has already scheduled a 15 percent increase in prices for business broadband lines in certain locations, pending this FCC vote.