CenturyLink: Cable operators have 22 times more Ethernet-capable locations than BDS data lists

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) has filed a motion to strike what it says is an "irretrievably flawed" data framework in the FCC's recent business data services (BDS) proposal, saying that cable operators understated their capabilities to serve the Ethernet services market.

According to updated filings made by Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Cox and Time Warner Cable, there are 22 times more Ethernet-capable locations than the data on which the FCC based its May 2 further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM).

Joining CenturyLink in filing the motion are AT&T (NYSE: T), Cincinnati Bell, Consolidated Communications, FairPoint Communications and Frontier Communications.

CenturyLink and the other service providers that took part in this motion to strike say that the FCC should "rescind the affected portions of its proposal and update its data before pronouncing judgment on what is or isn't competitive."

CenturyLink and the other petitioners said that the report developed by Dr. Marc Rysman and many other FCC analyses were based on flawed data that was gathered in 2013.

Comcast, for example, reported that in response to the FCC's data collection on BDS that it had not reported locations connected to nodes that it updated to provide Ethernet-over-HFC service as of 2013. The MSO later filed a list of all business locations that could be served via Metro Ethernet-enabled headends.

In the wake of Comcast's revelation, three of the other largest cable operators -- Cox, Charter and Time Warner Cable (before Charter's acquisition was approved) -- also revealed that they made the same omission as Comcast.

Time Warner Cable's updated filing confirmed that "all of [its] headends throughout its entire service footprint were Metro-Ethernet-capable by 2013," for example.

Meanwhile, Cox had 28,000 fiber-lit buildings and 300,000 HFC-serviceable buildings as of early 2014.

"As a result of this under-reporting, the final data set -- which, again, supplied the basis for nearly all of the economic analyses of competition to date, including Dr. Rysman's -- did not account for wide swaths of the country where cable operators were capable of providing Metro Ethernet over hybrid fiber/coax ('HFC') networks as of 2013," CenturyLink said. "For the avoidance of any doubt, the facilities that were under-reported are not limited to what the Commission and the Bureau have referred to as "best efforts cable" service provisioned over DOCSIS; rather, the under-reported locations are those served by cable facilities that had been upgraded to provide true Metro Ethernet service."

For more:
- see the release
- see CenturyLink's FCC filing (PDF)

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