Verizon has formally lost its appeal against the Federal Communications Commission and its revised regulations on access to its network for competing carriers to offer roaming services at rates deemed fair by the federal regulator, in a report filed by Reuters. At issue are the 2011 regulations which stipulated what carriers were required to allow in terms of inter-network data roaming at rates that the FCC would ultimately determine as fair.
Verizon argued that such rules were outside the scope of the FCC’s powers as a regulatory body and subsequently appealed to have the rules repealed, remarking that the rules equated to “unfair government seizure” of its data networks until the decision to uphold them came from the Appeals Court for Washington DC servicing the 11th Circuit, which sided with the FCC on the grounds that the rules were put in place to ensure a competitive marketplace early this morning.
This decision also has implications outside of Verizon proper as it means that the FCC’s power to regulate wireless networks is steadily increasing following the successful halt of the failed AT&T-T-Mobile merger as well as the increased focus on wireless carriers in the past few years as a result of consolidation. With the roaming rules being upheld, this means that data network access will have to be fairly negotiated, being more important now with the transition to LTE and the increased focus on rural and regional carrier to acquire such access at more reasonable rates.