FCC: Talk to us about Verizon data rules

The Federal Communications Commission requested public comment on whether it should reverse relief won by Verizon Communications Inc. in 2006 from regulations on high-speed data services.

The agency in a notice published today asked for input on an Oct. 4 petition filed by Verizon competitors including Sprint Nextel Corp., TW Telecom Inc. and Earthlink Inc. The companies said Verizon should be bound by the same rules that apply to AT&T Inc., Frontier Communications Corp. and its other competitors.

The FCC exempted New York-based Verizon from having to give competitors access to networks carrying high-speed data for business customers including large companies, universities, hospitals and government agencies.

Verizon, the second-largest U.S. phone company, won the relief without a vote by the FCC under a procedure that grants some petitions if the agency doesn’t act on them. The agency, with five members when fully staffed, had two Republicans and two Democrats at the time. It didn’t act on the petition within a 15-month time frame.

Ed McFadden, a Washington-based Verizon spokesman, didn’t immediately provide a comment.

“Verizon enjoys an exemption from regulations that apply to its major competitors,” Charles McKee, vice president- government affairs for Sprint, said in an e-mailed statement. “We look forward to explaining to the FCC why competition would benefit if this exemption is revoked.”