Why Your Phone Bill May Be Slashed Soon

Robert Donachie | Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

The $45 billion dollar market for business data services (BDS) is facing a major regulatory threat, but there is potential for these regulations to help consumers’ wallets.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will allegedly vote before the year is out to lower the rates for business data collection services. This would turn into savings for everyday consumer.

When you take money out of the ATM or swipe a credit card to make a purchase, you transfer small amounts of data. That data is taxed. On the day-to-day basis this may not be a huge cost, but over time, the fees add up.

The more tangible and realistic way possible regulations will help consumers is in the phone and cable markets, reports Bloomberg. For years, American phone and cable companies have overcharged the American people and businesses by $75 billion dollars.

The BDS market had $45 billion in revenue in 2013, and experts note that it could reach upwards of $75 billion per year. AT&T has the most to lose, with 20 percent of its revenue in 2015 coming from business data services.

Verizon and Incompas — two large media conglomerates — wrote a letter to the FCC proposing policy changes and competitive pricing measures. In the letter, the companies stated, “we think these proposals continue to reflect a middle ground and would result in an administratively simple framework that can help guide the Commission towards procompetitive reform.”

The FCC has largely been unclear as to what the policy changes would look like, but experts note that the rate cuts could run between “11 percent to 16 percent,” according to Bloomberg.

Rep. Mike Doyle and other House Democrats announced in early August they, “had written to their Democratic colleagues in the House urging them to support swift action by the Federal Communications Commission to reform the current regulations.”

The letter, titled “Dear Colleague,” states that the current framework has “cost the U.S. economy $150 billion over the last 5 years,” and that the “costs are overwhelmingly borne by small businesses and consumers.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the government must intervene, “not only to bring rates down but to advance the next generation of wireless technology, 5G,” according to Bloomberg.

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