Sonic Fights to Save Internet Competition

Written by Dane Jasper

September 20, 2018 | 4 min read

Sonic was founded on the idea that every home and business in America deserves fast, affordable access to the internet backed with the friendliest customer care around. No outrageous prices. No hidden fees. Our goal is, and always has been, simple: fast, affordable internet for all.

Our goal and the very idea of competition is being threatened. In May, the USTelecom Association, a lobbying group that represents AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, and Frontier, among others, filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to eliminate independent carriers’ access to key infrastructure. Sonic and many other competitive ISPs across the country use this infrastructure as a sort of bridge to broadband. In fact, it was access to this infrastructure or “UNEs” that helped lower barriers into the telecom market and spurred deployment, investment, and innovation among competitors — a tactic that remains successful today, most notably for Sonic.

If this petition were granted, it would dramatically raise prices on consumers, hinder access to high-speed internet, and impede Sonic – and others like us – from continuing fiber deployment. Worst of all, it would leave consumers with fewer remaining options for an ISP (some of which are the most hated companies in America).

Supporting our customers is one of Sonic’s core values, so we partnered with INCOMPAS to take a stand for your access to competitive choice. We asked our customers for support in saving competition and received an outpouring of letters to the FCC opposing the recent US Telecom petition. Along with Sonic, customers from ISPs all over the country submitted comments and told their stories on why telecom competition and their ability to choose their provider is important to them.

John D. Cappelletti, Vice President of Finance and Operations at Split Software, chose Sonic for his business. Without our services, John would be impacted by “higher costs, poor handoff equipment and terrible customer service” at the hands of our competitors.

In order to keep customers like John happy, the telecom industry needs to remain stable with choice and competition. In an effort to combat the USTelecom petition, we have filed comments with the FCC alongside more than 9,000 concerned citizens (residents, business owners, schools, and others) who have voiced their concerns to the FCC.

And in further support in the validity of our fight, there is a new economic analysis from William P. Zarakas, a principal at The Brattle Group, that shows competitive local exchange carriers, like Sonic, have led the charge in fiber network buildout over incumbent players. “The presence of a third facilities-based competitor in 1,307 census blocks would almost certainly not have happened if not for the availability of UNEs. For Sonic, UNEs served to effectively lower the barriers to entering facilities-based competition, and advanced the FCC’s objectives of enhancing investment in broadband networks,” said Zarakas.

We’ll continue being a voice for our customers and fighting for fair, affordable internet. We have and will always stand up for our customers, and for their right to choose an ISP that puts them first.

Below are additional customer quotes about our service:

  • “As a County Office of 42 Districts, cost is one of the main factors considered due to schools using public funds and having tight budgets. Sonic not only provides the lowest cost, but their customer service is by far the best I have seen, from the CEO to the installation crew,” said Candy Amos, Information Systems Support Analyst at Sonoma County Office of Education.
  • “I’m software engineer and participating member of the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). Needless to say, the internet is crucial for me. I could not communicate with my team around the world if it were not for reliable, fast internet access. That’s why I’m a customer of a CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier), because the big two options for internet access — AT&T and Comcast, in my case — are horrible choices.” – Nicholas Hurley, local Sonic resident user. (the views expressed are those of a participating member of IETF and do not necessarily represent the views the IETF)