(Reuters) - The chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is proposing to reform the estimated $25 billion a year market for high-capacity data and voice connections, known as special access lines, to businesses.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler on Friday said he was proposing barring some contractual practices by circuit-based systems that make it harder for businesses to switch to other data carriers like internet-based services as part of a new proposed "regulatory framework."
Many businesses rely on the little-special-access lines to transmit large amounts of data quickly, for instance connecting banks to ATM machines or gas pump credit card readers.
The lines are used by offices, retailers, banks, manufacturers, schools, hospitals and universities to move large amounts of data. Mobile networks are also reliant on the use of the lines for the backhaul of mobile traffic.
The services are profitable for large carriers, such as Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc. Smaller carriers, such as Sprint Corp, have argued the special-access market is uncompetitive.
(Reporting by David Shepardson)