Competitive local exchange (CLEC) and wireless carriers joined this week with consumer and public policy groups in forming a new coalition that seeks to end what it calls the special access “chokehold” held over the U.S. telecommunications market by Verizon Communications and AT&T. Dubbed the “NoChokePoints Alliance,” the coalition consists of wireless industry mainstays Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA; CLECs XO Communications, TW Telecom, and Covad Communications; and a variety of advocacy groups that include the Media Access Project, Public Knowledge, and the Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee. Arguing that excessive special access pricing and the dominance of AT&T and Verizon over the nation’s special access market hurt not only consumers but the Obama administration’s goal of extending broadband service throughout America, the coalition said it would concentrate its energy on the FCC but would also “talk to anybody who can help show the FCC" that regulatory reform is needed. To assist that effort, the coalition laid out four central principles on which its campaign would be based: (1) the special access market is broken, (2) the FCC under previous administrations worsened that situation by failing to address market abuses by Verizon and AT&T, (3) unchecked control of these carriers over the special access market continues to slow broadband deployment, hinder innovation, and harm the nation’s economy, and (4) the resulting market failure requires immediate correction. Officials of AT&T and Verizon and their supporters were quick to throw water on the coalition’s claims. As US Telecom President Walter McCormick described the coalition’s grievances as “the same old tired and discredited arguments we've heard for years," AT&T charged NoChokePoints members with creating a false argument in stating that special access prices were hindering further broadband deployment, given that special access uses copper facilities that are rarely used to offer the latest generation of wireline and wireless broadband services. As such, AT&T urged the coalition to “gather the facts” and further advised the FCC against making “regulatory decisions based on partial information.”