Saturday, September 18, 2010

Federal Administrative Commission Rulings

In 1996, AT&T filed a Section 208 complaint with the FCC against Jefferson Telephone Company, a rural incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) based in Iowa, which entered into a commercial agreement with a chat-line provider. AT&T’s complaint alleged that Jefferson violated Section 201 of the Communications Act of 1934 because it “acquired a direct interest in promoting the delivery of calls to specific telephone numbers.” AT&T also argued that the access revenue-sharing arrangement with the chat-line provider was unreasonably discriminatory in violation of Section 202 of the Act, because Jefferson did not share revenues with all its customers. The FCC rejected both these arguments and denied AT&T’s complaint.
In 2002, the FCC issued two more orders, denying similar complaints by AT&T directed at LECs that shared access revenues with chat-line providers. In AT&T v. Frontier Communications, the Commission rejected AT&T’s allegations that “revenue-sharing arrangements” constituted unreasonable discrimination in violation of Section 202 or violations of the ILECs’ common carrier duties under Section 201(b).[19] In AT&T v. Beehive Telephone, the FCC again denied AT&T’s complaint against a LEC that engaged in a commercial relationship with a chat-line provider for the same reasons.
The FCC has more recently issued an order in a case involving an Iowa carrier relating to interstate calls (calls made from any state other than Iowa to an Iowa telephone number). In that order, the FCC determined that the Iowa carrier was not entitled to collect the entire amounts it billed to a long distance carrier, but that it was nevertheless entitled to some compensation. The exact amount of payment has not yet been fixed by the FCC.


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