Mar 2, 2018 10:09:02 AM
In a February 26, 2018 Opinion, the full Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco gave the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a huge victory when it found that a company is regulated as if it were a common carrier based on a specific "activity" rather than by "status." In other words, a non-common carrier cannot become a common carrier and escape FTC regulation for its non-common carrier services simply by providing a single common carrier service. Instead, as per usual, its common carrier services would be regulated by the FCC, but its non-common carrier services would fall under FTC authority.
The significance of this is clear. The non-common carrier services such as broadband Internet access service provided by ISPs like AT&T and Verizon will be regulated under section 5 of the FTC rules, as the FCC envisioned in its recently released Restoring Internet Freedom Order.
Here is the background for this important Opinion.
Topics: CLECs, FCC, ILECs, switched access, service providers, bill-and-keep, wireless, inter-carrier compensation, terminating traffic, direct connections, wireless carriers, small providers, Inteliquent, wholesale traffic, AT&T, clec, terminating access charges, IXC
Feb 23, 2018 10:00:00 AM
Industry comments are due on March 14, 2018, involving one of the weirdest filings to come before the FCC in a long time. In a Petition for Expedited Declaratory Ruling (Petition) filed by South Dakota Networks (SDN) on February 7, 2018 in Docket 18-41, SDN requests the Commission to issue a declaratory ruling asserting that in a dispute between it and Northern Valley Communications, Inc. (NVC) involving interstate switched access traffic:
A contract between SDN and AT&T, negotiated to terminate large volumes of traffic originally bound to a CLEC (NVC) engaged in access stimulation is lawful; and,CLECs, such as NVC, enjoy no exclusive right to transport terminating traffic to their end offices (or elsewhere). Moreover, the filing of a federal tariff by a CLEC, does not confer a right to compel other carriers to use the tariffed services.
Topics: CLECs, FCC, ILECs, switched access, service providers, bill-and-keep, wireless, inter-carrier compensation, terminating switched access, terminating traffic, direct connections, wireless carriers, small providers, Inteliquent, wholesale traffic, AT&T, clec, terminating access charges, IXC, federal tariff
Feb 16, 2018 10:06:22 AM
Even with inter-carrier compensation reform, some bad actors continue to abuse the remaining price differences in switched access charges to enrich themselves. These arbitrage opportunities exist because rural ILECs were not required to reduce terminating tandem-switched transport to bill-and-keep maintaining their access revenues and originating switched access charges were never reformed at all by the FCC.
On the terminating side, some LECs continue to contract out with enterprises that generate large numbers of terminating calls and split the excess access revenues. Next week, we will discuss this issue of access stimulation (or traffic pumping) and review a current case where the FCC will determine whether IXCs must utilize the tariffs of LECs engaged in such a practice.
Topics: CLECs, FCC, ILECs, service providers, bill-and-keep, wireless, inter-carrier compensation, terminating traffic, direct connections, wireless carriers, small providers, Inteliquent, wholesale traffic, AT&T, 8yy, clec, terminating access charges, 8yy query charges
Jan 26, 2018 10:00:00 AM
A couple of weeks ago, we became aware of a brewing industry dispute between a diverse group of small service providers and the major national wireless carriers. The small carriers claim that wireless companies are refusing to directly connect with them to terminate traffic or at least certain types of terminating traffic such as wholesale. Instead, wireless carriers are forcing this traffic to be routed through an intermediate carrier partner or affiliate, and as a result, the originating providers can no longer can terminate traffic to these wireless carriers on a bill-and-keep basis.
The small carriers believe that by forcing carriers to send terminating traffic through the wireless company’s intermediate carrier partner they are engaging in an arbitrage scheme. These intermediate carriers assess terminating minute of use access charges and share these revenues, either directly or indirectly, with their wireless partner.
Jan 12, 2018 10:00:00 AM
Several diverse companies have banded together to complain to the FCC that despite the transition of terminating switched access rates to bill-and-keep, national wireless carriers are engaging in traffic aggregation schemes at the terminating end of calls. In a December 4, 2017 ex parte presentation in Docket 10-90, the Klein Law Group representing Consolidated Communications, Peerless Network and West Telecom Services noted that:
By refusing direct interconnection (and in some cases terminating existing connections altogether) for all terminating traffic or certain types of terminating traffic (e.g., interMTA and/or wholesale traffic), these wireless carriers are forcing such terminating traffic to be routed through their “intermediate carrier partners” or “affiliates” and as a result, originating carriers no longer can terminate such traffic to these wireless carriers on a bill-and-keep basis. (Klein Law Group, ex parte, at p. 3).