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Ninth Circuit Decision is Big Victory for FTC and FCC

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

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.

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Topics: terminating traffic, direct connections, wireless, wireless carriers, bill-and-keep, small providers, service providers, Inteliquent, wholesale traffic, AT&T, ILECs, inter-carrier compensation, clec, CLECs, terminating access charges, FCC, IXC, switched access

Can a CLEC Force an IXC to Buy Switched Access

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

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.

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Topics: terminating traffic, direct connections, wireless, wireless carriers, bill-and-keep, small providers, service providers, Inteliquent, wholesale traffic, AT&T, ILECs, inter-carrier compensation, clec, CLECs, terminating access charges, FCC, IXC, switched access, terminating switched access, federal tariff

Terminating Switched Access Costs Vary by a Factor of 12 in Some States!

Posted by George David

Jan 15, 2018 10:00:00 AM

That’s right, just when you thought the FCC’s terminating switched access reforms to a bill-and -keep regime would make your life simpler, it turns out things are much more complex – and error prone – than ever. For example, in one New York state Local Access and Transport Area (LATA) terminating switched access cost per minute (CPM) can range from $0.00070000 to $0.00883148, that’s over twelve times higher! We’ll share the gory details later in the blog, but first some background.

The July 1, 2017 access filings added a brand-new twist to terminating access rate management, the notion of “affiliation”. Simply put, if the access tandem (AT) and the terminating end office (EO) are owned by the same incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) , i.e. affiliated and are price cap regulated - one set of rate elements apply; if the access tandem and the terminating end office are owned by two different ILECs, i.e. non-affiliated, another set of rate element apply.

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Topics: CCMI, FCC, switched access, LATA, CPM, ILECs, rate and tariff data, telecom rate research tools, access charges, NetExpress, Net Express, terminating switched access

Are Wireless Carriers Refusing Direct Connections for Call Terminations?

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

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).

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Topics: CCMI, FCC, switched access, LATA, CPM, ILECs, access charges, terminating switched access, call termination, call terminations, arbitrage schemes, MOU charges, terminating traffic

Industry Factions State Their Case for More Switched Access Reform

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Nov 3, 2017 10:00:00 AM

It's been six long years since the FCC took the first steps to fix the hopelessly muddled inter-carrier compensation system when it began reducing most terminating switched access charges to bill-and-keep. However, concerned about lost access revenues for rural ILECs, the Commission left originating access charges untouched and only mandated reductions in tandem-switched transport when the terminating price cap carrier owned the tandem in that serving area. Moreover, for rate-of-return ILECs, these charges were capped at interstate levels and not reduced any further.

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Topics: FCC, regulatory updates, inter-carrier compensation, switched access

Finally, FCC Moves Forward on Inter-Carrier Compensation Reform

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Sep 15, 2017 10:00:00 AM

In 2011 the FCC took the first steps to fixing the muddled inter-carrier compensation (ICC) system when it began a transition to bill-and-keep for many terminating access charges and for reciprocal compensation for local calls.

This was only a start, however, since originating access charges remain untouched and there continue to be many unresolved issues including, defining the network edge for traffic interconnecting with the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), tandem switching and transport, and transit service.

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Topics: switched access, FCC

The FCC Must Complete Toll-free 8YY Access Reform

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jun 2, 2017 10:00:00 AM

We turn our attention away from net neutrality for just a moment this week to discuss an issue that has been simmering since 2011 when the FCC began its terminating access transition to bill-and-keep, leaving the fate of originating access charges for another day. Unfortunately, in its zeal to reform the broken inter-carrier compensation system back then, the Commission reintroduced the originating/terminating access split for toll-free 8YY traffic. This access charge gap persists six years later, and has allowed traffic pumping arbitrage schemes to flourish. It needs be quickly addressed.  

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Topics: FCC, regulatory updates, switched access

AT&T Seeks Detariffing of Tandem Switched Transport to Combat Access Stimulation Abusers

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Oct 7, 2016 10:00:00 AM

For folks involved in determining whether ILEC switched access rates are just and reasonable, the FCC’s decision in November 2011 to move to a more rational system could not have been more welcome. For years, ILECs and long-distance providers have battled over every charge in all 50 states and nationally.  Finally, the FCC saw the light and decided to move all inter-carrier compensation charges to a bill-and-keep structure in which carriers recover their costs of terminating local and long-distance call from their own end user customers rather than from other carriers. The move to bill-and-keep for most terminating access charges is currently in the middle of a multi-year transition that will result in terminating end office charges decreasing to zero for many carriers on July 1, 2017. Originating access charges were unaffected by the 2011 Order, but the Commission’s long-term goal is to also reduce those charges to bill-and-keep although no firm date was set.

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Topics: FCC, switched access, regulatory updates

FCC Maintains Requirement that ILECs File Switched Access Tariffs

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jul 22, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Last week we highlighted the fact that the FCC recently adopted a Declaratory Ruling in Docket 13-3, finding that ILEC switched access for mass market andenterprise customers is now a “non-dominant service”.

We speculated whether, as a result of that finding, the Commission would eliminate the current requirement that all ILEC interstate switched access rates,terms and conditions must be tariffed.  We concluded that because of thei mportance of tariffs to switched access customers it was highly unlikely that tariffs would be eliminated. A perusing of the Ruling, which was released on July15, 2016, finds that we were correct and ILECs will continue to file interstate access tariffs for the foreseeable future.

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Topics: FCC, regulatory updates, switched access, ILECs

Transport Access Reform: Not a Lesson in Clarity

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Mar 8, 2016 10:00:00 AM

It has been more than four years since the FCC released its monumental Order in Docket 10-90 reforming the inter-carrier compensation system, including interstate and intrastate access charges. The goal of the Order was to unify all inter-carrier compensation charges by moving to a bill-and-keep regulatory system in which all carriers would recover the costs of transporting and terminating local and long-distance traffic from their end user customers and not from each other. Unfortunately, as we discuss below, the Order has led to considerable confusion in the industry regarding how it applies to the transport rate element.

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, switched access