Windstream Rips AT&T for Proposed Fee Hikes

By Daniel Santa Cruz Comments
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The number of companies lining up to challenge AT&T over its proposed special-access fee hikes is growing.

In a letter sent to the FCC on Friday, Windstream said: "Despite investing billions of dollars in recent years to expand and upgrade its network throughout its incumbent (ILEC) and competitive (CLEC) local exchange areas, Windstream's substantial CLEC operations still rely on AT&T's ILEC facilities for last-mile access to serve customers in AT&T operating territories. In many cases, it is not economically feasible for Windstream, or any other competitive provider, to extend its non-incumbent facilities over the 'last-mile,' especially when addressing single-tenant buildings."

Windstream is one of a number of companies – a list that includes telcos, banks and retailers – that lease high-capacity voice and data lines (often referred to as special-access lines) from AT&T and Verizon, who own the majority of them.

AT&T recently said it wanted to stop offering extended contracts and discounts to companies that use these lines, a move that the FCC must approve. The governing body hasn't commented publicly on the carrier's request.

"These steps are necessary to accomplish a smooth and non-disruptive modernization of our network and services," an AT&T spokesman said last month.

AT&T has said the special-access proposal is part of its plan to move to an all-IP network by 2020.

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