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Kelley Drye Workshop Tackles Regulatory Front

Partners from the law firm Kelley Drye & Warren LLP will host Wednesdays series of regulatory workshops that will examine issues ranging from high-level FCC overviews to in-depth analysis of intercarrier compensation.


CompTel/ASCENT attendees interested in a high-level overview should attend the Regulatory Workshop.


Speakers from Kelley Drye will share their thoughts on the industry and the regulations under which the telecom industry must operate.


There also is an exploration of what comes next in the saga of the FCCs Triennial Review Remand Order (TRRO).


Kelley Drye partner Genevieve Morelli is slated to moderate the panel Post-TRRO: What to Expect Next. The session will cover reconsideration petitions at the FCC; participation in the pending appeals at the D.C. Circuit; interconnection negotiations and arbitrations with ILECs; various post-TRRO state PUC proceedings; and legislative activity on Capitol Hill.


Meanwhile, John Heitmann of Kelley Drye will host the intercarrier compensation panel. He will review the various models before the FCC and explain how each likely would affect CompTel attendees. There are several models on the table, each with different possible outcomes. For example, Heitmann points out, the Intercarrier Compensation Forum proposes bill-and-keep along with new universal service mechanisms; the plan embraces the principle of revenue neutrality, which means it could result in significant revenue losses for some and reduced expenses for others, Heitmann says.


FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has indicated he prefers a single, unified low rate, Heitmann says. From this, it appears that he disfavors bill-and-keep as a mandatory solution, a change in view from former FCC Chairman Michael Powell. It is unclear whether [Martin] would embrace a connections-based approach, or a per-minute approach wherein the FCC extends its reach to intrastate access, adds Heitmann.


Although the intercarrier compensation issue is one of Martins top priorities, action does not appear imminent, Heitmann notes. He forecasts activity to begin in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next.


The panel hosted by Heitmann also will include representatives from Global Crossing Ltd., FDN/Supra, US LEC and XO. A representative from BellSouth Corp. also has been invited.


Finally, Todd Daubert, also of Kelley Drye, will present, IP: To Regulate or Not to Regulate, That is the Question, a panel analyzing pending federal and state regulatory issues regarding IP services. The key dilemma surrounding IP services is that the FCC has yet to determine whether VoIP is an information service, as it mostly stands now, or whether it actually is a telecommunications service, and therefore subject to regulations, including across-the-board contributions to the Universal Service Fund.

Until you solve the universal service and the intercarrier compensation problems, its difficult to take a stand and classify the services as information or telecom, says Daubert. All the problems are so interrelated that the effect of classifying the service would be to answer a series of questions all in one fell swoop. So I think its been easier for the commission … to try to break the problems apart on a case-by-case basis.


Daubert notes that state involvement largely is on hold right now as commissions wait for the FCC to make its moves.



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