Federal regulators won a victory late last week when a U.S. appeals court upheld the FCCs latest network unbundling rules.
The 1996 Telecommunications Act required ILECs to lease parts of their networks to competitors at government-mandated wholesale prices. In December 2004, the FCC rescinded those requirements as Bell companies complained the rules went too far and competitive carriers said they didnt go far enough. Different aspects of the FCC’s unbundling rules were challenged by ILECs and CLECs. On June 16, the D.C. Circuit unanimously affirmed the commission’s rules in all respects.
James A. Kirkland, Covad Communications Group Inc.s senior vice president of strategic development and general counsel, hailed the judges decision, saying the FCC had reaffirmed its support of facilities-based competition and praising the appeals court for following suit. This decision ensures continuation of the regulatory stability that has allowed Covad to invest in new and innovative services for businesses and consumers across the country, he said in a news release.
One Bell company argued in a petition that the FCC’s unbundling analysis failed to consider the relevance of tariffed special access services (TSASs). Another argued the commission imposed “impossibly high thresholds” for determining the state of competition in the DS1/DS3 loops and transport market. Competitive carrier association COMPTEL said while it was unhappy that the court did not listen to small companies concerns, it was glad ILEC petitions were rejected.