COMPTEL will cap off the Fall 2007 Conference & EXPO tomorrow with a morning of workshops designed to update members on the latest in federal policy proceedings.
First up are: wireline regulatory issues. Genny Morelli, a partner at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP and frequent COMPTEL panelist, will host the session. Christopher McKee, vice president and general counsel for Starvox Communications Inc., Wendy M. Moser, vice president of policy and strategy for Qwest Communications International Inc., and Susan Jin Davis, vice president of corporate development for Comcast Voice Services, are slated to participate. The four will talk about the latest on forbearance probably the top concern for CLECs right now and intercarrier compensation and the Universal Service Fund.
The next panel will cover two more hot wireline topics: copper loop retirement and special access. Session leader John Heitmann, a partner at Kelley Drye & Warren, will be joined by Lisa Youngers, director of federal regulatory affairs for XO Communications Inc.; Donna Epps, vice president of federal regulatory advocacy for Verizon Communications Inc.; and Susan J. Berlin, vice president and senior regulatory counsel for NuVox Communications.
The copper loop retirement issue particularly is pressing for CLECs and Heitmann who hope to see some movement on that front by this month.
The Bells are on course to do away with more copper loops than ever, an apparent rush to beat the clock in case the FCC institutes a stringent review process. CLECs view the retirements as attempts to foil competition they use the loops to deliver DSL, Ethernet and other services to customers. They also fear the negative impacts on consumers. Without the copper access, they say, they will be forced to sign on for pricey, slower DS0s or DS1s, or lose their customers.
Because of that, two groups of CLECs have asked the FCC to impose rules governing the circumstances under which LECs can cut off CLEC access to copper. As of press time, the FCC had yet to respond.
Special access also is a crucial concern for competitors. How, they ask, will they compete if the FCC continues to reduce government oversight of circuit pricing and accessibility? Heitmann said Verizons presence on the panel will help frame the issue.
The third panel will cover additional important topics: the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction, MVNOs, broadband WiMAX, municipal Wi-Fi and the Skype petition. Skype has asked the FCC to allow for open device attachments on certain parts of the 700MHz band. Danny Adams, a partner at Kelley Drye & Warren, is heading the panel. He said while the planned
topics arent necessarily at the top of CLECs lists, theyre still of interest. Adams also has secured some key panelists, notably, Rick Whitt who was at WorldCom and now is a lawyer for Google; and a main lawyer for Sprint Nextel.
The final panel will address the shared jurisdiction of the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC recently has asserted that it should have some say in the mergers the FCC approves, as well as other decisions on its plate. Brad Mutschelknaus, a partner at Kelley Drye & Warren, is set to lead the discussion. Scheduled panelists include two other partners from Kelley Drye & Warren: Steven Augustino and Alysa Zeltzer Hutnik.
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP www.kelleydrye.com
NuVox Communications Inc. www.nuvox.com
Qwest Communications International Inc. www.qwest.com
StarVox Communications Inc. www.starvox.com
Verizon Communications Inc. www.verizon.com
XO Communications Inc. www.xo.com