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Regulatory News – FCC Updates Record on CICs

Posted:  07/2000

Regulatory News

FCC Updates Record on CICs
By Kim Sunderland

he FCC (www.fcc.gov)
again is set to decide on a proposal requiring resellers to obtain carrier identification codes
(CICs), a testy threat that’s plagued the resale industry for years.

This spring, the commission repeated its CIC request, asking the telecom industry to refresh its longstanding record on the issue by supplying additional comments on a propo-sal that resellers say will cost them big bucks.

“The commission asked interested parties to update the record on the concept of requiring resellers to have carrier identification codes or some form of ‘pseudo’
CIC," says Ernest B. Kelly III, president of the Association of Communications Enterprises
(www.ascent.org), formerly the Telecommunications Resellers Association. “Mandatory CICs would impose a tremendous financial burden on resellers, in many cases in excess of
$1 million, a fact that we’ve brought to the commission’s attention several times.

“Since the commission has asked for a new round of comments on the issue, we assume it’s attracting interest over there,” Kelly says. “We’ll again urge the commission not to implement a proposal that could do serious harm to resellers and their customers.”

CICs are the numeric codes that allow LECs to identify the IXC that an originating caller wants to use to transmit its interstate call. In simpler terms, LECs use the CICs to route traffic to the proper IXC and to bill for the interstate access service being provided.

In 1997, the FCC required CICs as a potential solution to slamming, which at the time the commission thought was being perpetuated mostly by resellers. While the CIC issue hasn’t been a high priority for the FCC, the commission is “considering our options,” says a source in the FCC’s network services division, which is handling CICs.

These include requiring carriers that hold more than a certain number of CICs to return them so that other carriers can use them. The argument has been, the source says, that it’s unfair for one carrier to hold too many CICs when their customers have other uses for them, such as routing and billing.

But resellers are afraid the FCC will mandate that all switchless resellers must get CICs to stay in business, which is extraordinarily expensive for those least able to pay for it, sources say.

In a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the CIC proceeding released in December 1998, the FCC sought comment on three proposals to address “soft slamming” and carrier identification problems arising from the shared use of CICs by
facilities-based carriers and switchless resellers of their services.

The first proposal–requiring resellers to obtain their own
CICs–garnered strong support and opposition among those who submitted comments, according to the FCC.

“Supporters view it
as a cost-effective and administratively simple solution to the problems identified by the commission, whereas opponents raise a number of concerns regarding its potential impact on carriers,” the FCC said.

To better focus the record, the FCC now says this latest public notice gives concerned parties a chance to comment on six specific issues, including what it would cost resellers to purchase translations access alone, and on whether the commission should require that this functionality be offered separately.

Another issue involves comments on the network, OSSs and/or other modifications that underlying carriers and LECs would have to make to accommodate the use of switchless reseller CICs, the likely costs of any such modifications and the time required to carry them out.

The FCC said it wants to know whether it should require any such modifications if it adopts the proposed CIC requirement, or whether market incentives are sufficient to encourage carriers to make them of their own accord.


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