fcc access reform orderStep 2 of the downward transition of terminating access charges is upon us. In case you missed it, Step 2 of the FCC’s ICC/USF Reform Order requires that intrastate terminating switched access rates (and all dedicated transport rates), if above the carrier’s interstate access rate, be reduced to parity with interstate access rates. See TMI’s Blog from May 9 

TMI is again making hundreds of intrastate tariff filings, and clients must continue to deal with the impact of these often substantial rate reductions.

But while this implementation work is underway, the battle over the very lawfulness of the Order rages on in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. In a reply brief filed last week, petitioners – which include State PUCs and Consumer Advocates, an ILEC, several CLECs, and numerous rural carriers – continue to argue the FCC simply lacked the authority to modify intercarrier compensation the way it did. Oral argument in this case is scheduled for November.

It remains a possibility, then, that the ICC/USF Reform Order — or key parts of it — could be vacated. For those of us who frequently deal with intercarrier compensation issues, that’s quite an interesting prospect. We must, of course, press on with ICC Reform-driven tariff filings, pricing issues and dispute resolution – but we should  keep an eye on Denver to see if the game will be changed once again.


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