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Managing Editor

FCC unites for unity

Apr 09, 20042 mins
Application Performance ManagementGovernment

Martin acquiesces, joins commission call for negotiated access rates

The FCC put up a united front last week and called on carriers and their trade associations to agree to begin negotiating commercial rates for access to local facilities – commonly known as unbundled network elements.

Since the D.C. Circuit Court struck down the network sharing rules earlier this year, the ensuing litigation has led to uncertainty and “unsettled the market,” according to an FCC statement issued last week. Under the FCC’s UNE policy, incumbent LECs with local-access facilities must lease them to competitors, at government-mandated rates, in order to open the local market to competition. LECs have said that the government rates are below their own costs of operating and maintaining the facilities, while competitors have argued that higher prices would lock them out of the local-access market.

Negotiating commercial rates in good faith will “restore certainty and preserve competition” in the telecom market, FCC officials wrote. In order to facilitate the negotiation process, the FCC said it is petitioning the D.C. Circuit to wait 45 days before unbundling the unbundling rules.

BellSouth has already offered a new leasing plan, which AT&T reportedly scoffed at. MCI last week said a panel comprised of federal and state regulators should be formed to help negotiate new leasing rates and bridge the gap between LECs and their local-access competitors.

Speaking of bridge gapping, the FCC’s call for unity closes a chasm among some of its top officials. Chairman Michael Powell was very vocal in favor of relaxing UNE rules while Commissioner Kevin Martin was in favor of keeping them intact.

“In the past, the Commission has been divided on these issues,” the FCC statement said. “Today, we come together with one voice to send a clear and unequivocal signal that the best interests of America’s telephone consumers are served by a concerted effort to reach a negotiated arrangement. We call on all sides to commit to working in good faith toward a prompt negotiated resolution.”

Managing Editor

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 28 years, 23 at Network World. He covers enterprise networking infrastructure, including routers and switches. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy and at

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