Thursday, May 11, 2006

Court Tells COMPTEL to Live with It

As explained in Phone+ mag: "U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on Wednesday granted COMPTEL ‘friend of the court’ status after the competitive carrier association made its case for an independent inquiry into whether the public interest is being served by the elimination of long-distance operators AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc. .....COMPTEL went to court to ask for permission to intervene in the Justice Department’s requirement that AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. divest some of their unused fiber networks, as part of the conditions for approving their takeovers of AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc., respectively. Sullivan ultimately decided not to allow COMPTEL to intervene. However, he is allowing the association essentially to act as a consultant if he has questions that would best be answered by a party other than the Department of Justice or Verizon or the new AT&T. Lee said the judge informed the DoJ he would not “rubber stamp” its approval of the fiber divestiture as a condition of public interest just because it came from the government. ...The DoJ’s filings do say the merged firms should complete the dark-fiber leases by July 31, or else the companies wanting to use the networks will be allowed to walk away. "

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