Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Qwest vs. Farmers: No One Likes It When They Get It

Qwest lost its fight with Farmers and Merchants Mutual Telephone Company at the FCC yesterday. Farmers is an 800-line Rural LEC in Iowa that used the tariffing system to make some extra money - at Qwest's expense. The gall!

These guys - Ma Bell, Evil Ivan, Qwest - hate it when other carriers use the very system to take advantage of them. Qwest tried to get the filed FCC tariff called illegal. It is an interesting read about the process for inter-state tariff. It also is a map in how one could go about calling for, say, Ma Bell's Special Access Tariff to be denied “deemed lawful” status. Just a thought. I would urge you to read at least the first 5 of the 16 pages.

In response the FCC asks for comments, (Docket No.: 07-135) since nothing they like better than to go into an extensive comment period - say 3 years or more - and mull over all the very similar sounding comments that are filed for and against:

The Federal Communications Commission today initiated a rule-making proceeding to investigate cost and tariffing issues raised by allegations that some rural local exchange carriers (LECs) are experiencing significant increases in access demand, resulting in unreasonable access rates. The Commission notes that chat lines, conference calling and similar services can generate substantial growth in access traffic to the LECs from long-distance companies, which pay access fees to LECs at tariffed rates for every call delivered. The tariffed rates are set at levels targeted to recover the costs of providing access. Although it is reasonable for LECs to seek to increase demand for their services, rates should remain just and reasonable over time as costs and demand change. The Commission tentatively concludes that it must revise its rules so that tariffed rates remain just and reasonable even if a carrier experiences significant increases in access demand. The Commission asks for comment on several possible approaches to address alleged access stimulation strategies. For example, one proposal would require carriers to file revised tariffs if demand increases beyond a threshold level. The Notice requests information about rate-of-return LECs, price-cap LECs, and competitive LECs.

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