Thursday, September 21, 2006

Unconditional FCC Approval of AT&T + BellSouth Deal Urged by Chairman

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is urging his fellow commissioners to support an unconditional approval of the historic AT&T + BellSouth mergers, according to press reports circulated on Friday. A vote on the issue is expect at the FCC's upcoming meeting on October 16.

http://www.fcc.govIn October 2005, the FCC voted to approve the acquisition of AT&T by SBC Communications and of MCI by Verizon Communications but imposed a set of conditions aimed at alleviating anticompetitive concerns. These included the following:

  • The applicants committed not to seek an increase in state-approved rates for unbundled network elements (UNEs) for two years (except for rates that are subject to current appeals in specific states).


  • The applicants committed to a one-time recalculation to exclude fiber-based collocation arrangements established by AT&T in SBC's region and MCI in Verizon's region in identifying wire centers in which SBC or Verizon claims there is no impairment pursuant to the UNE triggers in the Triennial Review Remand Order so that dedicated transport and/or high-capacity loops need not be unbundled.


  • The applicants committed to implement a “Service Quality Measurement Plan,�? which will provide the Commission with quarterly performance results for interstate special access services. This commitment will terminate the earlier of 30 months and 45 days after the beginning of the first full quarter following the closing of the mergers, or the effective date of a Commission order adopting general special access performance measurement requirements.


  • The applicants committed, for 30 months, not to increase the rates paid by existing in-region customers of AT&T in SBC's region or MCI in Verizon's region for wholesale DS1 and DS3 local private line services.
    SBC/AT&T and Verizon/MCI committed, for a period of 30 months, not to provide special access services to themselves, their interexchange affiliates, or each other or their affiliates, that are not generally available to other similarly situated customers.


  • The applicants committed that for a period of 30 months, before they provide new or modified contract tariffed service to their own section 272(a) affiliate(s), they will certify to the Commission that they provide service pursuant to those contract tariffs to unaffiliated customers other than each other or their wireline affiliates.


  • The applicants committed for a period of 30 months not to increase rates set forth in SBC's and Verizon's interstate tariffs for special access services, including contract tariffs, that they provide in their in-region territory that are on file with the Commission on the Merger Closing Dates.


  • The applicants committed, for a period of three years, to maintain settlement-free peering arrangements with at least as many providers of Internet backbone services as they did in combination on the Merger Closing Dates.


  • The applicants committed for a period of two years to post their peering policies on publicly accessible websites. During this two-year period, the applicants will post any revisions to their peering policies on a timely basis as they occur.


  • SBC/AT&T acknowledged: (1) that the merger does not change carrier of last resort obligations imposed by the State of Alaska on interexchange services provided by Alascom; (2) that the merger will not alter statutory and regulatory geographic rate averaging and rate integration rules that apply on the merger closing date to Alascom; and (3) after the merger closing date, they will operate Alascom as a distinct, though not structurally separate, corporate entity.


  • The applicants committed to provide, within 12 months of the Merger Closing Dates, DSL service to in-region customers without requiring them to also purchase circuit-switched voice telephone service. The companies will make the offering for two years from the time it is made available in a particular state.


  • The applicants committed for a period of two years to conduct business in a way that comports with the Commission's Internet policy statement issued in September.

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