Thursday, October 11, 2007

FCC Grants AT&T's Forbearance Petition for Broadband Services

The FCC granted a forbearance petition from AT&T under which the carrier sought a regulatory relief of its broadband infrastructure and fiber capabilities. This relief provides AT&T with more flexibility with regard to its existing packet-switched broadband telecommunications services and its existing optical transmission services. The regulatory relief is similar to that granted to Verizon in March 2006.

Under Title II of the Telecom Act, dominant carriers are subject to price cap or rate-of-return regulation, and must file tariffs for many of their interstate telecommunications services -- on either seven or fifteen days' notice -- and usually with supporting data. In addition, applications to discontinue, reduce, or impair service are subject to a 60-day waiting period for dominant carriers, as opposed to a 31-day period for nondominant carriers. Finally, dominant carriers must follow more stringent procedures under section 214 of the Act for certain types of transfers of control for which nondominant carriers are accorded presumptive streamlined treatment.

In this ruling, the FCC granted AT&T forbearance from the application of dominant carrier tariff filing, cost support, discontinuance, and domestic transfer of control and certain Computer Inquiry requirements to broadband services with regard to (1) its existing non-TDM-based, packet-switched services capable of transmitting 200 kbps or greater in each direction; and (2) its existing non-TDM-based, optical transmission services. These services include Frame Relay Services, ATM Services, LAN Services, Ethernet-Based Services, Video Transmission Services, Optical Network Services, and Wave-Based Services. This grant is restricted to services that AT&T currently offers and lists in its petitions, and excludes all TDM-based, DS1 and DS3 services.


  • In March 2006, the FCC granted Verizon's petition for regulatory relief of its broadband infrastructure and fiber capabilities. In December 2004, Verizon requested that the FCC forbear from applying common carrier regulations and the Computer Inquiry requirements to its high capacity broadband services.

    In Verizon's case, as a matter or proceeding, the FCC failed to deny the petition by the required deadline and thereby the petition was granted.

    The decision exempts Verizon from having to provide competitors with access to certain broadband facilities and from having to file proposed price increases for certain broadband services with regulators. It does not apply to traditional special access services (DS1 and DS3 services) and excludes TDM-based optical networking.

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