MEDIA CONTACT: Margaret Boles
COMPTEL Praises FCC for Rejecting Qwest Petitions
Bell company sought to undue pro-competitive policies of ’96 Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 26, 2008 – The FCC late yesterday unanimously rejected four forbearance petitions filed by Qwest Communications that would have allowed the Bell company to skirt pro-competitive and pro-consumer rules enacted by Congress in the 1996 Telecommunications Act. In April 2007, Qwest asked the Commission to eliminate federal regulations concerning the rates Qwest charges competitors for access to the incumbent’s networks in Denver, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Seattle. Under Section 10 of the Act, the FCC may forbear from applying any regulation or provision of the Act if it determines “(1) enforcement is not necessary to ensure rates are just and reasonable and not unreasonably discriminatory; (2) enforcement is not necessary to protect consumers; and (3) forbearance is in the public interest.”
“We applaud the FCC for recognizing that Qwest failed to meet the burden of proof to justify elimination of critical regulations that make it possible for competitive telecom carriers to bring innovative services and lower prices to the marketplace,” said COMPTEL President Matt Salmon. “The denial of Qwest’s forbearance petitions was not only unanimous at the federal level but supported by all four state commissions affected by the petitions, several state officials and consumer advocacy groups.” Salmon added, “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Chairman Martin, the four Commissioners and FCC staff, consumers in Denver, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Seattle will continue to benefit from the pro-competitive provisions of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.”
Based in Washington, D.C., COMPTEL is the leading industry association representing competitive communications service providers and their supplier partners. COMPTEL members are entrepreneurial companies driving technological innovation and creating economic growth through competitive voice, video, and data offerings and the development and deployment of next-generation, IP-based networks and services. COMPTEL advances its members’ interests through trade shows, networking, education, and policy advocacy before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the courts. COMPTEL works to ensure that competitive communications providers can continue to offer lower prices, better service, and greater innovation to consumers. For more information, please call (202) 296-6650.