• On February 25, 2010, Qwest Corp. filed a seven-count complaint in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas against Broadvox, Inc. seeking recovery of unpaid access charges. Qwest alleges that Broadvox is “dressing long distance calls in the clothes of local calls to get an unauthorized discount which it does not deserve.” Qwest also alleges that Broadvox is using Internet-protocol technology to disguise long-distance traffic as local traffic and thereby profits from the difference between Qwest’s access charge rates and the parties’ reciprocal compensation rate for local traffic. In addition to the counts asserting nonpayment of tariffed access charges, Qwest is seeking recovery for unjust enrichment, fraud, fraud by nondisclosure, and tortious interference with contractual relationship. Qwest Corp. v. Broadvox, Inc., Case No. 4-10-cv-134 (N.D. Tex.).
  • On February 26, 2010, Qwest Communications Company, LLC filed a tariff amendment with the Texas Public Utility Commission to introduce what Qwest called “Access Arbitrage language.” Qwest defined “Access Arbitrage” as a “scheme or device to profit by exploiting differences between the cost of originating or terminating access (as charged to interexchange carriers) and the pricing of 1+ and 8XX long distance service provided by” Qwest. The amendment further provides that if Qwest has violated this provision, it will assess an inbound or outbound “Arbitrage Access Fee” of $0.10 for switched access and $0.05 for dedicated access per minute. Qwest reserves the right to “immediately restrict, suspend or discontinue Customer’s use of any service used in connection with Access Arbitrage.” The proposed effective date of the amendment is March 1, 2010. Control No. 27385.
  • On February 16, 2010, the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce sent inquiry letters to 24 local exchange carriers (LECs) requesting information regarding what the Committee referred to as “traffic pumping schemes.” The letter stated that interexchange carriers (IXCs) are alleging that “they sometimes pay rates for terminating access well in excess of what the market would typically demand.” The Committee is requesting that the LECs provide information concerning, among other things, revenue sharing arrangements with customers, the percentage of the LECs’ revenue associated with free conference calling and chat-line services, and any funding they have received from the federal Universal Service Fund. Responses are due today, March 8, 2010.