• On April 4, 2011, the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) and a dozen Mississippi rural LECs appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from a Mississippi federal court order reversing the PSC’s finding that Total Element Long Run Incremental Cost (TELRIC) pricing is not required for the rural LECs’ arbitrated reciprocal compensation rates for traffic exchanged with AT&T Mobility. The PSC found and argued that TELRIC does not apply to LEC/CMRS agreements, and instead adopted the LECs’ proffered reciprocal compensation rate of $0.017. On March 3, 2011, a Mississippi federal court granted AT&T Mobility’s appeal that this ruling by the PSC contravenes the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and remanded the matter to the PSC to select a TELRIC-based rate or a bill-and-keep rate of zero. The trial court concluded that “If an RLEC is subject to the requirement of having a reciprocal compensation arrangement …, then it is also subject to section 252(d)(2)’s pricing standards; and since the FCC’s regulations implementing those standards are made mandatory on state commissions, then a conclusion that section 252(b)(5) and section 252(d)(2) apply necessarily means that the regulations (and hence TELRIC) also apply.” The Fifth Circuit has not yet set a briefing schedule. Miss. Pub. Serv. Comm’n v. New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, No. 11-60232 (5th Cir.).
  • On March 28, 2011, Verizon Business answered the complaint filed by Cbeyond Communications LLC in the federal court for the Northern District of Georgia for unpaid, or not fully paid, access charges on VoIP traffic. Verizon denied that Cbeyond’s tariff applies to VoIP traffic and denied that it “made up” a rate of $0.0007 for the interexchange VoIP traffic Cbeyond carried for Verizon’s long-distance customers. Cbeyond had alleged that Verizon arbitrarily re-rated VoIP at $0.0007 and owes Cbeyond over $900,000 under its access tariffs. Verizon asserts that it chose $0.0007 as an “appropriate” rate while inviting Cbeyond to negotiate a commercial agreement. Verizon appears to have embarked on a campaign of rating VoIP traffic at $0.0007; Cbeyond is not the first carrier to complain about Verizon’s underpayments of access charges for VoIP traffic. Case No. 1:11-cv-00693 (N.D. Ga.).