• On May 20, 2011, Cablevision Systems Corp. became the latest local exchange carrier (LEC) to sue Verizon for its refusal to pay access charges on any traffic it believes originated or terminated in IP format. Verizon has re-rated the traffic from the higher contract and/or tariff rates to $0.0007 per minute, the complaint alleges, “even as Verizon itself continues to charge [Cablevision] the higher, unreduced rates specified in Verizon’s contracts and tariffs for the same services.” Cablevision also alleges that Verizon’s $0.0007 rate is only 3% of the applicable rate for access traffic in New York, and 4% of the New Jersey rate. Cablevision seeks over $8 million in damages in the suit. Cablevision Systems Corporation, vs. Verizon New York, Inc., No. 1:11-cv-02457-CBA-JMA (E.D.N.Y.).
  • On May 19, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed a trial court’s ruling that two homeowners had no ability to upset a settlement between a wireless-tower builder and a municipality over whether variances should be given to allow the company to build a tower. David and Marilyn Slade sought to block Industrial Communications and Electronics from erecting a 120-foot tower 200 feet from the border of their property that would obstruct their view of the nearby lake and surrounding mountains. The town’s zoning board initially denied the applications, but then settled with the company after being sued and stipulating to a consent decree allowing the tower. The trial court held that the consent decree forecloses the Slades’ challenge, but the First Circuit reversed on the ground that the Slades have Article III standing. “The Slades have a legal interest under state law in the protection that the zoning laws afford to their property: specifically, they could sue in state court to overturn the variance if it were granted unlawfully,” the court of appeals stated. Industrial Commc’ns & Electronics, Inc. v. Town of Alton, No. 10-1738 (1st Cir.).