On December 9, 2013, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) suspended for five months a tariff filing made by AT&T, Inc., and has opened an investigation to review the proposed changes to AT&T’s interstate tariff. The proposed changes, if allowed to go into effect, would permit AT&T to eliminate certain term-discounted special access contract offerings that run sixty months or longer for a variety of special access services, including DS1 and DS3 services. 

A number of competitive carriers filed petitions in opposition to AT&T’s tariff filing. Among the objections raised, the Petitioners stated that removal of these long-term discounts that are widely utilized “constitutes an unjust and unreasonable practice that would result in unreasonable rates, rate structures, and terms and conditions under section 201(b) of the Act.” In addition, a number of the Petitioners argued that the changes are an “unlawful exercise of market power” that would result in unreasonable rates.

The WCB found that suspension and investigation of the lawfulness of AT&T’s proposed tariff revisions was warranted in light of the issues raised by the Petitioners. The specific issues subject to investigation will be included in a designation order that will be released at a later date. We will issue another alert once that designation order issues.

A copy of the Order suspending AT&T’s tariff revisions can be found here. (WC Docket No. 13-299, DA 13-2349)