• On October 28, 2010, Verizon filed an Ex Parte letter with the FCC stating that “there is widespread acknowledgement that the current intercarrier compensation (ICC) system is broken and requires comprehensive reform.” Verizon urged the Commission to address “arbitrage schemes flowing from flaws in the current ICC regime such as traffic pumping and phantom traffic.” Verizon alleged that access costs the industry $400 million annually. WC Docket No. 07-135.
  • On October 27, 2010, Free Conferencing Corp. filed an Ex Parte with the FCC distinguishing between so-called “traffic pumping,” which Free Conferencing defined as “a non-consumer dialed voice service that generates artificial traffic for the sole purpose of collecting access revenues,” and “access stimulation,” which it described as “the act of routing a high volume of consumer dialed long distance traffic to a rural carrier.” Free Conferencing accused many in the industry of trying to blur the distinction between the two terms in order to ignore the “one major difference: ‘traffic pumping’ is artificial, non-consumer dialed traffic; whereas ‘access stimulation’ occurs when real consumers make personal decisions regarding their long distance billing plans and then place genuine calls to obtain beneficial services.” Defined as such, Free Conferencing urged the Commission to find the practice of billing for actual “traffic pumping” illegal, but advocated a narrowly tailored approach that balances the competing interests with respect to access stimulation. Free Conferencing further recommended that the Commission consider the High Volume Access (HVA) rate structures contained in three rural carriers’ tariffs that were recently approved by the Commission. Under these tariffs, the HVA rate “applies instead of the highest benchmark rate when telecommunications traffic to a rural area exceeds a pre-determined volume threshold … in order to provide a fair rate structure for the IXCs.” WC Docket No. 07-135.
  • On October 25, 2010, rural local exchange carriers Deerfield Farmers’ Telephone Company, Lennon Telephone Company, Pigeon Telephone Company, and Waldron Telephone Company filed a motion to withdraw their joint petition for arbitration with MetroPCS Michigan, Inc. at the Michigan Public Service Commission (MI PSC). On September 16 of this year, the LECs filed a petition alleging that MetroPCS refused to engage in good-faith interconnection negotiations with them. They stated that because MetroPCS “did not negotiate in any manner and made no counter-proposal during the allowed negotiation period,” the MI PSC should adopt the ICAs that the LECs proposed. In their motion to withdraw, the LECs stated that the parties engaged in negotiations after the filing of the petition and they were able to settle the issues in dispute. Case No. U-16455.