Verizon Communications was handed a defeat Tuesday by the DC Circuit Court, which determined that the FCC acted in a “reasonable” fashion last year in prohibiting Verizon from targeting retention offers to departing customers as their phone numbers are ported to new carriers. The case concerns an order handed down by the FCC last June that granted a complaint filed against Verizon by cable operators Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks. According to the cable firms, Verizon’s practice of targeting its retention efforts at migrating customers during the porting process violated provisions of Sections 201 and 222 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Those sections prohibit the usage of customer proprietary network information to retain customers. Although the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau sided initially with Verizon, the agency’s commissioners, by a vote of 4-1, overturned the April 2008 bureau decision upon finding that information provided by the subscriber’s previous carrier to the new provider to complete the porting process is proprietary. On appeal, Verizon argued that the language of Sections 201 and 222 is ambiguous and that the FCC violated the carrier’s right to free speech by prohibiting its communication with departing customers during the porting process. The court, however, rejected Verizon’s constitutional challenge, explaining: “as the Commission noted in the 1998 ‘Anti-Slamming decision,’ the executing carrier is disabled only from using an opportunity fortuitously placed in its hands by a technological necessity—the fact that its technical cooperation is essential to the implementation of the submitting carrier’s competitive victory.” Concluding, “we thus do not find a First Amendment violation,” the court further decreed: “as Verizon reads it, the statute would protect carriers that purchased telecommunications service from Verizon on a wholesale basis and then resold it to their customers . . . but not carriers like the complainants that simply submitted LSRs to Verizon so that they could provide telephone service with their own facilities.” A Comcast spokeswoman praised the decision as one that ensures “that consumers who choose to leave their incumbent phone provider will have their wishes respected.”