• On March 8, 2011, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed, in part, a Michigan federal trial court’s denial of a challenge by CMC Telecom, a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), to a Michigan PUC ruling that AT&T Michigan did not violate the Telecommunications Act by refusing to disclose individualized resale contracts to CMC. After AT&T withheld the terms of individualized contracts offered to commercial customers, on the grounds it would violate AT&T’s duty to protect consumer proprietary network information (CPNI), CMC challenged that practice at the Michigan PUC, but the PUC denied CMC’s complaint. The appeals court concluded, however, that “AT&T’s claim that it would be violating § 222 [the Telecommunications Act’s CPNI section] by disclosing details of these contract is without merit, because the Act allows for disclosure ‘as required by law.’” Completing the reasoning, the court of appeals held that “[b]ecause § 251’s resale duty constitutes a legal disclosure requirement, § 222 does not prevent AT&T from disclosing terms of its individualized contracts to competitors.” In response to AT&T’s privacy concerns, the court noted that “AT&T may be able to anonymize the contracts so that CMC can learn the terms on which AT&T provides individual offers without learning the identities of AT&T’s customers.” CMC Telecom, Inc. v. Mich. Bell Tel. Co., No. 09-2239 (6th Cir.).
  • On March 2, 2011, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted judgment in favor of various LECs affiliated with CenturyLink and against Sprint Communications in their dispute over whether Sprint owes access charges to CenturyLink for the exchange of VoIP traffic. The court found dispositive the language in the parties’ interconnection agreements (ICAs), which provided that VoIP calls “shall be compensated in the same manner as voice traffic.” The court found that Sprint had followed that agreement for many years, but then, in the summer of 2009, “was in considerable need of cutting costs,” and began disputing the CenturyLink’s invoices for VoIP traffic. The court concluded that “Sprint’s justifications for refusing to pay access on VoIP-originated traffic, and its underlying interpretation of the ICAs, defy credulity,” and that “Sprint’s defense is founded on post hoc rationalizations developed by its in-house counsel and billing division as part of Sprint’s cost-cutting efforts, and the witnesses who testified in support of the defense were not at all credible.” The court stated it will enter judgment against Sprint for more than $20 million in compensatory damages, late charges, pre- and post-judgment interest, and any allowable attorneys’ fees. Central Tel. Co. v. Sprint Commc’ns Co., No. 3:09-cv-720 (E.D. Va.).