FCC Clarifies Scope of Section 214 Discontinuance Rules Applicable to Legacy Voice Service

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The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC or Commission) Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB or Bureau) has released a Declaratory Ruling, Order on Reconsideration, and Order, clarifying the scope of the Commission’s section 214 technology transition discontinuance rules applicable to carriers that are discontinuing legacy Time Division Multiplexed (TDM) voice services.  Any carrier seeking to discontinue its legacy voice service to a community or part of a community, and it is the last retail provider of such legacy TDM service, is subject to the Commission’s section 214 discontinuance rules.

In its Order on Reconsideration, the Bureau denied the petition of Public Knowledge seeking reconsideration of the Wireline Infrastructure Second Report and Order arguing that: (1) the changes to the rules pose a threat to the ability of federal agencies to complete their missions; (2) there are deficiencies in the Commission’s “alternative options” test; and (3) the FCC improperly relied upon market-based incentives to ensure that customers will retain access to adequate service.  In issuing an Order, the Commission adopts a non-substantive ministerial update to its rules by revising and correcting a now-inaccurate cross-reference in its rules.

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