FCC Denies Reconsideration of its Decision in AT&T Access Charge Dispute

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has dismissed a petition for reconsideration and clarification of a Commission decision that ruled in favor of AT&T in a formal complaint proceeding.  The petition was filed by All American Telephone Co., e-Pinnacle Communications, Inc., and ChaseCom (the Defedants).   In the original proceeding, the Defendants sued AT&T in federal district court based on allegations that AT&T unlawfully refused to pay them for interstate switched access services.  AT&T counterclaimed and generally alleged that the Defendants committed unreasonable practices through “sham” arrangements designed for the purpose of inflating access charges.  AT&T triggered a referral of the case to the FCC from the district court by filing two complaints against the Defendants with the FCC, after which the Commission ruled in favor of AT&T.  Following the decision, the Defendants filed their petition for reconsideration and clarification.  The Commission denied the petition on procedural grounds, finding that the Defendants’ petition merely repeated many arguments that the Commission had already fully considered and rejected.  Even though it was not required to do so, the Commission also denied the petition on the merits and provided a thorough analysis of its rejection of all of the Defendants’ arguments.  Additionally, the Commission dismissed a similar petition for reconsideration filed by Beehive Telephone Co., Inc. and Beehive Telephone Co., Inc. Nevada because the Commission found that they failed to satisfy the requirements for non-parties to seek reconsideration of a Commission order in an adjudicatory proceeding.

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