FCC To Examine Retirement of Copper Networks and Back-Up Power Issues

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Declaratory Ruling related to the ongoing modernization of the nation’s communications networks.  In the NPRM, the FCC first examines a number of issues related to the provision of back-up power for modern fiber and cable networks.  Second, the FCC proposes that service providers be required to notify consumers when they are retiring legacy services and ensure that new services meet the needs of consumers.  Third, the FCC tentatively concludes that carriers seeking to discontinue a service used as a wholesale input should be required to provide competitive carriers equivalent wholesale access going forward, and proposes that competitive carriers receive sufficient notice of such situations.  In the Declaratory Ruling, the FCC clarifies that “the circumstances in which a carrier must seek approval to discontinue a service depend upon the practical impact of its actions, not the fine print of an aging tariff filing.”  The NPRM and Declaratory Ruling were adopted at the FCC’s November 21, 2014, open meeting, but have not been released.

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