FCC Waives Rules to Ensure Consumers can Access Conference Calling Services during the COVID19 Pandemic

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The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) has issued a temporary waiver of its access arbitrage rules to Onvoy dba Inteliquent, Inc. (Inteliquent), a provider that carries Zoom and Webex conference calling traffic. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the massive increase in conference calling by consumers and students using Zoom and WebEx to work and attend classes from home, Inteliquent would be deemed an “access-stimulating” carrier under the FCC’s rules which would trigger costs and potentially impede its ability to serve the conference calling companies. The Bureau granted the waiver so Inteliquent can continue to provide service to these platforms without the unintended, negative financial consequences. The access arbitrage rules were adopted to prevent local exchange carriers and their high-volume calling service provider partners from generating high volumes of calls and inefficiently routing them to terminate in costly rural end offices, resulting in long distance carriers and their customers paying artificially inflated tandem transport and switching termination charges. While the waiver expires on June 1, 2020, Inteliquent may seek renewal of the waiver if necessary.

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