FCC Extends Relief to AT&T in Dispute with Iowa’s Centralized Equal Access Provider

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The FCC has adopted a Memorandum Opinion and Order granting, in part, an AT&T complaint against Iowa Network Services, Inc. d/b/a Aureon Network Services (Aureon) alleging violations of Sections 201(b) and 203 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and various FCC rules. Specifically, Aureon, which provides connections to dozens of Iowa local exchange carriers (LECs) in its capacity as a Centralized Equal Access (CEA) provider, was accused of charging AT&T the wrong amount for traffic destined for CLECs engaged in “access stimulation.” The Commission determined that Aureon is subject to the FCC’s rate cap and rate parity rules when acting as a “CEA” provider to AT&T, and furthermore that Aureon has violated those FCC rate rules by filing high-rate tariffs exceeding the agency’s prescribed limits. However, the Commission did not go as far as saying Aureon violated the Act. The FCC will determine Aureon’s appropriate damages during the next phase of the proceeding. Additionally, Aureon must file a revised interstate tariff with rates that comply with the order, as well as file cost studies that support the revised tariff structure (as required by Section 61.38 of the Commission’s rules) within 60 days of the release date of the Memorandum Opinion and Order.

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