The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau is seeking comment on a petition filed by a group of local exchange carriers (LECs) that requests a declaratory ruling on the application of the “intraMTA rule” to certain traffic exchanged between LECs and interexchange carriers (IXCs). Specifically, the LECs request that the FCC “confirm” that the intraMTA rule does not apply to LEC charges billed to an IXC when the IXC terminates traffic to or receives traffic from a LEC via tariffed switched access services. The LECs further request that the FCC declare that the attempts of certain IXCs to “misapply” the intraMTA rule to avoid paying access charges and to claim entitlement to substantial retroactive refunds are inconsistent with the Communications Act and the FCC’s rules and policies.
The petition for declaratory ruling is prompted in part by a Federal court decision to stay a case in which Sprint Communications Company, L.P., an interexchange carrier, is using the intraMTA rule to seek a refund of switched access charges it paid to a number of Iowa LECs and Minnesota LECs. Sprint Communications Company, L.P., has filed a total of 34 similar lawsuits against 360 LEC defendants in various states. Other IXCs have also filed lawsuits against LECs that involve the application of the intraMTA rule. The LECs that filed the petition for declaratory ruling at issue here include the following carriers and/or their affiliates: Bright House Networks, LLC; CenturyLink; Consolidated Communications, Inc.; Cox Communications, Inc.; FairPoint; Frontier; LICT Corporation; Time Warner Cable, Inc.; Windstream; The Iowa RLEC Group; and The Missouri RLEC Group. Comments are due on or before February 9, 2015. Reply comments are due March 11, 2015.