FCC ISSUES NPRM ON IP TRANSITION ISSUES
The Federal Communications Commission has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes to adopt new rules addressing issues arising as communications networks transition from timedivision multiplexing (“TDM”) to Internet Protocol (“IP”) technology. Among the FCC’s proposals are rules that, if adopted, will affect issues of importance to many competitive carriers, such as incumbent carrier copper retirement and preservation of wholesale access to last-mile facilities. The proposed rules include the following:
• A definition of “copper retirement” that covers the removing or disabling of copper loops,
subloops and the feeder portion of the loop.
• Expanded notice rules that require ILECs to provide direct notification of planned copper
retirements to CLECs that interconnect with the ILEC’s network.
• A rebuttable presumption that an ILEC’s discontinuance, reduction or impairment of a
wholesale service requires FCC approval under Section 214.
• A requirement that ILECs discontinuing a legacy service used as a wholesale input must
commit to providing equivalent wholesale access on equivalent rates, terms and conditions.
The NPRM seeks comments on these proposed rules and related issues, such as the sale or
auction of copper facilities that ILECs plan to retire. The FCC seeks to build a record for further
rulemaking, and thus the comment cycle established presents a significant opportunity for interested
parties to weigh in on these vital issues. A summary of the key questions raised is provided below.
Relatedly, Klein Law Group recently performed an extensive analysis of federal and state laws
and regulations that affect competitive carriers transitioning customers from TDM- to IP-based services.
These include customer notification and carrier change requirements, which vary dramatically from
state to state. This valuable analysis should be of interest to competitive carriers transitioning their own
networks and services, and may also provide a basis to support comments in response to certain issues
raised by the FCC. Please contact us for advice on these important issues. KLEIN LAW GROUP PLLC
Questions Raised for Comment:
• Should any other copper facilities – aside from loops, subloops and the feeder portion of the
loop – be included in the definition of “copper retirement”?
• What specific scenarios should “removing or disabling” copper facilities cover?
• Are any incumbent carriers neglecting copper to the point where it is no longer reliably
usable? If so, how should the FCC’s rules be revised to address inadequate maintenance of
ILEC Notice Requirements
• What specific information do interconnecting carriers require from ILECs prior to copper
• Should ILECs be required to provide more than 90 days’ notice (as required under the
current rules) of planned copper retirements?
• Should ILECs be required to provide annual forecasts of expected retirements?
Sale of Copper Facilities
• To what extent are competitive providers interested in purchasing copper facilities that
ILECs intend to retire?
• What role should the Commission play in facilitating the sale or auction of copper?
• Should the Commission establish rules requiring ILECs to make a good faith effort to sell
their copper networks before retirement?
Preservation of Competition
• How do ILEC discontinuances of wholesale services affect the retail customers of
competitive LECs and to what extent are such customers affected?
• What specific facilities or services should ILECs be required to provide equivalent access
following discontinuance of a legacy service?
• What standards should be applied to ensure that “equivalent wholesale access” is provided
following a discontinuance?
Comments on these questions and related matters are due 30 days from publication of the
NPRM in the Federal Register. For further information regarding these important issues, including our
analysis of federal and state laws affecting competitive carrier transitions, or to take advantage of the
comment filing opportunity, please contact any of the following attorneys:
ANDY KLEIN 202-289-6955 AKLEIN@KLEINLAWPLLC.COM
PHILIP MACRES 202-289-6956 PMACRES@KLEINLAWPLLC.COM
ALLEN ZORACKI 518-336-4300 AZORACKI@KLEINLAWPLLC.COM
MIKE GUSSOW 202-289-6966 MGUSSOW@KLEINLAWPLLC.COM