The Federal Communications Commission is considering eliminating certain network unbundling requirements for the nation’s largest telecom service providers, said senior FCC officials on a call with reporters last week. Former Bell companies would not have to unbundle voice-grade channels on fiber links, according to an item circulating within the commission and scheduled for a vote in December, the officials said. The former Bells also would no longer have certain wholesale unbundling requirements that previously were eliminated for most local exchange carriers.
The move comes into response to a petition filed by USTelecom in October 2014 that requested the FCC forbear from imposing certain rules which, according to the association, are outmoded and hamper investment in modern communications technology.
Despite the relaxing of unbundling requirements, however, the FCC officials noted that companies that resell local exchange services provided by the former Bell companies may still be able to do so. The officials noted that resellers should be able to draw upon other regulations in order to retain their ability to purchase services on a wholesale basis from the LECs. This could be important for a company like Granite Telecommunications that focuses on reselling service from multiple LECs and providing customers a single bill.
Beyond Telecom Unbundling
According to the FCC officials, other elements of the item circulating within the commission include:
- Local exchange carriers would gain relief from certain requirements involving dialing parity for stand-alone long-distance service
- Carriers would not be able to leave a rural area without voice service even if they are not collecting high-cost Universal Service support for the area