Yesterday, COMPTEL filed comments opposing USTelecom's petition for a declaratory ruling that incumbent local exchange carriers are non-dominant in the provision of residential and business switched access services.
With the adoption of VoIP and wireless services, incumbent local exchange carriers are asking to be relieved of their dominant carrier duties. This is significant because dominant-carriers have regulatory requirements regarding pricing, tariff filings and market entry and exit that are not applied to their competitors.
In its comments, COMPTEL noted several reasons why this petition should be denied. First, USTelecom readily admits that ILECs continue to have market power and remain dominant in the switched access market.
"As a result, the existence of the ILECs' market power and dominance is neither uncertain nor a matter of controversy. For this reason alone the Commission should deny USTelecom's Petition," COMPTEL stated. COMPTEL also noted that the future of end user switched access regulation is the subject of a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Intercarrier Compensation/USF proceeding, and should be addressed there, rather than in a declaratory ruling proceeding. Finally, in an attempt to demonstrate the competitiveness of the market, USTelecom only submitted information about the retail market for voice services. Carrier's carrier switched access service is not a retail service, however, and IXCs do not have competitive alternatives to the switched access service provided by the ILECs that serve their customers, making allegations about the competitiveness of the retail voice market irrelevant to any determination of the ILECs' continued dominance in the switched access market.
To see COMPTEL's full comments, visit the COMPTEL website.