Qwest petition denied by FCC
By Kimberly S. Johnson
Saturday, July 26, 2008
The Federal Communications Commission denied a forbearance
petition by Qwest Friday that would have let the carrier charge
more to wholesale customers that must lease the company's
"last-mile" network lines.
Qwest applied for the forbearance for several of its main
markets — Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix and Seattle —
stating that there is enough competition in these areas to
support a suspension of regulatory guidelines forcing Qwest to
charge what it calls, "below market" rates to companies such as
XO Communications and Pactec.
In a 5-0 decision, the FCC said that Qwest did not meet the
criteria need to receive forbearance, such as showing
"The evidence also shows, however, that, in serving mass market
and enterprise customers... competitors rely significantly on
access to Qwest's last-mile network facilities... and Qwest's
other wholesale services in all four MSAs," said the FCC in a
Qwest won a forbearance petition in
Neb. in 2005.
"Today's FCC action upholds the pro-competitive pricing rules
that constitute the heart of the 1996 Telecommunications Act,"
said Heather Burnett Gold, senior vice president of external
affairs for XO Communications. "This decision is a victory
for competition and consumers, and ensures that millions of
business and residential customers throughout Qwest's region
will continue to benefit from choice, innovation and lower
Littleton-based TW Telecom Inc. — formerly Time Warner Telecom —
also praised the decision. The company is also reliant on
big telecommunication outfit such as Qwest and Verizon to
service customers, despite having a ring of fiber in central
areas throughout the
"The FCC's decision today to deny Qwest's forbearance petitions
will bolster competition that is essential if customers are to
continue to enjoy low prices and innovative services -- and be
free from the control of a single dominant incumbent," said
company spokesman Bob Meldrum. "A robust, competitive
broadband marketplace is critical for the nation's
competitiveness, an outcome at odds with attempts by Qwest,
Verizon, and AT&T to abuse the forbearance process and harm
competitors. We continue to urge Congress and the Federal
Communications Commission to reform the forbearance process to
put a stop to the Bells' anti-consumer war on competition."
As of Friday night, Qwest had yet to respond to the decision.