A group of ILECs -- AT&T (NYSE: T), CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Frontier, and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) -- have jointly asked the FCC to extend the deadline to submit Direct Cases related to the regulator's assessment of ILECs' special access rates.
In an FCC filing, this group of service providers said that they won't be able to access the data related to this proceeding until Dec. 16, which is two days before the ILECs' Direct Cases are due according to the regulator's schedule.
The group cited a separate Motion for Extension of Time filed by USTelecom and ITTA that said a "twelve-week extension would be necessary, at a minimum, for a comprehensive geospatial analysis of the data and is therefore the most appropriate extension of time."
"The Commission should extend the deadline for Direct Cases by at least 60 days, however, which is the minimum amount of time necessary for a useful, albeit less comprehensive, analysis of these data," the group of ILECs said in the FCC filing. "The new data the Commission has placed in the record for this proceeding contain the results of an unprecedented, industry-wide data collection of geographically granular information relating to business data services that the Commission initiated in the Special Access proceeding (WC Docket No. 05-25)."
One of the key issues that the group cites in needing more time is being able to assess how and what competitive providers have deployed in their own facilities to compete with ILECs in the special access market.
Experts who are analyzing data for the special access proceeding "have demonstrated that it will take them eight weeks to conduct this analysis of the data, plus another two weeks to draft a report of their findings."
Opposition to the group's request has already starting to emerge.
XO Communications, a competitive provider that offers business services over its own facilities and by renting those from the ILECs where it has not built out a network yet, said the FCC should not grant the ILECs' request for more time.
"In support of their request for an extension, the ILECs contend that they need additional time to incorporate into their Direct Cases analyses of the data set that the Commission placed in the record in its order on December 4, 2015," XO said in a FCC filing. "However, as demonstrated herein, the tasks that the ILECs claim they will undertake relating to the Data do not warrant additional time."
XO added that "delaying the investigation, especially on the grounds proffered by the ILECs, would prejudice XO and other competitive carriers, as well as consumers, who continue to be harmed by the lock-in provisions of the tariffed special access plans under investigation."
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