CenturyLink: FCC should continue to oversee interconnection agreements following net neutrality rule change

CenturyLink sign on building (free to use)
CenturyLink says the FCC should continue to be involved in overseeing and resolving any issues regarding network interconnection agreements.

CenturyLink wants the FCC to continue to police network interconnection agreements it and other providers enter for exchanging and carrying network traffic if the regulator is successful in revamping the current net neutrality rules.

The FCC will vote on a new net neutrality proposal circulated by Chairman Ajit Pai during its monthly meeting tomorrow.

Like its peers AT&T and Verizon, CenturyLink has interconnection agreements with several service providers it has established, a trend that’s continued to rise as more consumers and businesses depend on the internet to access and interact with high bandwidth content.

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The service provider said in a FCC filing (PDF) that the commission “should not relinquish authority over Internet traffic exchange arrangements” if its net neutrality proposal passes tomorrow during its monthly meeting.

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“Should the Commission adopt an Order reclassifying broadband internet access service as a Title I information service and assert Title I jurisdiction over internet traffic, the Commission should also clearly state that it can and will be available to resolve significant issues related to the associated policies and rules that give rise to such Title I jurisdiction,” CenturyLink said.  

Specifically, if a problem arises between CenturyLink and an interconnection partner, the telco says the FCC should be able to step in and help resolve pricing disputes.

“For example, should the issue arise, the Commission alone is able to determine whether terminating access charges for internet traffic would be consistent with the public interest for the underlying telecommunications and associated voice communications, its obligation to encourage the deployment of advanced telecommunications capability, and to ensure that other jurisdictions do not adopt conflicting policies,” CenturyLink said.

Interconnection has been a hot topic for CenturyLink and other large providers. In 2015, CenturyLink became one of the last large telcos to sign a large-scale interconnection agreement with IP transit provider Cogent.

At that time, Cogent had been establishing interconnection agreements incumbent telcos and cable operators following the passage of the 2015 net neutrality rules. Cogent established similar agreements with AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Deutsche Telekom and other providers.