FCC considers realigning access charge rules

Service providers that have relied on using incumbent phone lines to backhaul their traffic are getting tired of paying high prices and it appears that the FCC is at least listening to their pleas. The FCC is considering realigning the price of what competitive providers such as Sprint have to pay the U.S. three major incumbents AT&T, Qwest and Verizon to access their lines.

Sprint Nextel, which depends on incumbent lines to backhaul its wireless voice traffic, has been lobbying the FCC to get the incumbent telephone carriers to decrease the price to access those lines. As it continues to lose ground to AT&T and Verizon Wireless, Sprint estimates that one-third of the cost to operate 60,000 cell sites goes to purchasing access lines from incumbent telcos.

In a 45-day "public notice," the FCC said it will ask for comments on how to look at the "special access" issue. The FCC will then allow 30 extra days to respond to the FCC when it gets the first set of comments.

Reaction to the FCC's investigation drew two obvious responses: some saying the current system is fine as it is, while others such as the NoChokePoints Coalition say that it's the first step toward reforming the special access process.

For more:
- Reuters has this article

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