In forbearance fight, Qwest says size matters

The witching hour is nigh as July marks the month in which Federal Communications Commission honchos pass judgment on Qwest’s forbearance requests in Denver, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Seattle. If the requests pass, the telco can raise the cost-based prices it charges smaller companies. The FCC must decide by July 26.

The issue isn’t a slam dunk for commissioners as a pro-Qwest ruling opens the door for a possible deluge of forbearance requests from the likes of AT&T and Verizon—which lost a request in 2005 to open several East Coast markets.

And Qwest isn’t a newbie in its attempt to open a market. Its forbearance petition for Omaha was okayed in 2005, a situation the company says is similar to its current one, specifically that competition from wireless services and cable providers in the four cities makes it an economic necessity that it receive pricing relief.

"We're not Verizon and AT&T. We're certainly a lot smaller in terms of scope and in size," said Steve Davis, Qwest's senior vice president for Public Policy.

Small companies argue phone subscriber prices will go up if Qwest is permitted to raise wholesale rates and have taken the fight to Congress.

For more:
See the Dow Jones story at CNNMoney