FCC denies stay request on their Access Arbitrage Order

The FCC Wireline Competition Bureau on October 25, 2019 denied a stay requested by five petitioners for the FCC Access Arbitrage Order issued on September 26, 2019. Here’s an overview.

The five petitioners included two CLECs and three providers of high-volume calling services:

  • Great Lakes Communications Corporation (CLEC)
  • Northern Valley Communications (CLEC)
  • No Cost Conference (calling service)
  • Sipmeeting (calling service)
  • Total Bridge (calling service).

Stay request

According to the FCC announcement of the denied stay, the petitioners requested a stay on the grounds that:

  • The FCC did not provide adequate notice and opportunity to comment
  • The FCC did not consider evidence that contravenes their conclusions
  • The order is contrary to geographic rate-averaging policies
  • The order exceeds the Commission’s authority.

FCC response

In their announcement, the FCC responded that:

  • They provided the notice that the Administrative Procedure Act requires
  • They acted on evidence in the record and took steps to protect non-access-stimulating LECs from being misidentified under the revised definitions
  • The petitioners have unfounded assumptions and a misunderstanding of FCC policy on geographic rate averaging
  • The Commission explained the basis of its authority in the order.

The FCC response described the conditions required for a stay to be granted:

  1. The petitioners are likely to prevail on the merits of their appeal. Based upon the reasons listed above, the Commission does not think the petitioners will prevail.
  2. They would suffer irreparable harm absent a stay. The Commission believes that the petitioners failed to demonstrate detailed financial information to support their claim that they would suffer irreparable harm.
  3. Other parties would not be harmed if the stay were granted. The Commission did not find such evidence in the petition. The Commission stated that long-distance consumers are being harmed by access arbitrage schemes, and this would continue without the order.
  4. Public interest would favor the grant of the stay. The Commission stated that, to the contrary, staying the order would harm the public interest.
FCC denies stay request for Access Arbitrage Order