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).
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Public interest would favor the grant of the stay. The Commission stated that, to the contrary, staying the order would harm the public interest.