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Whose Bailiwick?

in Broadband Updates/States by

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday heard oral arguments in the matter of the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to maintain a rate cap on telecommunications intercarrier payments for internet-bound dial-up traffic and a related ruling that helps keep wireless intercarrier payments low.

At issue was a 2001 cap that the FCC placed on intercarrier payments. The cap saved wireless carriers substantially on termination fees. In November 2008, the FCC extended the application of that ruling to all forms of internet-bound traffic. Additionally, the FCC placed the entire matter under federal jurisdiction.

In appealing the decision, the states and the companies criticizing it said that once the FCC had used one set of arguments to justify their reasoning, it must be up to state regulators, and not the FCC, to “set the final rates in arbitration proceedings.” According to a Stifel Nicolaus telcom analysis, the three judges appear to be leaning toward the FCC’s side of the case.

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