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FCC: Verizon Delayed Interconnect

Verizon violated federal competition rules by taking four months to connect upstart carrier Core to its network, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said.

In ruling on Core's complaint, the agency said Verizon allowed the capacity of equipment in its Washington, D.C., area network to run down and remain exhausted for an extended period. It also said Verizon failed to give Core critical information about the problem or its duration. The delays occured in 2000.

Failing to live up to the "rates, terms and conditions" of interconnection agreement violates a section of the 1996 Communications Act, aimed at opening up markets to smaller players.

A Verizon spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

The FCC rejected Verizon's argument that regulators in Maryland have jurisdiction in the matter, as well as claims that it connected Core in a timely manner.

New York-based Core may now file a supplemental complaint against Verizon for damages resulting from Verizon's violation.

For Core, it's the second favorable ruling from the FCC in as many weeks. Previously, the commission found that SBC blocked Core and Z-Tel from accessing its long-distance lines, opening the door for two rival telecoms to pursue monetary damages.

In their complaint, Core alleged that SBC's actions in 13 states violated SBC/Ameritech merger terms as well as the Communications Act. In the Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin markets, the regulatory agency agreed.