RealTime IT News

FCC Fines Qwest $6.5 Million

Qwest Communications International has agreed to pay a $6.5 million fine for violating a federal ban on providing long distance services in its local service region prior to receiving Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorization. Qwest also admitted that it violated provisions of the Qwest/US West Merger Order prohibiting Qwest from providing certain services prior to receiving FCC approval.

The action resolves an FCC investigation into Qwests possible violation of section 271(a) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which prohibits the Bell Operating Companies (BOCs) from providing long distance services originating in their local service regions prior to receiving FCC authorization.

Prior to the 1996 Act, the BOCs generally were barred from providing long distance services that cross local access and transport (LATA) boundaries within their regions. The 1996 Act allowed the BOCs to enter these long distance markets only after satisfying a number of market-opening conditions and receiving approval from the Commission.

Under the terms of the Consent Decree, Qwest admits that it provided long distance services originating in its local service region on four separate occasions. Qwest also admits that it provided services on eight separate occasions, in violation of the Qwest/US West Merger Order.