Court: CLECS Can Keep Networking Equipment Onsite

A federal appeals court Tuesday rebuffed a Verizon challenge
to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule that requires incumbent
local phone companies to allow rivals space to store networking equipment.

The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected a
Verizon petition to throw out FCC rules requiring incumbent local exchange
carriers (ILECs) to provide competitors with physical collocation of
equipment, in order to install telephone switching and routing equipment
capable of multiple functions.

The rules were originally included in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, as a
way to even the playing field for increased competition. However, in 2000,
GTE successfully challenged the rules as overly broad, with the Court of
Appeals sending them back to the FCC for reconsideration.

Last summer, Verizon petitioned the court, arguing the Commission’s
rewritten rules were still overly broad and beyond its purview. Verizon
argued that competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) could locate the
equipment offsite.

In an opinion written by Judge David Tatel, the court disagreed, saying the
FCC had rewritten the rules to take into account the court’s original
concerns and Verizon was making a different argument than that it presented
to the FCC.

“The order maintains the status quo,” said Verizon spokesman Bob Bishop. “It
leaves in place rules we’re complying with, have complied with, and we will
continue to do so.”

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