Verizon Agrees to $5.7M FCC Fine

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Verizon $5.7 million for marketing long distance service in its local service region prior to receiving FCC authorization. In a separate action, the FCC released a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) proposing that T-Mobile be fined $1.25 million for apparently violating E911 rules.

Verizon’s consent to the fine resolves an FCC investigation into Verizon’s possible violation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which prohibit the regional Bell operating companies from providing, marketing, or selling long distance services originating in their local service regions prior to receiving FCC approval.

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

Under the terms of the consent decree, Verizon admits that it marketed long distance services originating in its local service region on five separate occasions from January through July 2002, in violation of the Act. These marketing incidents occurred in nine states within the Verizon region and through various media, including cable television advertising, bill inserts and direct mail solicitations.

The proposed T-Mobile fine is based on an FCC investigation that found in more than 450 instances, T-Mobile apparently failed to provide E911 Phase I service within six months of a valid request for Phase I service from a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).

Under Phase I rules, wireless carriers are required to provide to the designated PSAP the telephone number of the person making a 911 call from any mobile phone accessing their systems, as well as the location of the cell site or base station receiving the 911 call.

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