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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Ameritech Operating Companies ) FRN No.: 0020572830
Request to Terminate Consent Decree )
Adopted: November 2, 2012 Released: November 2, 2012
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1. In 1995, the Commission, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (Ohio
Commission), the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (Wisconsin
Commission), and the Ameritech Operating Companies (AOCs) executed a
Consent Decree regarding transactions between the AOCs and their
wholly-owned subsidiary, Ameritech Services, Inc. (ASI). In this
Order, in response to a request filed by AT&T Services, Inc. (AT&T),
we terminate the AOCs' and ASI's obligations to the Commission under
that Consent Decree.
2. The 1995 Consent Decree resulted from a joint Commission and state
public service commission audit of affiliate transactions between the
AOCs and ASI. That audit sought to assess whether the AOCs had
complied with the Commission's affiliate transactions rules in
connection with their transactions with ASI. The joint auditors found
that ASI had been unable to provide documentation substantiating the
accounting and cost allocation data that ASI had provided to the AOCs
in connection with certain of those transactions and that the AOCs had
used in seeking to implement the Commission's accounting, cost
allocation, and affiliate transactions rules. The Consent Decree
addressed this substantiation problem by requiring that ASI follow a
series of specific documentation and document retention requirements,
as set forth in paragraph 6(a) of the Decree. The Consent Decree
contains no termination date for these obligations.
3. In support of its request for termination of the 1995 Consent Decree,
AT&T argues that the Commission has granted AT&T forbearance from the
cost allocation and affiliate transactions rules that the Consent
Decree was designed to address. AT&T points out that the Commission
"conclude[d] that these rules as applied to AT&T, a price cap carrier
generally not subject to rate-of-return regulation, are not routinely
needed to ensure that interstate charges and practices are just,
reasonable, and not unjustly or unreasonably discriminatory." AT&T
contends that the Consent Decree is therefore no longer necessary,
given that it requires documentation for cost allocations that the
company is no longer required to make.
4. In light of the fact that the cost allocation and affiliate
transactions rules addressed by the 1995 Consent Decree no longer
apply to the AOCs, we believe the public interest would be served by
relieving the AOCs and ASI of their continuing obligations under the
1995 Consent Decree. Accordingly, AT&T's request is hereby granted.
Effective immediately, the AOCs and ASI are relieved of their
obligations to the Commission under the Consent Decree. We note,
however, that notwithstanding our action here, the AOCs, as Commission
regulatees, are under a continuing obligation to comply with all
applicable Commission rules and orders. These obligations include
compliance with the Commission's accounting rules in relation to the
AOCs' transactions with ASI and with the compliance plan AT&T filed as
a condition of the AT&T Cost Assignment Forbearance Order.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
5. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that pursuant to Section 4(i) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and sections 0.111 and 0.311
of the Commission's Rules, this Order IS ADOPTED.
6. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the obligations to the Commission imposed
on the AOCs and ASI under the 1995 Consent Decree ARE TERMINATED.
7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall be sent by first
class mail and certified mail, return receipt requested, to Jacquelyne
Flemming, AVP - External Affairs/Federal Regulatory, AT&T Services,
Inc., 1120 20th Street, N.W., Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20005.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
P. Michele Ellison
See Ameritech, FCC 95-223, Consent Decree Order, 10 FCC Rcd 13846 (1995)
(Ameritech Consent Decree Order). The AOCs are Illinois Bell Telephone
Company, Indiana Bell Telephone, Incorporated, Michigan Bell Telephone
Company, The Ohio Bell Telephone Company, and Wisconsin Bell, Inc. These
companies are now wholly-owned subsidiaries of AT&T Inc.
Letter from Jacquelyne Flemming, AVP-External Affairs/Federal Regulatory,
AT&T Services, Inc., to P. Michele Ellison, Chief, Enforcement Bureau
(dated Sept. 16, 2011) (AT&T Request).
Our action does not affect any obligations that AT&T may have to the Ohio
Commission or the Wisconsin Commission under the 1995 Consent Decree. We
note that AT&T asserts that changes in state law enacted since the
execution of that Consent Decree have eliminated these state commissions'
authority over the subject matter of the Decree. AT&T Request at 1-2 n.4.
AT&T states further that it has notified the staff of these state
commissions of its intent to seek this relief from the Commission. Id.
Ameritech Consent Decree Order, 10 FCC Rcd at 13848 (Consent Decree,
Id. (Consent Decree, para. 4.a).
See id. at 13849-50 (Consent Decree, para. 6.a)
We note that all of the AOCs' substantive obligations under the Consent
Decree, other than those in paragraph 6.a, have terminated.
AT&T Letter at 2-3 (citing Petition of AT&T Inc. For Forbearance Under 47
U.S.C. S: 160 From Enforcement of Certain of the Commission's Cost
Assignment Rules, WC Docket Nos. 07-21, 05-342, Memorandum Opinion and
Order, 23 FCC Rcd 7302 (2008) (subsequent history omitted) (AT&T Cost
Assignment Forbearance Order). We note that the forbearance action applies
to each of the AOCs. Compare AT&T Cost Assignment Forbearance Order, 23
FCC Rcd at 7307 n.32 (stating that the forbearance relief granted AT&T is
limited to the affiliates listed in AT&T's forbearance petitions) with
Petition of AT&T Inc. For Forbearance Under 47 U.S.C. S: 160 From
Enforcement of Certain of the Commission's Cost Assignment Rules, WC
Docket Nos. 07-21, at 1 n.1 (filed Jan. 25, 2007) (seeking relief for each
of the AOCs, among other AT&T affiliates).
AT&T Letter at 3 (quoting AT&T Cost Assignment Forbearance Order, 23 FCC
Rcd at 7321, para. 32).
AT&T Letter at 3.
See Ameritech Consent Decree Order, 10 FCC Rcd at 13849 (Consent Decree,
para. 6.a(1)) (addressing the accounting for costs associated with new
product trials); Wireline Competition Bureau Approves Compliance Plans, WC
Docket Nos. 07-21, 07-204, 07-273, Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 18417
(Wireline Comp. Bur. 2008).
47 U.S.C. S: 154(i).
47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.311.
(Continued from previous page)
Federal Communications Commission DA 12-1728
Federal Communications Commission DA 12-1728