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Federal Communications Commission
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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

NEWSReport No. CC 97-44 COMMON CARRIER ACTION August 18, 1997

Commission Addresses Petitions for Reconsideration of its Local Competition Order, Clarifies Shared Transport Issues

(CC Docket Nos. 96-98, 95-185)

The Commission today released an Order addressing two petitions for reconsideration and clarification of its Local Competition Order. In today's Order, the Commission required incumbent local exchange carriers (LECs) to provide competing carriers with access to unbundled transport facilities on a shared basis between an incumbent LEC's switches. The Order will permit competing carriers to take advantage of incumbent LECs' economies of scale, scope, and density and thus further competitive entry into the local exchange market. The Commission noted that limiting access to shared transport facilities would impose unnecessary costs on new entrants without any corresponding, direct benefits.

As a preliminary matter, the Commission noted that the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has affirmed in part and vacated in part the Commission's Local Competition Order. Based on the Eighth Circuit's decision affirming the Commission's authority to identify unbundled network elements, the Commission concluded that it has authority to address the issues raised by petitioners concerning the extent to which "shared transport" should be provided as an unbundled element.

In the Order, the Commission first noted that the Local Competition Order requires incumbent LECs to provide competing carriers with access to the same transport facilities that incumbent LECs use to carry their own traffic for transport between the end office switch and the tandem switch. The Commission explained that, when a competing carrier obtains unbundled local switching from an incumbent LEC, it gains access to all of the features, functions, and capabilities of the switch, including the incumbent LEC's routing table resident in the switch. The routing table provides information about which trunks are to be used in transporting a call. In defining shared transport facilities as facilities shared by both incumbent LECs and competing carriers, the Commission rejected arguments by some incumbent LECs that a network element must be partly or wholly dedicated to a competing carrier and identifiable as a limited or pre-identified portion of the network.

Second, the Commission clarified that incumbent LECs are required to provide requesting carriers with access to shared transport for all transmission facilities connecting incumbent LECs' switches -- that is, between end office switches, between an end office switch and a tandem switch, and between tandem switches. The Commission also clarified that incumbent LECs are not required to provide shared transport between their switches or their serving wire centers and requesting carriers' switches, for such facilities are dedicated to the requesting carrier. In addition, the Commission clarified that incumbent LECs are not required to provide shared transport between incumbent LEC switches and serving wire centers.

Third, the Commission concluded that incumbent LECs must permit requesting carriers that purchase unbundled shared transport and unbundled switching to use the same routing table and transport links that the incumbent LEC uses to route and carry its own traffic. By requiring incumbent LECs to provide requesting carriers with access to the incumbent LEC's routing table and to all its interoffice transmission facilities on an unbundled basis, requesting carriers can route calls in the same manner that an incumbent routes its own calls and thus take advantage of the incumbent LEC's economies of scale, scope, and density.

Fourth, the Commission clarified that a competing carrier that takes shared or dedicated transport as an unbundled network element may use such transport to provide interstate exchange access services to customers to whom it provides local exchange service. The Commission further clarified that, where a requesting carrier provides interstate exchange access services to customers to whom it also provides local exchange service, the requesting carrier is entitled to assess originating and terminating access charges to interexchange carriers, and it is not obligated to pay access charges to the incumbent LEC.

Finally, the Commission issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on whether requesting carriers may use dedicated or shared transport facilities in conjunction with unbundled switching to originate or terminate interexchange traffic to customers to whom the requesting carrier does not provide local exchange service.

Action by the Commission August 18, 1997 by Third Order on Reconsideration (FCC 97-295). Chairman Hundt, Commissioners Quello, Ness, and Chong, with Chairman Hundt issuing a separate statement.


News media contact: Rochelle Cohen at (202) 418-0253. Common Carrier Bureau contact: Kalpak Gude at (202) 418-1580.