FCC APPROVES RULES DESIGNED TO GIVE NEW ENTRANTS ACCESS TO
INCUMBENT LOCAL PHONE COMPANIES' NETWORKS
Commission's Balanced Approach to Collocation Rules to Provide Regulatory Certainty
Washington, D.C. - Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted
rules concerning collocation requirements of incumbent local exchange carriers (LECs).
Collocation, an arrangement where a competitive carrier leases space for its equipment at an
incumbent carrier's premises, and the FCC's collocation-related rules are intended to promote
the development and deployment of new technologies and services on a more efficient and
Today's action balances the interests of all parties by ensuring that competitive carriers
have interconnection to incumbent carriers and nondiscriminatory access to unbundled network
elements while protecting incumbents' property rights. Following is a summary of the
- The Commission concludes that collocating equipment is "necessary for
interconnection or access to unbundled network elements" if an inability to deploy that
equipment would, as a practical, economic, or operational matter, preclude the
requesting carrier from obtaining interconnection or access to unbundled network
- The Commission concludes that multifunction equipment meets the above "necessary"
standard only if the primary purpose and function of the equipment, as the requesting
carrier seeks to deploy it, are to provide the requesting carrier with "equal in quality"
interconnection or "nondiscriminatory access" to one or more unbundled network
elements. The Commission also finds that any function that would not meet its
equipment standard as a stand-alone function must not cause the equipment to
significantly increase the burden on the incumbent's property.
- The Commission finds that switching and routing equipment typically meets our
equipment standard because an inability to deploy that equipment would, as a practical,
economic, or operational matter, preclude a requesting carrier from obtaining
nondiscriminatory access to an unbundled network element, the local loop.
As a general matter, an incumbent LEC therefore must allow requesting carriers to
collocate switching and routing equipment. An incumbent LEC, however, generally
need not allow collocation of traditional circuit switches, which are very large pieces of
equipment compared to newer, more advanced switching and routing equipment.
- The Commission eliminates its previous requirement that an incumbent carrier allow
competitive carriers to construct and maintain cross-connects outside of their
immediate physical collocation space at the incumbent's premises. The Commission,
however, finds that an incumbent carrier must provision cross-connects between
collocated carriers, and requires an incumbent carrier to provide such cross-connects
upon reasonable request.
- The Commission eliminates various physical collocation requirements, such as the
requirement that gave requesting carriers the option of picking their physical
collocation space from among the unused space in an incumbent carrier's premises. In
their place, the Commission establishes principles to ensure that the incumbent carrier's
policies and practices in assigning and configuring physical collocation space are
consistent with the statutory requirement that the incumbent provide for physical
collocation "on rates, terms, and conditions that are just, reasonable, and
In March of 2000, the D.C. Circuit court affirmed many aspects of the Commission's
then-existing collocation rules, but the D.C. Circuit court did vacate and remand for further
consideration certain aspects of those rules. The Commission sought comment on these issues
in August 2000 and today adopted its Order in response to the court remand. Specifically, the
D.C. Circuit court vacated the following:
1. Multifunctional Equipment - A requirement that an incumbent carrier permit the
physical collocation of equipment that provides functionalities in addition to
interconnection and access to unbundled network elements.
2. Collocator to Collocator Connection - Rules requiring incumbent carriers to permit
collocating carriers to connect their equipment with other collocating carriers through
3. Placement of Collocated Equipment - Rules that allowed a requesting carrier to
select its physical collocation space and prohibited incumbent carriers from requiring
requesting carriers to use separate or isolated rooms.
Docket No.: CC 98-147
Action by the Commission July 12, 2001, by Fourth Report and Order (FCC 01-204). Chairman Powell and Commissioners Tristani, and Copps; with Commissioner Martin approving in part, concurring in part and issuing a statement; with Commissioner Abernathy not participating.
Common Carrier Bureau Staff Contact: Bill Kehoe 202-418-1580
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