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United States Telecom Ass'n v. FCC

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

January 28, 2004, Argued ; March 2, 2004, Decided

No. 00-1012, Consolidated with 00-1015, 00-1025, 01-1075, 01-1102, 01-1103, 03-1310, 03-1311, 03-1312, 03-1313, 03-1314, 03-1315, 03-1316, 03-1317, 03-1318, 03-1319, 03-1320, 03-1324, 03-1325, 03-1326, 03-1327, 03-1328, 03-1329, 03-1330, 03-1331, 03-1338, 03-1339, 03-1342, 03-1347, 03-1348, 03-1360, 03-1372, 03-1373, 03-1385, 03-1391, 03-1393, 03-1394, 03-1395, 03-1400, 03-1401, 03-1424, 03-1442

Opinion

 [*560]   [**208]  Table of Contents

I. Legal Background

II. ILEC Objections

A. Unbundling of Mass Market Switches

1. Subdelegation of § 251(d)(2) impairment determinations to state commissions

2. Impairment in provision of mass market switching

3. The Commission's definition of "impairment"

B. Unbundling of High-Capacity Dedicated Transport Facilities

1. Unlawfulness of the delegation to the states and the national impairment finding

2. Remaining dedicated transport issues

a. Route-specific analysis of dedicated transport

b. Wireless providers' access to unbundled dedicated transport

C. Network Modification Requirements

III. CLEC Objections

A. Unbundling of Broadband Loops

1. Hybrid loops

2. Fiber-to-the-home ("FTTH") loops

3. Line sharing

B. Exclusion of "Entrance Facilities"

C. Unbundling of Enterprise Switches

D. Unbundling of Call-Related Databases and Signaling Systems

E. Unbundling of Shared Transport Facilities

F. Section 271 Pricing and Combination Rules

IV. Unbundling of Enhanced Extended Links ("EELs")

A. The Qualifying Service/Non-Qualifying [***6]  Service Distinction

B. The EEL Eligibility Criteria

V. Miscellaneous

A. NASUCA's Standing

B. Ripeness of the State Preemption Claims

VI. Conclusion

 [**209]  [*561]   WILLIAMS, Senior Circuit Judge: ] The Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-104, 110 Stat. 56, codified at 47 U.S.C. § 151 et seq. (the "Act"), sought to foster a competitive market in telecommunications. To enable new firms to enter the field despite the advantages of the incumbent local exchange carriers ("ILECs"), the Act gave the Federal Communications Commission broad powers to require ILECs to make "network elements" available to other telecommunications carriers, id. §§ 251(c)(3),(d), most importantly the competitive local exchange carriers ("CLECs"). The most obvious candidates for such obligatory provision were the copper wire loops historically used to carry telephone service over the "last mile" into users' homes. But Congress left to the Commission the choice of elements to be "unbundled," specifying that in doing so it was to

consider, at a minimum, whether … the failure to provide access to such network elements would impair the ability of the telecommunications [***7]  carrier seeking access to provide the services that it seeks to offer.

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359 F.3d 554 *; 360 U.S. App. D.C. 202 **; 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 3960 ***; 31 Comm. Reg. (P & F) 1221

UNITED STATES TELECOM ASSOCIATION, PETITIONER v. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION AND UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENTS BELL ATLANTIC TELEPHONE COMPANIES, ET AL., INTERVENORS

Subsequent History: As Amended March 2, 2004.

Stay granted by United States Telecom Ass'n v. FCC, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 23504 (D.C. Cir., Apr. 13, 2004)

Stay denied by United States Telecom Ass'n v. FCC, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 11063 (D.C. Cir., June 4, 2004)

US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Nat'l Ass'n of Regulatory Util. Commr's v. United States Telecom Ass'n, 543 U.S. 925, 125 S. Ct. 313, 160 L. Ed. 2d 223, 2004 U.S. LEXIS 6710 (2004)

US Supreme Court certiorari denied by AT&T Corp. v. United States Telecom Ass'n, 543 U.S. 925, 125 S. Ct. 316, 160 L. Ed. 2d 223, 2004 U.S. LEXIS 6711 (2004)

US Supreme Court certiorari denied by California v. United States Telecom Ass'n, 543 U.S. 925, 125 S. Ct. 345, 160 L. Ed. 2d 223, 2004 U.S. LEXIS 6712 (2004)

Prior History:  [***1]  On Petitions for Writ of Mandamus and for Review of an Order of the Federal Communications Commission.

United States Telecom Ass'n v. FCC, 290 F.3d 415, 351 U.S. App. D.C. 329, 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 9834 (2002)

Disposition: Vacated in part; remanded in part; Petitions for review otherwise denied.

CORE TERMS

unbundling, impairment, loops, switches, network, facilities, broadband, transport, mass market, subdelegation, carrier, costs, state commission, delegation, incumbent, fiber, deployment, customer, hybrid, of the Act, dedicated, pricing, barriers, wireless, rates, hot, vacate, telecommunications, markets, telecommunications service

Antitrust & Trade Law, Regulated Industries, Communications, Telecommunications Act, Communications Law, Federal Acts, General Overview, Governments, Local Governments, Administrative Boards, Telecommunications Act, Telephone Services, Local Exchange Carriers, Regulated Practices, Introducing Competition, Duties of Incumbent Carriers & Resellers, Orders & Hearings, Complaints & Charges, Rates, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Deference to Agency Statutory Interpretation, Separation of Powers, Constitutional Controls, Federal Government, Employees & Officials, US Congress, Native Americans, Authority & Jurisdiction, Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Regulated Entities, Broadcasting, Rate Regulation, Environmental Law, Administrative Proceedings & Litigation, Judicial Review, Long Distance Telephone Services, Legislative Controls, Rules & Regulations, Wireless Services, Administrative Record, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Standing, Reviewability, Standing