MCI Telecomms. Corp. v. AT&T Co.

512 U.S. 218, 114 S. Ct. 2223 (1994)



The authority to modify granted to the Federal Communications Commission under 47 U.S.C.S. § 203 does not contemplate fundamental changes. 


A telecommunications company, sought review of a decision of the lower appellate court, which held that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had exceeded its authority under § 203 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C.S. § 203, in authorizing permissive detariffing. The other telecommunications companies had protested the practice. Permissive detariffing had allowed petitioner to go without mandatory reporting of its rates.


Did the FCC exceeded its authority in authorizing permissive detariffing?




The Court denied petitioner the relief requested and affirmed the decision of the lower appellate court to disallow the federal agency's authorization of permissive detariffing on the grounds that such authorization exceeded the scope of the agency's authority. The Court held that § 203 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C.S. § 203, did not allow the FCC to make fundamental changes in their authority. Since an agency's interpretation of a statute was not entitled to deference where it went beyond the meaning the statute could bear, the Court affirmed the decision of the lower appellate court. The Court ruled in favor of the other communications companies and disallowed the practice.

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