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You may remember that in March 2006, when the FCC had only four commissioners, a Verizon petition to have all common-carriage-type requirements lifted from its relationships with businesses was “deemed granted” by the Commission’s silence — split 2-2, the Commission said nothing by the deadline for action on that petition. This non-action was part of a steady, incremental removal of rules from highspeed access in the U.S. that is still going on.
There were a couple of news items recently that relate to this subject. First, the D.C. Circuit today heard argument on a challenge to the notion that “deemed granted” could be the end of the story. According to Blair Levin and his team (sorry, no link), the panel seemed skeptical that silence meant denial of the petition. But the judges also weren’t sure how to review a record of silence, and may send the thing back to the Commission for something a little noisier.
Also, AT&T’s petition for “forbearance” from common carriage obligations for many of its business relationships (excusing AT&T from having to state what its fees will be for internet access services provided to businesses, and avoiding rate of return regulation generally for these relationships), was largely granted by the Commission last week. This forbearance applies to most of the services AT&T offers to businesses, including its very-high-capacity “OCn” (optical carrier lines, involving thousands of voice grade equivalents) fiber-optic interoffice transport connections, packetized broadband, Frame Relay services, ATM services, LAN services, Ethernet-based services, video transmission services, and wave-based services, but not traditional DS1 and DS3 special-access circuits.