New Old Rules

by on August 24, 2004

Last Friday the FCC quietly released the interim rule on unbundling and UNE-P pricing, claiming that if they failed to act, the $127 billion local telecommunications market would be placed at risk. Yet it’s not clear how the interim rule calms this market. The rule extends the current UNE-P price freeze for six months, which is longer than the local phone companies would like (they had agreed to freeze rates through the end of the year). It also provides for an additional six-month transition period, should a final rule not be ready. USTA and two local phone companies have already asked the court to intervene and force the FCC to comply with previous decisions. They are requesting permanent rules from the FCC by the end of the year. It seems this latest effort does little to resolve the uncertainties surrounding this market. On a positive note, the FCC does reiterate support for facilities-based competition, a goal that will be pursued in the final rule (whenever that happens).

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