Update: The FCC granted parts of the US Telecom petition for forbearance on April 15, 2019. Specifically, the Commission will forbear from enforcing provisions requiring independent carriers to offer long distance services through a separate affiliate, some provisions governing the timing of responses to competitors’ requests for services from incumbents, and provisions requiring non-discriminatory access to utility poles, conduits, etc. The Commission did not address the bigger issue in the petition – unbundling and resale requirements for incumbent carriers – but has reopened the docket for comments on a narrow set of inquiries. Unless the Commission acts, the remaining portions of the petition will be “deemed granted” on August 2, 2019.
USTelecom petitioned the FCC to stop enforcing requirements (known as forbearance) that allow smaller ISPs to access broadband infrastructure at wholesale rates. In order for the petition to succeed, USTelecom has to provide evidence to meet statutory requirements and demonstrate that forbearance is in the public interest. In this comment, we address how USTelecom did not provide enough evidence to meet these requirements; and conclude that the petition should be denied.