ST. LOUIS -- Today William P. Barr, senior vice president and general counsel of GTE Corp., presented oral arguments before the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in opposition to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Interconnection Order. Barr appeared before the Court on behalf of the regional Bell companies and GTE.
Barr offered three sets of arguments against the FCC rules:
1. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 clearly gives the states -- not the FCC -- jurisdiction over determining the rates new competitors must pay to use local telephone company networks.
2. The FCC pricing rules violate the substantive terms of the 1996 Act. The FCC-mandated pricing methodologies result in prices well below the actual cost of providing local telephone service. Barr said the FCC's use of a hypothetical network to set prices is like Peter Pan's Never-Neverland; it will never exist. It circumvents the primary purpose of the Act -- to bring the benefits of advanced telecommunications services to all Americans by opening the markets to competition -- by giving new entrants an unfair pricing advantage over local phone companies.
3. The FCC unbundling rules are contrary to the intent of the Act because they require local telephone companies to offer services to new entrants which are not essential to the resale and transmission of calls.
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