WASHINGTON -- The FCC today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, seeking comments on proposed changes to its current price rule used to establish the lease rates that other companies pay when they use pieces of an incumbent telephone company's network. The 1996 Telecommunications Act required local telephone companies to break their networks into individual pieces such as lines and switches and to lease the parts to other carriers. The FCC rules also allow other companies to provide service using only the incumbent's network facilities. Under the current rules, the lease rates other companies pay to use some or all of the incumbent's network are set by regulators, based on a calculation of what it would cost based on a hypothetical network in an impossibly perfect scenario, not on real-world costs. The following response should be attributed to Susanne Guyer, senior vice president - federal regulatory affairs, Verizon:
"Making sure that wholesale rates reflect real-world costs is long overdue. Making sure that carriers that lease parts of our network pay fair wholesale prices will help restore health to a sick sector of the economy. Making sure that everyone who uses our network pays their fair share will ensure all customers continue to get high-quality service at a great price. Appropriate pricing also will help restore incentives for all providers to invest in telecom networks, which will lead to more jobs in our communities."