Rural Carriers File Petition for Partial Stay and Clarification to Ensure Intermodal LNP Does Not Harm Customers

Order’s Language Could Mean That Consumers Pay the Price Whether They Choose to PortNumbers or Not...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 24, 2003

Contact: David Zesiger, ITTA 202-775-8116
Aaryn Slafky, NTCA 703-351-2087
Martha Silver, OPASTCO 202-659-5990

Order’s Language Could Mean That Consumers Pay the Price Whether They Choose to Port Numbers or Not, and
That FCC Is Taking Authority Currently Granted to State Commissions

LNP Order’s Language Shows Lack of Technical Understanding of
Contact Caitlin Colligan at 703-351-2086 How Rural Local and Intrastate Phone Calls Occur

WASHINGTON – In an effort to ensure that intermodal local number portability (LNP) is deployed smoothly and correctly for customers of 2% carriers--non-Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) who individually serve less than 2% of telephone consumers in the United States--the Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance (ITTA), the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) and the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO) filed a joint petition for partial stay and clarification with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today. The November 7 Order imposes impossible obligations for these 2% carriers and little notice to comply with the November 24 deadline.

The Joint Petition urges the postponement of the FCC’s wireline to wireless LNP Order for 2% carriers until the FCC can clarify rules and address technical difficulties it failed to account for in the Order. The Order provides a transition for carriers outside the top 100 MSAs but in an apparent oversight, the Order fails to recognize that many rural carriers have some access lines in the top 100 MSAs.

The associations are hopeful that this petition will force the FCC to address the unique circumstances of these carriers and ensure that they are not forced to make unnecessary investments before it is technically feasible for them to provide intermodal LNP. A copy of the Petition for Partial Stay and Clarification filing is attached.

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About ITTA:
The Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance is an alliance of 13 midsize telephone companies formed in 1994 to represent its members before federal Joint Petition for Partial Stay and Clarification/2-2-2 telecommunications policymakers. ITTA members currently operate in 40 states and serve approximately ten million local customers.

About NTCA:
NTCA is the premier association representing more than 550 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives throughout rural and small-town America. NTCA provides its members with legislative, regulatory, and industry representation; meetings, publications, and educational programs; and an array of employee benefit programs. Visit us at www.ntca.org.

About OPASTCO:
The Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO) represents more than 500 small, independently owned, local telecommunications companies serving primarily rural areas of the United States and Canada. OPASTCO membership includes both commercial companies and cooperatives, which range in size from fewer than 100 to 100,000 access lines, and collectively serve more than 2.6 million customers. OPASTCO represents rural telecommunications interests before federal regulatory bodies and Congress, provides publications, and holds two conventions annually in January and July of each year, addressing the needs of the small telecommunications industry. The association has an affiliate 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Foundation for Rural Education and Development (FRED). Visit the OPASTCO Web site at www.opastco.org.