Intermodal LNP Oral Arguments Heard by U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

RE: Case No. 03-1414, United States Telecom Association and CenturyTel et al v. the Federal Communications Commission and the United States of America

November 18, 2004, Washington, D.C. - At the conclusion of today`s hearing in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Contact Caitlin Colligan at 703-351-2086the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) regarding their case concerning intermodal local number portability (LNP), the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) and the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO) made the following statement:

"Both NTCA and OPASTCO were please to note the interest of the D.C. Circuit judges in relation to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) issues raised by the Federal Communications Commission`s (FCC) November 2004 Intermodal Portability Order.  The Associations continue to believe that our case amply demonstrates that the FCC failed to consider the overly burdensome implications of its intermodal LNP decision on small, rural telecommunications providers, as it was required to do under the provisions of the RFA."

Background:
The FCC`s intermodal LNP rules first went into effect on Nov. 24, 2003, for telcos in the top 100 MSAs.  The rules require wireline carriers, upon request from a wireless carrier, to update their systems to allow customers to "port" their telephone number from wireline carrier to the wireless carrier.  NTCA and OPASTCO first filed a Petition for Partial Stay and Clarification with the FCC on November 21, 2003, contending that the FCC failed to address many of the issues necessary for successful implementation by small and rural wireline carriers.  Since the rules were first implemented, as many as 37 state public utility commissions have agreed and have granted waivers on intermodal LNP to small and rural wireline carriers.

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About NTCA: NTCA is the premier association representing nearly 600 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies 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 560 small, independently owned, local telecommunications companies serving primarily rural areas of the United States and Canada. OPASTCO’s 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 3.5 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.