NTCA Responds to Possible Delay in FCC Vote on Intercarrier Compensation

Arlington, Va., November 3, 2008 – National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) Vice President, Legal & Industry Dan Mitchell issued the following statement in response to last week’s announcement today that four FCC commissioners may postpone a November 4 vote on Chairman Martin’s proposed intercarrier compensation reform order.

“NTCA is encouraged by the news that the vote on Chairman Martin’s intercarrier compensation reform order is expected to be postponed and that the order will likely be put out for public comment.  This delay means all interested parties will have the opportunity to fully review and analyze the provisions in the order and enable those parties to comment on the facts of the order rather than rumor and conjecture.”

“The delay is an indication that the commission recognizes the value and necessity of due process and transparency when it comes to an issue as critical as intercarrier compensation reform which could have dire consequences on small rural carriers and the consumers they serve.  The decision to delay the vote is also a tribute to the efforts of many policy-makers, state utilities commissions, trade associations, consumer groups and individual companies to bring justice and fairness to the reform process.”

“NTCA is eager to continue building on those efforts to ensure that the proposed reforms do not harm rural consumers by potentially risking $2 billion in rural LEC access revenues and universal service support.  We look forward to filing formal comments urging the FCC to not base our future on proposed rules that would exempt interconnected VoIP from paying access charges, eliminate rate-of-return regulation, eliminate the NECA pools, and create a fire sale of rural telephone plant through the use of reverse auctions.”