FCC Asks Court to Delay USF Challenge

Says it could narrow, resolve issues through petition to deny process
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The FCC has asked a court to hold off deciding a challenge
to its Universal Service Fund/intercarrier compensation reform order, saying
its petition is supported by the National Cable & Telecommunications
Association, Verizon, AT&T and others.

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
and others who sued the FCC over the decision will oppose the FCC petition,
said NARUC.

The FCC argues in its petition that the court should hold
off since it is currently considering similar issues in petitions to reconsider
its decision last fall to reform the fund and migrate support from traditional
telephone to broadband. Those, says the FCC are "the sufficiency and scope
of the agency's new universal service system" and "the reasonableness
of the Commission's plan to reform its intercarrier compensation system."

The commission argues that letting it proceed first could narrow
the scope of questions "because the reconsideration petitions currently
pending before the FCC raise issues central to the case before this Court -- and
because the issues raised on reconsideration substantially overlap with those
raised in this litigation -- the Court should "hold the appeal in abeyance
pending the Commission's further proceedings," the FCC told the Tenth
Circuit Court of Appeals.

NARUC says it will fight vigorously for the case to proceed,
saying that the FCC petitions would answer only a handful of the issues they
raise in the suit.

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