Intercarrier Compensation Next On FCC's Radar - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Infrastructure

Intercarrier Compensation Next On FCC's Radar

Like a cafeteria cook trying to keep the kitchen as clean as possible, the Federal Communications Commission next week will take its first steps at trying to reform intercarrier compensation rules, trying to minimize the impact of what one FCC staffer calls the impending "big food fight" over telecom access fees.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Like a cafeteria cook trying to keep the kitchen as clean as possible, the Federal Communications Commission next week will take its first steps at trying to reform intercarrier compensation rules, trying to minimize the impact of what one FCC staffer calls the impending "big food fight" over telecom access fees.

Robert Pepper, the FCC's chief of policy development, told attendees at the Pulver.com consumer VoIP summit here that an initial proposal to start trying to make sense of intercarrier compensation would be part of next week's FCC meeting. While Pepper would not divulge the extent of the proposal, he did say that intercarrier compensation -- the regulated fees that service providers charge each other to carry and terminate traffic -- is "front and center" on the FCC's reform agenda.

At this week's meeting, Pepper said, the FCC will consider "the first steps of [IC] reform," a reform that is widely viewed as necessary to promote fairness in the evolving world of communications services. Currently, Pepper noted, the fees carriers charge each other to complete a minute of telephone traffic can range from a fraction of a penny per minute to as much as 34 cents per minute, depending upon a wide range of factors, including the geographic regions from where the call originated and ended.

The advent of more wireless services and the pending switch to IP-based telephone communications, Pepper said, makes distinctions like long distance and minutes of service "irrelevant." The rules being proposed next week, Pepper said, are the culmination of an ongoing effort at the FCC, one championed by chairman Michael Powell, who has repeatedly called for such reform.

Members of Congress are also aware of the broken nature of the telecom regulatory infrastructure, and are also working toward a similar end. Last year, several attempts at telecom reform failed to gain approval, but similar proposals are already surfacing in Congress.

But until there are new laws written, such distinctions "definitely matter in the legal world," Pepper said, predicting that intercarrier compensation issues would be "the big food fight" that would dominate telecom regulatory discussions for the next couple years.

While he admitted that trying to find consensus among the telecom industry participants -- a list that includes incumbent telcos, cable companies, wireless providers and all their armies of lawyers and lobbyists -- would not be an easy task, Pepper was optimistic at being able to reach workable rules to replace the current laws, most of which are based on the 1996 Telecom Act.

"It's going to be difficult, but everyone said that back in 1994 and '95," said Pepper, who was part of the FCC staff under chairman Reed Hundt that helped bring the '96 Act to fruition. "It's not going to be easy. But the existing system is broken, and offers too much opportunity for arbitrage."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
Becoming a Self-Taught Cybersecurity Pro
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  6/9/2021
News
Ancestry's DevOps Strategy to Control Its CI/CD Pipeline
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  6/4/2021
Slideshows
IT Leadership: 10 Ways to Unleash Enterprise Innovation
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/8/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll