Qwest insists network price caps unnecessary
The FCC wants better competition in four markets to lift
By Alex McCarthy
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Qwest Communications is looking to prove that its level of
market competition meets regulators' standards after the Federal
Communications Commission denied its forbearance petition
Friday, a company official said.
Qwest senior vice president of public policy Steve Davis said
the Denver-based telephone and data-services company will double
efforts to show that competition does exist in its markets,
despite what others contend.
"The competition is there; our customers have many choices of
different providers of services,"
said. "What we need to do is find better means of proving
the exact level and extent of that competition."
The FCC unanimously voted late Friday to maintain wholesale
price restrictions on "last-mile" network lines that Qwest
leases to competitors in its Denver, Phoenix,
Minneapolis-St. Paul and
Under the 1996 Telecommunications Act, incumbent carriers such
as Qwest are required to provide to competing carriers the use
of their networks' "last-mile" access into buildings and
residential areas. Those wholesale customers are charged a
regulated wholesale rate unless relief, or forbearance, is
Qwest claimed in its petition that competition was sufficient in
these markets to eliminate the cost-based price cap, but FCC
Chairman Kevin Martin disagreed, saying in a statement that
specific market facts did not warrant the price relief Qwest
sought. He added that he would re-evaluate those markets
as competition changes.
Qwest was angling for a repeat of the forbearance it won in Omaha in 2005, but competing local carriers,
state public-utilities commissions and various consumer-advocacy
groups were vocal about the negative effects such a decision
would have in their markets.
Jim Greenwood, director of Colorado's
Office of Consumer Counsel, said in a statement, "Had the FCC
granted Qwest's petition, the Denver
market undoubtedly would have seen wholesale price increases
from Qwest that would have affected competition and,
consequently, retail prices to Colorado consumers in both the residential
and business markets."
McCarthy: 303-954-1381 or