Letter from Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell.
Re: MCI WorldCom access charges.
Date: July 30, 2003.
Source: House Commerce Committee.
  Tauzin   Upton

July 30, 2003

The Honorable Michael K. Powell
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Powell:

We are writing to express our serious concern regarding allegations that MCI has engaged in a deliberate effort to avoid paying access charges by disguising the origin and routing of telecommunications traffic. If true, these allegations represent an unprecedented violation of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules.

Access charges represent the cornerstone of the relationship between local exchange carriers (LECs) and inter-exchange carriers (IXCs). Without the origination and termination of inter-exchange traffic, long-distance calls would never be connected. Thus, a gross violation of regulations governing the origination and termination of long-distance calls undermines the basic telecommunications system of the United States.

One particularly troubling allegation involves the avoidance of intra-state access charges. It is our understanding that, last year, MCI initiated an "in-state access recovery fee" on the telephone bills of residential consumers. As a result, MCI may have been charging consumers fees for intra-state access charges that MCI was, in fact, circumventing.

Please apprise us of actions that the FCC will take to investigate these allegations and enforce the FCC's rules. In addition, please apprise us of actions taken by the FCC to investigate similar allegations made in the past as well as how the FCC remedied access charge rule violations.

We also request documentation possessed by the FCC or its staff regarding actual or alleged violations of the access charge rules by MCI, any of its affiliates, any entity that purchased or was acquired by MCI, or any entity acting in concert with MCI. Please include in this information any complaints filed against MCI or such entities as well as any information independently obtained by FCC staff.  Please provide this information no later than August 13, 2003.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


W.J. "Billy" Tauzin

Fred Upton, Chairman
Subcommittee on Telecommunications & the Internet