47 USC 251.
Re: interconnection provisions of Telecom Act of 1996.
TITLE 47--TELEGRAPHS, TELEPHONES, AND RADIOTELEGRAPHS
CHAPTER 5--WIRE OR RADIO COMMUNICATION
SUBCHAPTER II--COMMON CARRIERS
Part II--Development of Competitive Markets
Sec. 251. Interconnection
(a) General duty of telecommunications carriers
Each telecommunications carrier has the duty--
(1) to interconnect directly or indirectly with the facilities and equipment of other
telecommunications carriers; and
(2) not to install network features, functions, or capabilities that do not comply with
the guidelines and standards established pursuant to section 255 or 256 of this title.
(b) Obligations of all local exchange carriers
Each local exchange carrier has the following duties:
The duty not to prohibit, and not to impose unreasonable or discriminatory conditions
or limitations on, the resale of its telecommunications services.
(2) Number portability
The duty to provide, to the extent technically feasible, number portability in
accordance with requirements prescribed by the Commission.
(3) Dialing parity
The duty to provide dialing parity to competing providers of telephone exchange service
and telephone toll service, and the duty to permit all such providers to have
nondiscriminatory access to telephone numbers, operator services, directory assistance,
and directory listing, with no unreasonable dialing delays.
(4) Access to rights-of-way
The duty to afford access to the poles, ducts, conduits, and rights-of-way of such
carrier to competing providers of telecommunications services on rates, terms, and
conditions that are consistent with section 224 of this title.
(5) Reciprocal compensation
The duty to establish reciprocal compensation arrangements for the transport and
termination of telecommunications.
(c) Additional obligations of incumbent local exchange carriers
In addition to the duties contained in subsection (b) of this section, each incumbent
local exchange carrier has the following duties:
(1) Duty to negotiate
The duty to negotiate in good faith in accordance with section 252 of this title the
particular terms and conditions of agreements to fulfill the duties described in
paragraphs (1) through (5) of subsection (b) of this section and this subsection. The
requesting telecommunications carrier also has the duty to negotiate in good faith the
terms and conditions of such agreements.
The duty to provide, for the facilities and equipment of any requesting
telecommunications carrier, interconnection with the local exchange carrier's network--
(A) for the transmission and routing of telephone exchange service and exchange access;
(B) at any technically feasible point within the carrier's network;
(C) that is at least equal in quality to that provided by the local exchange carrier to
itself or to any subsidiary, affiliate, or any other party to which the carrier provides
(D) on rates, terms, and conditions that are just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory,
in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreement and the requirements of this
section and section 252 of this title.
(3) Unbundled access
The duty to provide, to any requesting telecommunications carrier for the provision of
a telecommunications service, nondiscriminatory access to network elements on an unbundled
basis at any technically feasible point on rates, terms, and conditions that are just,
reasonable, and nondiscriminatory in accordance with the terms and conditions of the
agreement and the requirements of this section and section 252 of this title. An incumbent
local exchange carrier shall provide such unbundled network elements in a manner that
allows requesting carriers to combine such elements in order to provide such
(A) to offer for resale at wholesale rates any telecommunications service that the
carrier provides at retail to subscribers who are not telecommunications carriers; and
(B) not to prohibit, and not to impose unreasonable or discriminatory conditions or
limitations on, the resale of such telecommunications service, except that a State
commission may, consistent with regulations prescribed by the Commission under this
section, prohibit a reseller that obtains at wholesale rates a telecommunications service
that is available at retail only to a category of subscribers from offering such service
to a different category of subscribers.
(5) Notice of changes
The duty to provide reasonable public notice of changes in the information necessary
for the transmission and routing of services using that local exchange carrier's
facilities or networks, as well as of any other changes that would affect the
interoperability of those facilities and networks.
The duty to provide, on rates, terms, and conditions that are just, reasonable, and
nondiscriminatory, for physical collocation of equipment necessary for interconnection or
access to unbundled network elements at the premises of the local exchange carrier, except
that the carrier may provide for virtual collocation if the local exchange carrier
demonstrates to the State commission that physical collocation is not practical for
technical reasons or because of space limitations.
(1) In general
Within 6 months after February 8, 1996, the Commission shall complete all actions
necessary to establish regulations to implement the requirements of this section.
(2) Access standards
In determining what network elements should be made available for purposes of
subsection (c)(3) of this section, the Commission shall consider, at a minimum, whether--
(A) access to such network elements as are proprietary in nature is necessary; and (B)
the failure to provide access to such network elements would impair the ability of the
telecommunications carrier seeking access to provide the services that it seeks to offer.
(3) Preservation of State access regulations
In prescribing and enforcing regulations to implement the requirements of this section,
the Commission shall not preclude the enforcement of any regulation, order, or policy of a
State commission that--
(A) establishes access and interconnection obligations of local exchange carriers;
(B) is consistent with the requirements of this section; and
(C) does not substantially prevent implementation of the requirements of this section
and the purposes of this part.
(e) Numbering administration
(1) Commission authority and jurisdiction
The Commission shall create or designate one or more impartial entities to administer
telecommunications numbering and to make such numbers available on an equitable basis. The
Commission shall have exclusive jurisdiction over those portions of the North American
Numbering Plan that pertain to the United States. Nothing in this paragraph shall preclude
the Commission from delegating to State commissions or other entities all or any portion
of such jurisdiction.
The cost of establishing telecommunications numbering administration arrangements and
number portability shall be borne by all telecommunications carriers on a competitively
neutral basis as determined by the Commission.
(f) Exemptions, suspensions, and modifications
(1) Exemption for certain rural telephone companies
Subsection (c) of this section shall not apply to a rural telephone company until (i)
such company has received a bona fide request for interconnection, services, or network
elements, and (ii) the State commission determines (under subparagraph (B)) that such
request is not unduly economically burdensome, is technically feasible, and is consistent
with section 254 of this title (other than subsections (b)(7) and (c)(1)(D) thereof).
(B) State termination of exemption and implementation schedule
The party making a bona fide request of a rural telephone company for interconnection,
services, or network elements shall submit a notice of its request to the State
commission. The State commission shall conduct an inquiry for the purpose of determining
whether to terminate the exemption under subparagraph (A). Within 120 days after the State
commission receives notice of the request, the State commission shall terminate the
exemption if the request is not unduly economically burdensome, is technically feasible,
and is consistent with section 254 of this title (other than subsections (b)(7) and
(c)(1)(D) thereof). Upon termination of the exemption, a State commission shall establish
an implementation schedule for compliance with the request that is consistent in time and
manner with Commission regulations.
(C) Limitation on exemption
The exemption provided by this paragraph shall not apply with respect to a request
under subsection (c) of this section from a cable operator providing video programming,
and seeking to provide any telecommunications service, in the area in which the rural
telephone company provides video programming. The limitation contained in this
subparagraph shall not apply to a rural telephone company that is providing video
programming on February 8, 1996.
(2) Suspensions and modifications for rural carriers
A local exchange carrier with fewer than 2 percent of the Nation's subscriber lines
installed in the aggregate nationwide may petition a State commission for a suspension or
modification of the application of a requirement or requirements of subsection (b) or (c)
of this section to telephone exchange service facilities specified in such petition. The
State commission shall grant such petition to the extent that, and for such duration as,
the State commission determines that such suspension or modification--
(A) is necessary--
(i) to avoid a significant adverse economic impact on users of telecommunications
(ii) to avoid imposing a requirement that is unduly economically burdensome; or
(iii) to avoid imposing a requirement that is technically infeasible; and
(B) is consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity.
The State commission shall act upon any petition filed under this paragraph within 180
days after receiving such petition. Pending such action, the State commission may suspend
enforcement of the requirement or requirements to which the petition applies with respect
to the petitioning carrier or carriers.
(g) Continued enforcement of exchange access and interconnection requirements
On and after February 8, 1996, each local exchange carrier, to the extent that it
provides wireline services, shall provide exchange access, information access, and
exchange services for such access to interexchange carriers and information service
providers in accordance with the same equal access and nondiscriminatory interconnection
restrictions and obligations (including receipt of compensation) that apply to such
carrier on the date immediately preceding February 8, 1996, under any court order, consent
decree, or regulation, order, or policy of the Commission, until such restrictions and
obligations are explicitly superseded by regulations prescribed by the Commission after
February 8, 1996. During the period beginning on February 8, 1996, and until such
restrictions and obligations are so superseded, such restrictions and obligations shall be
enforceable in the same manner as regulations of the Commission.
(h) ``Incumbent local exchange carrier'' defined
For purposes of this section, the term ``incumbent local exchange carrier'' means, with
respect to an area, the local exchange carrier that--
(A) on February 8, 1996, provided telephone exchange service in such area; and
(B)(i) on February 8, 1996, was deemed to be a member of the exchange carrier
association pursuant to section 69.601(b) of the Commission's regulations (47 C.F.R.
69.601(b)); or (ii) is a person or entity that, on or after February 8, 1996, became a
successor or assign of a member described in clause (i).
(2) Treatment of comparable carriers as incumbents
The Commission may, by rule, provide for the treatment of a local exchange carrier (or
class or category thereof) as an incumbent local exchange carrier for purposes of this
(A) such carrier occupies a position in the market for telephone exchange service
within an area that is comparable to the position occupied by a carrier described in
(B) such carrier has substantially replaced an incumbent local exchange carrier
described in paragraph (1); and
(C) such treatment is consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity
and the purposes of this section.
(i) Savings provision
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or otherwise affect the
Commission's authority under section 201 of this title.