FCC Denies SBC's Petition for Forebearance of Common Carrier Regulation of IP Services

May 5, 2005. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Memorandum Opinion and Order [12 pages in PDF] in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Petition of SBC Communications Inc. for Forbearance from the Application of Title II Common Carrier Regulation to IP Platform Services". This MOO denies the petition on procedural grounds.

The MOO states that "On February 5, 2004, SBC filed its petition seeking forbearance from Title II common carrier regulation applicable to ``IP Platform Services,´´ which SBC defines as ``those services that enable any customer to send or receive communications in IP format over an IP platform, and the IP platforms on which those services are provided.´´"

The MOO denies the petition. The MOO explains that "We find that it would be inappropriate to grant SBC’s petition because it asks us to forbear from requirements that may not even apply to the facilities and services in question. We also find that SBC’s petition and the evidence proffered is not sufficiently specific to enable us to determine whether the requested forbearance satisfies the requirements of section 10" of the Communications Act, which pertains to forebearance.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wrote in a separate statement that "Although, by today's action, we deny SBC’s forbearance petition on procedural grounds, I believe that the issues presented by this petition are important ones that require the Commission’s attention. In the instant item, the Commission concluded that we were unable to forbear from Title II requirements that “may or may not” apply to IP platform services. As I have said on many occasions, and reiterate now as Chairman, investment in broadband facilities, such as the IP platforms at issue here, is critical to providing American consumers with 21st century advanced services."

FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps wrote in a joint statement that "The petition in the instant proceeding procedurally misses the mark. It falls short of defining the specific services for which relief is sought, the statutory and regulatory provisions at issue, the carriers to which this relief applies and the geographic markets where this relief is directed."

This MOO is FCC 05-95 in WC Docket No. 04-29.