Onvoy’s VoIP-PSTN petition seeks originating access charges

Onvoy Voice Services is urging the Federal Communications Commission to allow local exchange carriers (LECs) to assess originating access charges on traffic within a carrier’s MTA, or major trading area.

Thomas Jones

Jones

The Minneapolis-based, privately held wholesale-services provider has a pending petition for reconsideration or clarification of the landmark 2011 USF/ICC Transformation Order.  Specifically, Onvoy’s petition relates to pre-existing VoIP-PSTN bill-and-keep interconnection agreements.

In a May 15 ex parte presentation to Wireline Competition Bureau staff, the company outlined “technical obstacles” related to implementation of bill-and-keep for intraMTA traffic exchanged between wireline LECs and CMRS providers.

Onvoy counsel Thomas Jones, in an ex parte letter, reiterated a suggested remedy.

“The Commission should permit a wireline LEC to assess originating access charges on intraMTA calls where the wireline LEC originates the call and transmits it to an unaffiliated interexchange carrier which then transmits the call to a CMRS provider for delivery to the called party,” wrote Jones, partner in the Communications, Media & Privacy Department at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.

At the presentation with Jones were Onvoy Inc. president Fritz Hendricks and company general counsel Scott Sawyer. The trio met with WCB officials Victoria Goldberg, Randy Clarke and Travis Litman, FCC papers indicate.

Onvoy’s petition, filed in December 2011, asks the commission to clarify the default transitional rates adopted in the Universal Service Fund and Intercarrier Compensation (ICC/USF) Reform order do not apply to a LEC that has entered into an interconnection agreement to exchange local and toll VoIP-PSTN traffic on a bill-and-keep basis, even if that agreement contains a change-of-law provision.

The change of law in the order, they argue, ought only apply to carriers that did not have an existing agreement to exchange VoIP-PSTN traffic on a bill-and-keep basis. Moreover, allowing carriers that have been engaging traffic under bill-and-keep to begin charging higher transition default rates undermines the commission’s goals, the company said.

“The order clearly permits LECs to assess access changes for the transmission of VoIP traffic despite the face the FCC has not ruled that VoIP is a telecommunications service,” the company argued for the petition, adding that the FCC should not bar the collection of tandem switched access charges for calls to and from parties that are not purchasers of “telecommunications services.'”

The FCC Report and Order overhauling ICC/USF rules was published in the Federal Register (76 FR 73830) on Nov. 29, 2011. The rule became effective Dec. 29, 2011.

Onvoy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zayo Group Holdings, a Louisville, Colo.-based provider of bandwidth infrastructure and network-neutral colocation and interconnection services.

For more:
– see the petition
– see the ex parte presentation

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