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FOLLOWING THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY AND RELATED LEGAL TOPICS

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

XO's forbearance petition ... the forbearance shoe is on the other foot

Coming up quick in the FCC queue is an XO forbearance petition, which will be "deemed granted" on June 23 unless the FCC otherwise issues an order resolving it.

More interesting than the substance of the petition is the political dynamic emerging among the Commissioners.

With Commissioner McDowell recusing himself (due to his role at Comptel), our sources tell us that a 2-2 tie exists, with Chairman Martin and Commissioner Tate opposing XO's petition, and Commissioners Copps and Adelstein prepared to let the petition take effect through the "deemed granted" provision of the statute.

Back in March, Chairman Martin used the "deemed granted" provision of the statute to let a Verizon forbearance petition take effect by operation of law. This outraged the Commissioners Copps and Adelstein. But in a reversal of fortune, Commissioners Copps and Adelstein are now in the "deemed granted" driver's seat on the XO petition.

In Washington, where you stand often times depends on where you sit.

To the extent the XO petition is "deemed granted," we'll be watching for a couple of things:

-- Statements by Commissioners Copps and Adelstein explaining why "deemed granted" is appropriate in this case, but not in the Verizon case

-- Statements by Chairman Martin and Commissioner Tate explaining the opposite

-- Any changes in positions in court filings at the DC Circuit, where CLECs have opposed use of "deemed granted" and Verizon has supported it

As usual, we're in the land of "things that make you go 'hmmmm'...."

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