The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has filed comments on a proposal to reform the way telephone companies compensate each other for completing calls. Charges for call completion are included in telephone rates paid by consumers.
Current payments between companies can vary by call type (local, intrastate long distance, or interstate long distance) and by the type of providers involved. As a result, significantly different charges exist for similar types of calls. This difference can lead to a company misreporting traffic in order to minimize the costs of one carrier at the expense of another carrier.
The comments were filed in response to a July 2006 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) notice seeking comments on the Missoula Plan (Plan). The Plan is the result of a lengthy collaboration including industry stakeholders and is part of an ongoing industry effort to shift network cost recovery from per minute charges assessed between carriers to flat-rated charges levied on consumers. Under the Plan, compensation rates may be reduced by $6 billion over four years, but the reductions will be offset by passing approximately $6.9 billion in additional costs to consumers. The PSC expressed concern that the Plan’s proposed rate reductions are not required to pass through to consumers.
“While the PSC acknowledges the need for reform, the Missoula Plan does not appear to be in the best interest of Florida’s consumers,” Commission Chairman Lisa Polak Edgar said.
The Commission’s comments to the FCC can be found at http://floridapsc.com/Files/PDF/Dockets/Federal/MissoulaPlan.pdf. Reply comments are due to the FCC by December 11, 2006.