TO SET ASIDE ACCESS PARITY

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TO SET ASIDE ACCESS PARITY Powered By Docstoc
					                                      BEFORE THE
                           ARKANSAS PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION


IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION
                                                                                                 ’”‘ I                36pJ   t,


OF CENTURYTEL OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS,
LLC FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A CERTIFICATE OF 1
                                         ) DOCKET NO. 99-236-U
                                                                                                    !:p        B””s
                                                                                                       4.-   ;*!
PUBLIC CONVENIENCE AND NECESSITY         1
AUTHORIZING IT TO PROVIDE LOCAL EXCHANGE )
TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE               1

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION
OF CENTURYTEL OF NORTHWEST ARKANSAS,     )
LLC FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A CERTIFICATE OF ) DOCKET NO. 99-237-U
PUBLIC CONVENIENCE AND NECESSITY         1
AUTHORIZING IT TO PROVIDE LOCAL EXCHANGE )
TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE


IN THE MATTER OF THOSE ELEMENTS OF
THE INTRASTATE ACCESS CHARGE                                 ) DOCKET NO. 86-160-U
MAINTAINED AT PARITY WITH                                    )
INTERSTATE ACCESS                                            1
                   CENTURYTEL’S RESPONSE TO MOTION TO DECLARE
                    INAPPLICABLE OR TO SET ASIDE ACCESS PARITY
                   REDUIREMENT AND RESCIND APPLICABLE ORDERS

       CenturyTel of Northwest Arkansas, LLC and CenturyTel of Central Arkansas, LLC, collectively

referred to as “CenturyTel,” for their Response to Motion to Declare Inapplicable or to Set Aside Access

Parity Requirement and Rescind Applicable Orders, state:

        1.     AT&T Communications of the Southwest, Inc. (,‘AT&T”) filed a motion in Docket No. 99-

220-U on or about November 30, 1999 based upon the same premise set forth in its current motion. In its

previous motion, AT&T raised the argument that Orders Nos. 37 and 56 in Docket No. 83-042-U were

inapplicable to CenturyTel and should be set aside. AT&T stated the same argument and rationale in its

prior motion as it sets forth in the motion now before the Administrative Law Judge ((‘AT.,J”). The facts,


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argument and law have not changed since AT&T’s previous motion.

        2.     CenturyTel presumes that AT&T re-filed this motion in the current docket because of the

argument set forth by CenturyTel in its response to the motion filed in Docket No. 99-220-U. In that

response, CenturyTel argued that AT&T’s motion was a collateral attack that could not be properly

considered in Docket No. 99-220-U. The ALJ apparently rejected CenturyTel’s “collateral attack”

argument. Instead, the ALJ considered AT&T’s motion to be proper in Docket No. 99-220-U. AT&T’s

first motion was discussed at length in Order No. 15 and denied. See Order No. 15 in Docket No. 99-220-

U, at 9-10, 15-17, and 22. In denying the Motion, the ALJ considered AT&T’s argument that (1)

CenturyTel’s application of access parity would frustrate the purpose of the parity orders, (2) CenturyTel’s

use of parity rates would do nothing to enhance quality, (3) CenturyTel would be the only remaining ILEC

subject to the access parity requirement, and (4) CenturyTel was not a party to Docket Nos. 83-042-U or

86-160-U. Order No. 15 denied each of these arguments. The ALJ ruled that CenturyTel, as an ILEC in

the State of Arkansas, is subject to and required to comply with the orders found in Docket No. 83-042-U.

       3.      Because AT&T’s current argument was presented, addressed and decided in Docket No.

99-220-U, it is now barred from raising the argument herein. CenturyTel acknowledges that it argued that

AT&T’s attack on the parity orders was not proper for discussion in Docket No. 99-220-U, but the ALJ

rejected this argument and decided the issue regarding the parity orders in Order No. 15.

       4.      Due process requires that persons whose rights will be affected by the Commission’s

actions be given the opportunity to be heard. AT&T and the other Intervenors in Docket No. 99-220-U

were given their opportunity to be heard on the parity order issues in Docket No. 99-220-U. Order No.

15 resolved all the issues raised in AT&T’s most recent motion.

       5.      If it is decided that AT&T’s motion should be considered again in this proceeding, AT&T’s

request should once again be denied. The facts and circumstances relative to the parity orders have not

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changed since the entry of Order No. 15. As stated on page 17 of Order No. 15, orders of the Commission

have the effect of law. All utilities that enter the market place in Arkansas are subject to the rules,

regulations and policies of the Commission in place at the time. If AT&T’s argument is carried to its

logical conclusion, no Commission finding would apply to a utility that was not a party to the docket in

which the finding was handed down. This, of course, is not the case at all. Order No. 15 found that

CenturyTel is bound by the order entered in Docket No. 83-042-U. Order No. 15, at 17.

        6.      Order Nos. 37 and 56 from Docket No. 83-042-U adopted a joint agreement and

recommendation proposed by the industry, Staff and Attorney General. These orders stated that intrastate

access rates were to be in parity with interstate access rates. As reflected in Order No. 37, parity was

needed to move toward cost-based pricing due to the competition in toll services. All parties involved

recommended, and the Commission approved, that interstate and intrastate access charges be in parity so

as to better reflect the cost, avoid arbitrage and provide equity to interstate and intrastate toll rates. The

rate levels proposed by CenturyTel are cost-based according to FCC guidelines. When the Commission

approved the parity concept, it was familiar with how costs were determined under FCC guidelines. The

Commission adopted the parity concept with the knowledge that the rates would be cost-based and could

fluctuate both up and down. If the Commission had not agreed to allow such fluctuation, it would not have

adopted the standard of parity.

       7.      Under the access rates proposed in CenturyTel’s tariffs, the FCC will determine the

appropriate costs for the purpose of calculating interstate access charges and the intrastate jurisdiction

charges will follow. Such cost-based access charges have long been recognized as just and reasonable.

Simply because this method of calculation might result in an access charge which displeases AT&T, does

not require that the Commission abandon its traditional method of setting intrastate access charges.

       8.      Interestingly, AT&T remained silent as GTE’s parity rate filing was considered before the

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Commission in October of 1998. No doubt, AT&T remained silent because this proceeding resulted in

GTE reducing its intrastate access charges due to a reduction in its interstate rates. GTE took this action

according to and within the directives of Order No. 56 of Docket No. 83-042-U. AT&T did not seek to

intervene and prohibit GTE from reducing its rates because of the alleged invalidity of Order No. 56 at that

time. AT&T’s past silence only causes its current challenge to ring even more hollow.

       9.      The issues raised in AT&T’s current Motion were addressed and decided by the ALJ

approximately one month ago and the Commission no more than one week ago. Nothing has changed in

this time span that requires that the issue be revisited. AT&T’s restatement of its Motion concerning the

parity orders must once again be denied.

                                       Respectfully Submitted,

                                       CHISENHALL, NESTRUD & JULIAN, P.A.
                                       400 W. Capitol, Suite 2840
                                       Little Rock, Arkansas 72201


                               By:
                                                                                    3
                                      Mark‘d. Hodge, AR BAR 97225


                                     CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

       I, Lawrence E. Chisenhall, Jr., do hereby certify that I have served a copy
instrument upon the following parties of record via U.S. Mail, postage prepaid, this
2000.

Steve Rowel1
Alltel Arkansas, Inc.
One Allied Drive
P.O. Box 2177
Little Rock, AR 72203

Cynthia Barton
Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.
P.O. Box 1611

                                                     4
Little Rock, AR 72203

Mark T. Witcher
AT&T Communications of the Southwest, Inc.
P.O. Box 1880
Little Rock, AR 72203

Mac Norton
Wright, Lindsey & Jennings, LLP
200 W. Capitol Ave., Suite 2200
Little Rock, AR 72201-3699




                                             5
Steve Cuffinan
Cuffman & Phillips
400 W. Capitol Ave., Suite 1224
Little Rock, AR 72201

Andrew Jones
c/o Sprint
8 140 Ward Parkway, 5E
Kansas City, MO 641 14

R. Christopher Lawson
Friday, Eldredge & Clark
400 W. Capitol, Suite 2000
Little Rock, AR 72201



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