North Carolina Utilities Commission v. F.C.C., Nos. 74--1220

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtHASTIE; WIDENER
Citation537 F.2d 787
PartiesThe NORTH CAROLINA UTILITIES COMMISSION, Petitioner, Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commission, Intervenor, v. The FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and the United States of America, Respondents, International Telephone and Telegraph Communications, et al., Intervenors. CAROLINA TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY and United Telephone Company of theCarolinas, Inc., Petitioners, v. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and the United States of America,Respondent, National Retail Merchants Association, Inc., and the North AmericaTelephone Association, Intervenors. AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY and Associated Bell System Companies, Petitioners, v. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and the United States of America,Respondents, National Retail Merchants Association, et al., Inc., Intervenors. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REGULATORY UTILITY COMMISSIONERS, Petitioner, v. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and United States of America, Respondents, and Southern Pacific Communications Company et al., Intervenors. UNITED STATES INDEPENDENT TELEPHONE ASSOCIATION, Petitioner, v. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, and United States of America, Respondents, and Southern Pacific Communications Company et al., Intervenors. CONTINENTAL TELEPHONE CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and United States of America, Respondents,MCI Telecommunications Corp., et al., Intervenors.
Decision Date14 April 1976
Docket Number74--1449,74--1515 and 74--1516,74--1390,74--1514,Nos. 74--1220

Page 787

537 F.2d 787
The NORTH CAROLINA UTILITIES COMMISSION, Petitioner,
Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility
Commission, Intervenor,
v.
The FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and the United States
of America, Respondents, International Telephone
and Telegraph Communications, et al.,
Intervenors.
CAROLINA TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY and United
Telephone Company of theCarolinas, Inc., Petitioners,
v.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and the United States of
America,Respondent, National Retail Merchants
Association, Inc., and the North
AmericaTelephone Association,
Intervenors.
AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY and Associated Bell
System Companies, Petitioners,
v.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and the United States of
America,Respondents, National Retail Merchants
Association, et al., Inc., Intervenors.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REGULATORY UTILITY COMMISSIONERS, Petitioner,
v.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and United States of
America, Respondents,
and
Southern Pacific Communications Company et al., Intervenors.
UNITED STATES INDEPENDENT TELEPHONE ASSOCIATION, Petitioner,
v.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, and United States of
America, Respondents,
and
Southern Pacific Communications Company et al., Intervenors.
CONTINENTAL TELEPHONE CORPORATION, Petitioner,
v.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and United States of
America, Respondents,MCI Telecommunications Corp.,
et al., Intervenors.
Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fourth Circuit.
Argued Sept. 22, 1975.
Decided April 14, 1976.

Page 789

Edward B. Hipp, Raleigh, N.C. (Maurice W. Horne and Jerry B. Fruitt, Raleigh, N.C., on brief), for petitioner North Carolina Utilities Commission in No. 74--1220.

Carl E. Sanders, Augusta, Ga., and (Norman L. Underwood, Atlanta, Ga., on brief), for intervenor Southeastern Ass'n of Regulatory Utility Com'rs in No. 74--1220.

Thomas J. O'Reilly, Washington, D.C. (Chadbourne, Parke, Whiteside & Wolff, Washington, D.C., on brief), for petitioner U.S. Independent Tel. Ass'n in No. 74--1515.

Warren E. Baker, Westwood, Kan., Richard J. Croker, Kansas City, Mo., and Carolyn C. Hill, Washington, D.C., on brief, for petitioners Carolina Tel. & Tel. Co. and United Tel. Co. of the Carolinas, Inc. in No. 74--1390.

George D. Gibson, John W. Riely, Richmond, Va., John H. Shenefield, Washington, D.C., Gary V. McGowan, Richmond, Va., F. Mark Garlinghouse, Harold J. Cohen, New York City, charles Ryan, Alfred C. Partoll, New York City, Richard Partricdge, Albuquerque, N.M., Hunton, Williams, Gay & Gibson, Washington, D.C., on brief, for petitioners The Bell System Companies in No. 74--1449.

Irwin Schneiderman, New York City, Donald J. Mulvihill, Washington, D.C., Laurence T. Sorkin, Joel C. Balsam, Michael J. Klosk, Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, New York City, on brief, for petitioner Continental Tel. Corp. in No. 74--1516.

Joseph A. Marino, Associate Gen. Counsel, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C. (Thomas E. Kauper, Asst. Atty. Gen., Washington, D.C., Seymour H. Dussman, Atty., Ashton R. Hardy, Gen. Counsel, John E. Ingle, Counsel, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., on brief), for respondent F.C.C. in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515, and 74--1516.

Edwin B. Spievack, (Victor J. Toth, Cohn & Marks, Keller & Heckman, Washington, D.C., on brief), for intervenors Telerent Leasing Corp., North American Tel. Ass'n, and others, in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

Charles R. Cutler, Washington, D.C. (John L. Bartlett, John B. Wyss, Kirkland, Ellis & Rowe, Washington, D.C., on brief), for intervenors Aeronautical Radio, Inc. in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74-1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

James E. Landry, Washington, D.C., on brief, for intervenors Air Transport Ass'n of America in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

David Anderson (J. Roger Wollenberg, William T. Lake, Neil J. King, Neal M. Goldberg, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Washington, D.C., J. Gordon Walter, New York City, on brief), for intervenor International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

Kevin H. Cassidy, James T. Roche, and John M. Scorce, Vienna, Va., on brief, for intervenor Data Transmission Co. in No. 74--1220.

Page 790

William H. Borghesani, Jr., Keller & Heckman, Washington, D.C., on brief, for intervenor National Retail Merchants Ass'n, Inc. in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

Joseph M. Kittner, Edward P. Taptich, McKenna, Wilkinson & Kittner, John S. Voorhees, Howrey, Simon, Baker & Murchison, Washington, D.C., on brief, for intervenor-respondent Computer and Business Equipment Manufacturers Ass'n (CBEMA) in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

Charles M. Meehan, Washington, D.C., on brief, for intervenor Utilities Telecommunications Council in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

Robert E. McKee, New York City, David M. Clark, Clark, Tanner & Williams, Greensboro, N.C., on brief, for intervenor International Tel. & Tel. Corp. in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

Herbert E. Marks, Stephen R. Bell, Wilkinson, Cargun & Barker, Washington, D.C., on brief, for intervenor Remote Processing Services Section of Ass'n of Data Processing Service Organizations, Inc. in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

Joseph E. Keller, Wayne V. Black, Keller & Heckman, Washington, D.C., on brief for intervenor Central Committee on Telecommunications of American Petroleum Institute in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

Michael H. Bader, Washington, D.C., Kenneth A. Cox, William J. Byrnes, John Wells King, haley, Bader & Potts, Washington, D.C., on brief, for intervenor MCI Telecommunications Corp. in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

Herbert E. Forrest, Steptoe & Johnson, Thormund A. Miller and Richard S. Kopf, Washington, D.C., on brief for intervenor Southern Pacific Communications Co. in Nos. 74--1220, 74--1390, 74--1449, 74--1514, 74--1515 and 74--1516.

Before HASTIE * and TUTTLE **, Senior Circuit Judges, and WIDENER, Circuit Judge.

HASTIE, Senior Circuit Judge.

This controversy began with a petition in which several manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment asked the Federal Communications Commission (hereinafter, FCC or the Commission) to rule that state regulatory agencies are precluded from restricting or regulating the interconnection of customer-provided equipment to the customer's individual subscriber station and line in any way that conflicts with the Commission's regulation of the same subject matter. The petition recited that the North Carolina Utilities Commission had given public notice of a proposed rule to prohibit such connection of customer-provided equipment in that state, except for use exclusively with facilities separate from those used in intrastate communication. 1 It also was alleged that the Attorney General of Nebraska had advised the Nebraska Public Service Commission that rulings of FCC did not control the attachment of customer-provided equipment to telephone facilities used for intrastate communication. The same opinion stated that approval of the state regulatory authority was necessary before a motel could lawfully connect its own internal communications equipment to its telephone subscriber station.

In these circumstances the Commission utilized the proceedings on the equipment manufacturers' petitions to provide the industry, concerned state agencies and the public with a definitive declaratory ruling 2 on the extent to which it asserts

Page 791

and is exercising primary authority, upon which state agencies may not encroach, over the terms and conditions that govern the interconnection of customer-provided equipment to the subscriber's telephone terminal. After adequate notice and consideration of written or oral submissions by some 46 interested parties, the Commission issued the order that is now here for review. 3 In the Matter of Telerant Leasing Corp., et al., 1974, 45 F.C.C.2d 204.

As the agency established by the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 151, to administer the provisions of that statute, the Federal Communications Commission is empowered, in the language of section 1 of the Act, 4 to regulate interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio 'so as to make available . . . a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges . . ..' By comprehensive definition of 'communication by wire', section 3 makes it explicit that the subject matter of the Commission's jurisdiction includes 'all instrumentalities, facilities, apparatus, and services . . . incidental to . . . (interstate) transmission' by wire.

On the other hand, section 2 both restates the applicability of the Act to 'all interstate and foreign communications by wire or radio' and specifies that it shall not 'be construed to apply to or give the Commission jurisdiction with respect to '(b)(1)' . . . facilities, or regulations for or in connection with intrastate communication service . . . of any carrier . . ..'

Terminal equipment that is connected to a telephone subscriber's station and line does in fact connect with the national telephone network. Usually it is not feasible, as a matter of economics and practicality of operation, to limit the use of such equipment to either interstate or intrastate transmissions. In paragraph 26 of the decision from which these appeals have been taken, the Commission has described the underlying realities as follows:

'. . . exchange plant, particularly subscriber stations and lines, is used in common and indivisibly...

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53 practice notes
  • Litton Systems, Inc. v. American Tel. and Tel. Co., Nos. 1323-26
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 3 Febrero 1983
    ...upon the PCA requirement. See Telerent Leasing Corp., 45 F.C.C.2d 204 (1974), aff'd sub nom. North Carolina Utilities Comm'n v. FCC, 537 F.2d 787 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1027, 97 S.Ct. 651, 50 L.Ed.2d 631 (1976); AT & T-Mebane Home Telephone Co., 53 F.C.C.2d 473 (1975). It is dif......
  • Northeastern Tel. Co. v. American Tel. & Tel. Co., Civ. No. B-75-319.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • 30 Noviembre 1978
    ...for all interconnection equipment. Telerent Leasing Corp., 45 F.C.C.2d 204 (1974), aff'd sub nom. North Carolina Util. Comm'n v. FCC, 537 F.2d 787 (4th Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1027, 97 S.Ct. 651, 50 L.Ed.2d 631 The present complaint was filed in October of 1975. In November of th......
  • Essential Communications Systems, Inc. v. American Tel. & Tel. Co., No. 78-2521
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 23 Noviembre 1979
    ...denied, 14 F.C.C.2d 571 (1968). 2 In re Telerent Leasing Corp., 45 F.C.C.2d 204 (1974) Aff'd sub nom. North Carolina Util. Comm'n. v. FCC, 537 F.2d 787 (4th Cir.), Cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1027, 97 S.Ct. 651, 50 L.Ed.2d 631 (1976), Reconsideration denied, 552 F.2d 1036 (4th Cir.), Cert. denie......
  • Phonetele, Inc. v. American Tel. & Tel. Co., Nos. 77-3877
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 3 Diciembre 1981
    ...equipment, to the exclusion of state regulation. 14 This exercise of jurisdiction was affirmed in North Carolina Util. Comm'n v. FCC, 537 F.2d 787 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1027, 97 S.Ct. 651, 50 L.Ed.2d 631 II. CHALLENGES TO AT&T'S EXCLUSION OF FOREIGN ATTACHMENTS Tariffs filed wi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
53 cases
  • Litton Systems, Inc. v. American Tel. and Tel. Co., Nos. 1323-26
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 3 Febrero 1983
    ...upon the PCA requirement. See Telerent Leasing Corp., 45 F.C.C.2d 204 (1974), aff'd sub nom. North Carolina Utilities Comm'n v. FCC, 537 F.2d 787 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1027, 97 S.Ct. 651, 50 L.Ed.2d 631 (1976); AT & T-Mebane Home Telephone Co., 53 F.C.C.2d 473 (1975). It is dif......
  • Northeastern Tel. Co. v. American Tel. & Tel. Co., Civ. No. B-75-319.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • 30 Noviembre 1978
    ...for all interconnection equipment. Telerent Leasing Corp., 45 F.C.C.2d 204 (1974), aff'd sub nom. North Carolina Util. Comm'n v. FCC, 537 F.2d 787 (4th Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1027, 97 S.Ct. 651, 50 L.Ed.2d 631 The present complaint was filed in October of 1975. In November of th......
  • Essential Communications Systems, Inc. v. American Tel. & Tel. Co., No. 78-2521
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • 23 Noviembre 1979
    ...denied, 14 F.C.C.2d 571 (1968). 2 In re Telerent Leasing Corp., 45 F.C.C.2d 204 (1974) Aff'd sub nom. North Carolina Util. Comm'n. v. FCC, 537 F.2d 787 (4th Cir.), Cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1027, 97 S.Ct. 651, 50 L.Ed.2d 631 (1976), Reconsideration denied, 552 F.2d 1036 (4th Cir.), Cert. denie......
  • Mozilla Corp. v. Fed. Commc'ns Comm'n, No. 18-1051
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 1 Octubre 2019
    ...the asserted [Commission] regulation." Louisiana PSC , 476 U.S. at 375 n.4, 106 S.Ct. 1890 (citing North Carolina Utils. Comm'n v. FCC , 537 F.2d 787 (4th Cir. 1976), and North Carolina Utils. Comm'n v. FCC , 552 F.2d 1036 (4th Cir. 1977) ). And with that, the impossibility exception was bo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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