United States Telecom Ass'n v. F.C.C., No. 00-1012.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtWilliams
Citation359 F.3d 554
PartiesUNITED STATES TELECOM ASSOCIATION, Petitioner, v. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and United States of America, Respondents. Bell Atlantic Telephone Companies, et al., Intervenors.
Decision Date02 March 2004
Docket NumberNo. 03-1313.,No. 03-1326.,No. 03-1348.,No. 03-1329.,No. 03-1347.,No. 03-1330.,No. 03-1316.,No. 03-1372.,No. 03-1342.,No. 03-1424.,No. 03-1331.,No. 03-1311.,No. 00-1025.,No. 03-1360.,No. 03-1400.,No. 03-1395.,No. 03-1385.,No. 01-1075.,No. 03-1317.,No. 03-1339.,No. 03-1393.,No. 03-1320.,No. 03-1401.,No. 03-1338.,No. 01-1102.,No. 03-1319.,No. 03-1391.,No. 03-1310.,No. 00-1012.,No. 03-1327.,No. 03-1318.,No. 03-1315.,No. 03-1394.,No. 01-1103.,No. 03-1325.,No. 03-1324.,No. 03-1373.,No. 00-1015.,No. 03-1442.,No. 03-1312.,No. 03-1314.,No. 03-1328.
359 F.3d 554
UNITED STATES TELECOM ASSOCIATION, Petitioner,
v.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and United States of America, Respondents.

Page 555

Bell Atlantic Telephone Companies, et al., Intervenors.
No. 00-1012.
No. 00-1015.
No. 00-1025.
No. 01-1075.
No. 01-1102.
No. 01-1103.
No. 03-1310.
No. 03-1311.
No. 03-1312.
No. 03-1313.
No. 03-1314.
No. 03-1315.
No. 03-1316.
No. 03-1317.
No. 03-1318.
No. 03-1319.
No. 03-1320.
No. 03-1324.
No. 03-1325.
No. 03-1326.
No. 03-1327.
No. 03-1328.
No. 03-1329.
No. 03-1330.
No. 03-1331.
No. 03-1338.
No. 03-1339.
No. 03-1342.
No. 03-1347.
No. 03-1348.
No. 03-1360.
No. 03-1372.
No. 03-1373.
No. 03-1385.
No. 03-1391.
No. 03-1393.
No. 03-1394.
No. 03-1395.
No. 03-1400.
No. 03-1401.
No. 03-1424.
No. 03-1442.
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.
Argued January 28, 2004.
Decided March 2, 2004.

Page 556

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Page 558

On Petitions for Writ of Mandamus and for Review of an Order of the Federal Communications Commission.

Michael K. Kellogg argued the cause for ILEC petitioners. With him on the briefs were Mark L. Evans, Sean A. Lev, Colin S. Stretch, Michael T. McMenamin, James D. Ellis, Paul K. Mancini, Joseph E. Cosgrove, Jr., Gary L. Phillips, James P. Lamoureux, Robert B. McKenna, Charles R. Morgan, James G. Harralson, William P. Barr, Michael E. Glover, and Edward Shakin. Donna M. Epps, Daniel L. Poole, John H. Harwood II, William R. Richardson,

Page 559

Jr., and Matthew R. Sutherland entered appearances.

Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. and Christopher J. Wright argued the cause for CLEC petitioners. With them on the briefs were Mark D. Schneider, Marc A. Goldman, Michael B. DeSanctis, William Single IV, Jeffrey A. Rackow, David W. Carpenter, David L. Lawson, C. Frederick Beckner III, Andrew D. Lipman, Russell M. Blau, Richard M. Rindler, Patrick J. Donovan, Harisha J. Bastiampillai, Dennis D. Ahlers, Steven A. Augustino, Albert H. Kramer, Jonathan E. Canis, Robert J. Aamoth, Carl S. Nadler, Adelia S. Borrasca, Jason D. Oxman, Timothy J. Simeone, Charles C. Hunter, Catherine M. Hannan, Genevieve Morelli, Glenn B. Manishin, Jonathan E. Canis, Teresa K. Gaugler, Jonathan Jacob Nadler, and Jonathan D. Lee. Jennifer M. Kashatus, Paul J. Rebey, Eric J. Branfman, Joshua M. Bobeck, and Angela M. Simpson entered appearances.

James Bradford Ramsay argued the cause for State petitioners. With him on the briefs were Grace Delos Reyes, Jonathan Feinberg, John L. Favreau, John C. Graham, Helen M. Mickiewicz, Gretchen T. Dumas, Maryanne Reynolds Martin, Christopher C. Kempley, Maureen A. Scott, Michael A. Cox, Attorney General, Attorney General's Office of the State of Michigan, Thomas L. Casey, Solicitor General, and David A. Voges and Michael Nickerson, Assistant Attorney Generals.

David C. Bergmann, Irwin A. Popowsky, Philip F. McClelland, Patricia A. Smith, Billy Jack Gregg, and F. Anne Ross were on the briefs for petitioner National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates.

John E. Ingle, Deputy Associate General Counsel, Federal Communications Commission, and James M. Carr, Counsel, argued the cause for respondents. With them on the brief were R. Hewitt Pate, Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Catherine G. O'Sullivan and Nancy C. Garrison, Attorneys, John A. Rogovin, General Counsel, Federal Communications Commission, and Laurence N. Bourne, Joel Marcus and Christopher L. Killion, Counsel. Andrea Limmer, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, and Lisa S. Gelb, Counsel, Federal Communications Commission, entered appearances.

Michael K. Kellogg argued the cause for ILEC intervenors and Catena Networks, Inc. in support of respondents. With him on the brief were Mark L. Evans, Aaron M. Panner, Michael T. McMenamin, James D. Ellis, Paul K. Mancini, Joseph E. Cosgrove, Jr., Gary L. Phillips, James P. Lamoureux, Robert B. McKenna, Charles R. Morgan, James G. Harralson, William P. Barr, Michael E. Glover, Edward Shakin, and Stephen L. Goodman. Alfred G. Richter, Hope E. Thurrott, Lawrence E. Sarjeant, and Jonathan E. Canis entered appearances.

David W. Carpenter argued the cause for CLEC intervenors in support of respondents. With him on the brief were Donald B. Verilli, Jr., Mark D. Schneider, Marc A. Goldman, Michael B. DeSanctis, William Single IV, Jeffrey A. Rackow, David L. Lawson, C. Frederick Beckner III, Teresa K. Gaugler, Charles C. Hunter, Catherine M. Hannan, Andrew D. Lipman, Russell M. Blau, Richard M. Rindler, Patrick J. Donovan, Harisha J. Bastiampillai, Albert H. Kramer, Jonathan D. Lee, Carl S. Nadler, Adelia S. Borrasca, Janson D. Oxman, Robert J. Aamoth, Genevieve Morelli, John T. Nakahata, Sara F. Leibman, John J. Heitmann, Jennifer M. Kashatus, Christopher J. Wright, and Timothy J. Simeone. Roy E. Hoffinger, Charles J.

Page 560

Cooper, Hamish P. Hume, and Richard J. Metzger entered appearances.

Jonathan Feinberg, John L. Favreau, John C. Graham, Helen M. Mickiewicz, Gretchen T. Dumas, Maryanne Reynolds Martin, Christopher C. Kempley, Maureen A. Scott, Michael A. Cox, Attorney General, Attorney General's Office of the State of Michigan, Thomas L. Casey, Solicitor General, David A. Voges and Michael Nickerson, Assistant Attorney Generals, James Bradford Ramsay, and Grace Delos Reyes were on the brief for State intervenors in support of respondents.

Laura H. Phillips, Douglas G. Bonner, Michael F. McBride, Thomas J. Sugrue, Howard J. Symons, Sara F. Leibman, and Douglas I. Brandon were on the brief of Wireless intervenors in support of respondent. Brian A. Coleman entered an appearance.

Before: EDWARDS and RANDOLPH, Circuit Judges, and WILLIAMS, Senior Circuit Judge.

Opinion for the Court filed by Senior Circuit Judge WILLIAMS.

 Table of Contents
                 I. Legal Background ..................................................................561
                 II. ILEC Objections ...................................................................564
                 A. Unbundling of Mass Market Switches ............................................564
                 1. Subdelegation of § 251(d)(2) impairment determinations to state
                 commissions .............................................................565
                 2. Impairment in provision of mass market switching ...........................568
                 3. The Commission's definition of "impairment" ................................571
                 B. Unbundling of High-Capacity Dedicated Transport Facilities ....................573
                 1. Unlawfulness of the delegation to the states and the national
                 impairment finding .......................................................573
                 2. Remaining dedicated transport issues .......................................574
                 a. Route-specific analysis of dedicated transport .........................574
                 b. Wireless providers' access to unbundled dedicated transport ............575
                 C. Network Modification Requirements .............................................577
                III. CLEC Objections ...................................................................578
                 A. Unbundling of Broadband Loops .................................................578
                 1. Hybrid loops ...............................................................578
                 2. Fiber-to-the-home ("FTTH") loops ...........................................583
                 3. Line sharing ...............................................................584
                 B. Exclusion of "Entrance Facilities" ............................................585
                 C. Unbundling of Enterprise Switches .............................................586
                 D. Unbundling of Call-Related Databases and Signaling Systems ....................587
                 E. Unbundling of Shared Transport Facilities .....................................588
                 F. Section 271 Pricing and Combination Rules .....................................588
                 IV. Unbundling of Enhanced Extended Links ("EELs") ....................................590
                 A. The Qualifying Service/Non-Qualifying Service Distinction .....................591
                 B. The EEL Eligibility Criteria ..................................................591
                 V. Miscellaneous ......................................................................593
                 A. NASUCA's Standing .............................................................593
                 B. Ripeness of the State Preemption Claims .......................................594
                 VI. Conclusion ........................................................................594
                

Page 561

WILLIAMS, Senior Circuit Judge:


The Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub.L. 104-104, 110 Stat. 56, codified at 47 U.S.C. § 151 et seq. (the "Act"), sought to foster a competitive market in telecommunications. To enable new firms to enter the field despite the advantages of the incumbent local exchange carriers ("ILECs"), the Act gave the Federal Communications Commission broad powers to require ILECs to make "network elements" available to other telecommunications carriers, id. §§ 251(c)(3),(d), most importantly the competitive local exchange carriers ("CLECs"). The most obvious candidates for such obligatory provision were the copper wire loops historically used to carry telephone service over the "last mile" into users' homes. But Congress left to the Commission the choice of elements to be "unbundled," specifying that in doing so it was to

consider, at a minimum, whether ... the failure to provide access to such network elements would impair the ability of the telecommunications carrier seeking access to provide the services that it seeks to offer.

Id. § 251(d)(2) (emphasis added).

The Act became effective on February 8, 1996, a little more than eight years ago. Twice since then the courts have faulted the Commission's efforts to identify the elements to be unbundled. The Supreme Court invalidated the first effort in AT&T Corp. v. Iowa Utilities Board, 525 U.S. 366, 389-90, 119 S.Ct. 721, 734, 142 L.Ed.2d 835 (1999) ("AT&T"). We invalidated much of the second effort (including separately adopted...

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149 practice notes
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