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40 Infrastructure 1 (2000-2001)

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VOL. 39, NO. 4 & VOL. 40, NO. 1 SUMMER/FALL 2000

Federal legislation
and state commission
Virginia calls
time out
B$y Richard D. Gatty and
Kristina Beard
T         lie Virginia State Corporation Comiimission (Virginia SCC) has recently
bCgu1n to decline to arbitrate disputes over interconnection agreements
despite the fact that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (CtheActor
the 1996 Act) I expressly grants such regulatory atithoritry The Virginia
SCC's refusal ariscs as a result of a decision by a federal district court in Virginia -
GTE v. icgtnhla State Corporalton Commission - which held that the Virginia SCC
is not Inmune from suit in fedenl court for actions taken under the Act.
The Virginia SCC's position regarding the implementation of tile Act raises signifi-
cant questions with regard. to the efficacy of the Act's application to local telephone
markets in Virginia. Unless directly addressed, similar governmental inlmunity issues
will likely also) plague any potential electric industry restructuring legislation.
Structure of the 1996 act and why it raises a controversy about sovereign Immunity
The controversy over the existence of sovereign immunity under the Act essen-
tially ;rises front its structure. The 1996 Act - passed by Congress as part of Con-
gress' effort to remove obstacles to competition ind entry hy new competitors in
local telephone markets - requires Incumbent local exclhange carriers (LECs) to
share their local netvork with cumpexitors. This sharing can he accomplished in
one of three ways: Incumbent LIECs can agree to allow competing LEC's (CI.ECs) to
interconnect their facilities with the incumlbent's existing local network; CLLCs
may lease elements of existing networks; or CI.ECs may pIurchaise the Incumbent
LEC's services at wholesale ltes, for resale to retail customers. &',' 1996 Act, S 251.

Aug. 5-7, 2001
See page 4for
more Information.
0 A four-corners
approach: Reciprocal
dial-up connections
to the Internet should
be ellinhwted
E There is no
* free ride: Reciprocal
compensation shodd
be paid for Internet-
bound calls
0 Utility nonregulated
afffillate vs. private
huiustry - the
regulatory mandate

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