FCC Shares Jurisdiction with States for Phone Matter

The members of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PPUC) and Third Circuit_LS_option1_0Core Communications, Inc., appealed a District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of AT&T Corp.  Core billed AT&T for terminating phone calls from AT&T’s customers to Core’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) customers from 2004 to 2009.  When AT&T refused to pay, Core filed a complaint with the PPUC, which ruled in Core’s favor.  AT&T then filed suit in federal court seeking an injunction on the ground that the PPUC lacked jurisdiction over ISP-bound traffic because such traffic is the exclusive province of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

After review of the matter, the Third Circuit found that the FCC’s jurisdiction over local ISP-bound traffic was not exclusive and the PPUC orders did not conflict with federal law.  The Court found that because some of the calls were intrastate as well as interstate, the jurisdiction was mixed between the FCC and the PPUC.

As such, the Court vacated the District Court’s order and remanded this case for entry of judgment in favor of Core and the members of the PPUC.

AT&T Corp v. Core Communications Inc., No. 14-1499 (3d Cir. 2015). Opinion filed November 25, 2015.

If you or your business have questions regarding telecommunications law, communications law, computer law, or public utility law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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