Telecommunications

The firm’s telecommunications practice began in 1988 – four years after AT&T’s divestiture of the Bell Operating Companies (BOCs) resulting from Judge Greene’s Modified Final Judgment in United States v. American Telephone & Telegraph Co., 552 F. Supp. 131 (D.D.C., 1982), and within two years following the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) authorization of the first competitive telecommunications services.  After successfully concluding contract litigation involving competitive public communications and payphones, the firm was retained by the Georgia Public Communications Association (GPCA) on regulatory matters before the Georgia Public Service Commission.  GPCA was the first of several trade associations with which the firm would develop relationships over the coming years.  These associations were created by entrepreneurs who developed business plans to provide quality, marked-based and priced services in direct competition with the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs).  These early trade association start-ups faced significant challenges as they navigated their business plans through regulatory and political environments that strongly favored the entrenched RBOCs. 

Since 1988, the firm’s clients have ranged the telecommunications spectrum, large and small, providing a wide array of diverse services.  The firm has represented:

  • Public communications providers
  • Local service resellers
  • Long distance companies
  • Institutional service providers
  • Operator service providers
  • Competitive directory publishers
  • Competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs)
  • Independent local exchange carriers

The firm has participated in the following telecommunications developments in Georgia:

  • Implementation of reasonable and significantly reduced tariffs for a number of competitive services, i.e., payphone providers, resellers, ITS providers and CLECs, by which competitive providers obtained necessary services from BellSouth on a cost based basis;
  • Authorization of debit card telecommunications services in Georgia;
  • Implementation of the PSC’s interim certification process for telecommunications service providers;
  • Authorization of inmate telecommunications services in Georgia;
  • Implementation of competitive directory tariffs to allow publication of competitive telephone directories in Georgia;
  • Implementation of intra-LATA competition in Georgia;
  • Implementation of SB 137, Georgia’s Telecommunications and Competition Development Act of 1995, which authorized local service competition, along with all implementing dockets required to develop a competitive local telecommunications market in Georgia;
  • Implementation of the federal telecommunications Act of 1996;
  • Implementation of the certification process to allow municipalities to provide telecommunications services;
  • Litigation involving the provision and pricing of unbundled network elements;
  • Implementation of Georgia’s first policies and procedures to allow the provision of competitive local services in multi-dwelling environments;
  • Implementation of Georgia’s Competitive Emerging Communications Technologies Act of 2006;
  • Opposition to the ATT/BellSouth merger in 2006; and
  • Preservation for high-cost support to rural local exchange carriers through Georgia’s Universal Access Fund

Today, the firm is participating in implementation of HB 168, Georgia’s most recent legislative enactment affecting telecommunications.  HB 168 affects intrastate access charges and universal service.