The Pricing Policy Division is responsible for administering the provisions of the Communications Act requiring that the charges, practices, classifications, and regulations of common carriers providing interstate and foreign services are just and reasonable. The Division develops competitive pricing policies and rules for the retail and wholesale interstate rates charged by price-cap carriers and rate-of-return carriers; the intercarrier compensation rates that carriers charge each other; and the rates for resale of local exchange services, unbundled network elements and interconnection that incumbent carriers charge competitive carriers. The Division also ensures compliance with Commission pricing rules and conducts formal or informal investigations of carrier charges, practices, classifications and regulations, and recommends appropriate action. The Division also develops rules and polices relating to the Uniform System of Accounts, affiliate transactions, regulated/non-regulated cost allocations, and depreciation rates. In conjunction with the Competition Policy Division, this Division reviews applications from Bell operating companies for authority to provide in-region interLATA services.
In the Access Charge Reform Fifth Report and Order, the Commission established the parameters for granting flexibility in the pricing of interstate access services by incumbent local exchange carriers (LECs) subject to price cap regulation. The pricing flexibility framework the Commission adopted in the Access Charge Reform Fifth Report and Order is designed to grant greater flexibility to price cap LECs as competition develops, while ensuring that: (1) price cap LECs do not use pricing flexibility to deter efficient entry or engage in exclusionary pricing behavior; and (2) price cap LECs do not increase rates to unreasonable levels for customers that lack competitive alternatives. In addition, the reforms were designed to facilitate the removal of services from price cap regulation as competition develops in the marketplace, without imposing undue administrative burdens on the Commission or the industry.
The Wireline Competition Bureau has released several orders granting petitions of price cap LECs seeking pricing flexibility in accordance with the rules adopted in the Access Charge Reform Fifth Report and Order.
CALLS MADE FROM PAYPHONES
Section 276 of the Act directs the Commission to take a number of actions to promote competition among payphone services and the widespread deployment of payphone services to the general public. The FCC has taken steps also to ensure fair compensation to payphone service providers for each and every call placed from payphones.
A payphone service provider is the person or entity who owns the payphone instrument, such as the local telephone company, an independent company, or the owner of the premises where the payphone is located. [Consumer Fact Sheet]