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Tariffs contain the rates, terms and conditions of certain services provided by telecommunications carriers.  The most common tariff filed at the FCC is for interstate local access service.  These tariffs are filed by local exchange carriers, or LECs.

Long-distance companies and others pay the rates set out in these tariffs to LECs for access to local networks at the originating and/or terminating ends of a long-distance call.  Access services include:

  • Switched access, used primarily for long-distance calls originating and/or terminating over a standard phone line.
  • Special access, a dedicated line provided by a local phone company to a customer, which could be a long-distance company, for the customer’s exclusive use.
  • Access tariffs may also include rates and conditions for services that include DSL from certain carriers, packet-switched services, long-distance directory assistance access and other services.

Carriers do not file tariffs for local and intrastate service with the FCC, because the FCC’s regulations govern only interstate and international services.  Except in very limited circumstances, long-distance companies are not permitted to file tariffs for long-distance service because the FCC has determined that the long-distance market is competitive.  Like long-distance service, many broadband services have been detariffed.  Tariffs are optional for competitive LECs, but they may not file tariffs for switched access if the price does not comply with benchmark rules.

Tariffs must be just and reasonable and may not be unreasonably discriminatory under Sections 201(a) and 202(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

Tariff Investigations

The FCC may investigate any tariff before or after it becomes effective.  Investigations can be on the FCC’s own initiative or in response to a complaint.
Tariffs are typically filed under a process that gives the public 15 days’ notice on proposed price increases and seven days’ notice on proposed price reductions.  Any member of the public may file comments during the time allowed under the rules.  Tariffs filed under this process are “deemed lawful,” meaning that if an investigation subsequent to the effective date shows that tariffs are unlawful, the carrier is only liable prospectively.

Part 61 of the FCC’s rules detail other possible notice periods under which carriers can file tariffs, as well all other rules governing tariffs.  Tariffs are administered by the Pricing Policy Division.

How to Cancel a Tariff

In order to minimize their costs, non-dominant carriers may cancel several tariffs or revise several tariffs under one cover letter with the payment of one filing fee provided that each tariff has the same Issuing Carrier name and the Issue Date is identical for each tariff.

Non-dominant interexchange carriers filing on their own behalf may use the following examples as references for how to cancel their tariff(s):

Organizations that file tariffs on behalf of multiple non-dominant carriers may request a waiver of applicable filing rules so that they may cancel the tariff(s) of multiple non-dominant carriers or file revisions to the tariff(s) of multiple non-dominant carriers under one Consolidated Cover Letter with the payment of one filing fee, provided that all the tariffs have the same Issue Date.

Waiver of the applicable filing rules for this purpose must be requested by filing an Application for Special Permission, including the applicable filing fee. Organizations are reminded that they must file the Consolidated Application for Special Permission and obtain approval prior to filing the Consolidated Cover Letter. Organizations filing on behalf of multiple non-dominant interexchange carriers may use the following examples as references for how to cancel multiple tariffs.

Non-dominant interexchange carriers are reminded that all tariff filings (not Applications for Special Permission) must be made on either a 3 1/2 inch diskette or CD-ROM containing the complete tariff including the revised material. Applications for Special Permission must be submitted in paper format.

Detariffing Information

Effective July 31, 2000, all non-dominant carriers were required to cancel (detariff) their interexchange services and thereafter provide their domestic interstate interexchange services on a non-tariffed basis. For more details about mandatory detariffing and the limited use of permissive tariffing, click here.

Additional Information:

  1. Public Notice
  2. Order
  3. List of Detariffing Orders

No later than January 28, 2002, all non-dominant carriers must cancel (detariff) their international interexchange tariffs and thereafter provide their international interexchange services on a non-tariffed basis. During the interim transition period from April 28, 2001 - January 28, 2002, carriers may file new or revised tariffs for mass market international interexchange services. Carriers may not file new or revised contract tariffs or tariffs for other long term international service arrangements. For more details about mandatory detariffing and the limited use of permissive tariffing, click here.

Additional Information:

  1. Public Notice
  2. News Release

CLECs may file tariffs or offer service on a permissively detariffed basis even on a detariffed basis, the rates and regulations are still subject to 201(b) and 202(a) of the Act. Switched access rates are subject to a benchmark rate requirement, also Truth-in-Billing precepts may apply.

Additional Information:

  1. Truth-in-Billing
  2. CLEC Access Information
  3. Order
Electronic Tariff Filing System (ETFS)

The Electronic Tariff Filing System (ETFS) is a web-based system through which incumbent LECs must submit official tariffs and associated supporting materials to the FCC.  The public may also use ETFS to view these tariffs and documents.


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