FCC FINES SBC $88,000 FOR NOT COMPLYING WITH MERGER CONDITIONS
The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed an $88,000 fine against SBC Communications Inc., the parent company of Pacific Bell, Southwestern Bell, Southern New England Telecommunications, and Ameritech Corp. SBC violated reporting requirements that the Commission imposed pursuant to its approval of the merger application of SBC and Ameritech.
In the SBC/Ameritech merger order, the commission required SBC to file detailed monthly reports reflecting its performance in responding to requests for facilities and services from its rivals and end-user customers. An audit report issued by SBC’s independent auditor, along with the underlying data in SBC’s monthly filings, revealed that SBC used incorrect benchmarks and excluded key data from the reports for a period of up to 13 months.
The bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture relating to this matter on Dec. 20. In its forfeiture order announced March 15, the bureau rejected several defenses declared by SBC and imposed the full amount of the fine it proposed in December. In imposing the fine, the Bureau noted that the Commission’s ability to detect possible discriminatory conduct by SBC against its competitors depends on SBC’s strict compliance with the approved terms and conditions of the Carrier-to-Carrier Performance Plan.
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