The FCC Friday waived rules to ensure the public can access conference call providers Zoom Video Communications and Cisco WebEx. The waiver of the agency’s access arbitrage rules was granted to Inteliquent, a telecommunications company that carries traffic for two of the nation’s largest conference calling providers.
Without the waiver, the massive increase in conference calls made by consumers using Zoom and WebEx to work and attend classes from home during the COVID-19 pandemic would likely result in Inteliquent being deemed an “access-stimulating” carrier under the FCC’s rules. That would trigger significant cost increases for Inteliquent that would impede its ability to serve these conference calling companies.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says the pandemic has fundamentally changed our daily lives. “Americans across the country—me included—have transitioned to teleworking, and their kids have transitioned to remote learning. Inteliquent’s customers enable these things to happen by providing conference calling platforms. Given the sharp increase in conference calling traffic, we’ve granted a waiver to Inteliquent so it can continue to provide service to these platforms, specifically by avoiding unintended, negative financial consequences under our access arbitrage rules,” he explained. “Those rules targeted companies that have been exploiting our intercarrier compensation system by generating inflated call volumes to pad their bottom lines. They weren’t intended to ensnare companies that, during a national emergency, are experiencing unprecedented call volumes that would push them out of compliance without a waiver.”
The temporary waiver is based on circumstances specific to Inteliquent. It will expire on June 1, and Inteliquent may seek a renewal if necessary.
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