Teleport Communications America has taken Level 3 Communications, CenturyLink and Broadwing Communications to civil court over unpaid tariffs. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeks more than $3 million for Teleport, as well as “declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief.”
Teleport says the defendants refused to pay for originating switched access services, according to the applicable tariffed and service guide rates, as required by federal and state law.
Switched access services are a communications path between the end-user and the access customer, through TCG’s facilities. Teleport wants the court to declare the three carriers are in violation of its FCC tariff No. 2 and 18 state tariffs. TCG also wants the court to prevent the carriers from committing further violations and order them to compensate TCG for damages, “including the recovery of unpaid access charges and applicable late payment charges.”
TC Systems is a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) and provides services in Massachusetts and New York. Teleport is a CLEC that provides access services in Arizona, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
Level 3, Broadwing and CenturyLink are common carriers that provide telecom services in TCG’s territory. In addition to helping long-distance carriers originate and terminate their long-distance calls, TCG also helps wireless carriers route their calls to long-distance carriers.
This case involves 8YY Service. “8YY Service is an outbound toll-free service that allows a calling party to make a long-distance call to a toll-free number with charges billed to the called party number, and therefore without an associated charge to the calling party,” says Teleport in its complaint. TCG affiliate AT&T Mobility transports its customers’ calls to TCG. TCG then queries an 8YY database to determine which carrier to route the call to. TCG is also the transmission path between AT&T Mobility and the long-distance carrier’s network, so the long-distance provider can transport the call to its 8YY customer.
TCG tells the court it’s been “damaged in an amount to be determined by this court, including but not limited to damages for non-payment of originating switched access service provided to defendants in the base amount of $3,185,454.16, as well as late payment charges.” If Level 3, CenturyLink and Broadwing “are allowed to continue avoiding paying originating switched access charges,” TCG tells the court, it will be forced to “initiate multiple legal proceedings” against them. The point would be to determine the amount of charges they should have paid TCG on a forward-going basis, stated the carrier.
Level 3, CenturyLink and Broadwing have not yet answered the complaint. The case is TC Systems, Inc. et al v. Level 3 Communications, LLC et al, case # 1:2019cv09364.
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
October 16, 2019