FCC to face appeal over consumer protection against copper retirement

Monday 11 December 2017 | 09:28 CET | News

A groups of NGOs has filed an appeal against the FCC's decision in November to remove some of the obligations for operators to notify customers when they stop servicing copper lines in the US. The groups Public Knowledge, the Greenlining Institute, the Utility Reform Network and the National Association of State Utility Advocates filed the petition for review with the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals and asked the court to reverse the FCC's order and restore consumer protections. 

Last month’s order reversed rules the FCC adopted in 2015 to protect individuals and communities still dependent on legacy copper lines as telephone companies retire them. The FCC eliminated the ability of communities to demand that operators maintain copper lines until those lines are replaced with an adequate and comparable service, rather than simply abandoning them (called 'de facto retirement'). 

The FCC also eliminated the 'functional test', which required operators to support essential non-voice services, such as alarm systems, medical monitors, and small business services, during the transition to fibre. 

Finally, the FCC eliminated the 180-day notice requirement for individuals and business customers, making it much more difficult for those still relying on copper lines to minimize the cost and disruption of finding adequate replacement services, according to the appeal. 

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