A fearless prediction: the next acronym obsession for the telecom world will be one that never left-- Total Element Long Run Incremental Cost, or TELRIC. Comments in the FCC TELRIC NPRM are due next week. TELRIC, for the lucky uninitiates, is the forward-looking cost methodology prescribed by the FCC to the states in the pricing of unbundled network elements (UNEs). [Interesting, huh?]
As a general matter, the forces will line up exactly as they did in the Triennial Review. The IXCs (AT&T, MCI) will support TELRIC, along with NARUC. The RBOCs will oppose it. Facilities-based CLECs will be of two minds: they like lower loop costs under TELRIC, but they don't want the rates so low that they devalue the CLECs' own assets. Get ready for Triennial Review redux.
I will have more to say about TELRIC next week. In the coming months, TELRIC will join VoIP as the acronym for telecom geeks to talk about.
A preliminary prediction? Though it should do more because TELRIC is the main problem in the current unbundling regime, the FCC will end up tinkering around the edges to raise wholesale rates a bit on the margin. The reliance interests are again too strong for the FCC to make any dramatic moves.