As it turns out, all five members of the FCC signed off on a letter encouraging carriers to reach negotiated settlements on UNE terms and conditions. While ILECs such as Bell South, SBC and Qwest have made overtures recently to try and reach a negotiated settlement, those efforts have been given a quick brush-off by CLECs. We'll know by Tuesday's deadline how the FCC's unprecedented move will play out. But for the time being, my enthusiasm in seeing Chairman Powell reach common ground with Commisioner Martin is tempered by Commissioner Copps' response to the letter he had just signed: "[Consumers] will rightfully feel left out in the cold if these negotiations lead only to higher phone rates." Hardly a statement that will incentivize the CLECs to negotiate in good faith.
On the state side, we already know that a number of commissioners support the FCC's move. FERUP, the newly-anointed "Federation for Economically Rational Utility Policy," released a statement today applauding the Commission. Here's the link: FERUP March 31 PR.doc