Western Radio Services v. Qwest Corp.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 03-15-2012
  • Case #: 10-35820
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Ebel for the Court; Circuit Judges Berzon and N.R. Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

Based on a new report and order from the Federal Communications Commission, when a call is originated and terminated in the same Major Trading Area it is considered local, and the involvement of an interexchange carrier does not affect the obligation of reciprocal compensation.

Western Radio Services Company (“Western”), a commercial mobile radio service provider, disputed its interconnection agreement with Qwest Corporation (“Qwest”), a local exchange carrier. Western appealed the district court’s dismissal of its claim that Qwest violated the statutory duty to negotiate in good faith and the decision affirming that the approved interconnection agreement did not violate the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Oregon Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) approved the interconnection agreement after arbitration. The PUC must address a good faith claim before such a claim is brought in a district court. Western’s first request for arbitration with the PUC failed to mention a good faith claim, and its second request was denied because the interconnection agreement from the first arbitration had been recently approved, which prevented the PUC from making decisions on subsequent petitions. Therefore, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision that Western was precluded from raising a good faith claim because it was never properly offered to the PUC first. Further, Western objected to eleven out of twelve issues in the interconnection agreement. The Ninth Circuit determined that only two of the issues did not comply with the Telecommunications Act, both of which involved the definition of “non-local traffic.” The Ninth Circuit held, based on a new report and order from the Federal Communications Commission, that when a call is originated and terminated in the same Major Trading Area it is considered local, and the mere involvement of an interexchange carrier does not affect the obligation of reciprocal compensation. AFFIRMED in part, REVERSED in part, and REMANDED.

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