Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project
Forbearance Petitions, Telecom Act Sec. 10 Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY
-Bell South
-AT&T / Qwest
-SBC IP Enabled Service
-Bell South

- Broadband
- Sec. 706
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- Forbearance
- Backbones
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- - Negotiation
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- Federal Advisory Committees
- Universal Service
- Statistics: Broadband

Sec. 10 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 empowers the FCC to forbear from enforcing certain title II regulations when the FCC determines that sufficient competition exists. Sec. 10 does not enable the FCC to forebear from all title II regulations. Companies can file petitions for forbearance; these are one of the few FCC proceedings where the FCC must act within a time specific - or the petition will be deemed granted - which is what happened when Verizon petitioned for forbearance from title II rules and the Computer Inquiries from broadband services - the FCC time period to act lapsed and therefore the petition was deemed granted by act of law.

47 USC s 160

(a) Regulatory flexibility

Notwithstanding section 332 (c)(1)(A) of this title, the Commission shall forbear from applying any regulation or any provision of this chapter to a telecommunications carrier or telecommunications service, or class of telecommunications carriers or telecommunications services, in any or some of its or their geographic markets, if the Commission determines that—

(1) enforcement of such regulation or provision is not necessary to ensure that the charges, practices, classifications, or regulations by, for, or in connection with that telecommunications carrier or telecommunications service are just and reasonable and are not unjustly or unreasonably discriminatory;

(2) enforcement of such regulation or provision is not necessary for the protection of consumers; and

(3) forbearance from applying such provision or regulation is consistent with the public interest.

(b) Competitive effect to be weighed

In making the determination under subsection (a)(3) of this section, the Commission shall consider whether forbearance from enforcing the provision or regulation will promote competitive market conditions, including the extent to which such forbearance will enhance competition among providers of telecommunications services. If the Commission determines that such forbearance will promote competition among providers of telecommunications services, that determination may be the basis for a Commission finding that forbearance is in the public interest.

(c) Petition for forbearance

Any telecommunications carrier, or class of telecommunications carriers, may submit a petition to the Commission requesting that the Commission exercise the authority granted under this section with respect to that carrier or those carriers, or any service offered by that carrier or carriers. Any such petition shall be deemed granted if the Commission does not deny the petition for failure to meet the requirements for forbearance under subsection (a) of this section within one year after the Commission receives it, unless the one-year period is extended by the Commission. The Commission may extend the initial one-year period by an additional 90 days if the Commission finds that an extension is necessary to meet the requirements of subsection (a) of this section. The Commission may grant or deny a petition in whole or in part and shall explain its decision in writing.

(d) Limitation

Except as provided in section 251 (f) of this title, the Commission may not forbear from applying the requirements of section 251 (c) or 271 of this title under subsection (a) of this section until it determines that those requirements have been fully implemented.

(e) State enforcement after Commission forbearance

A State commission may not continue to apply or enforce any provision of this chapter that the Commission has determined to forbear from applying under subsection (a) of this section.

Regulatory Proceedings

Petitions for Forebearance


Implementation of Sections 3(n) and 332 of the Communications Act, Regulatory Treatment of Mobile Services, GN Docket No. 93-252, Second Report and Order, 9 FCC Rcd 1411 (1994) (CMRS Second Report & Order) (forbearing from various Title II requirements for CMRS).