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STS Telecom seeks over $100m in damages from AT&T in FCC complaint

Alleges that AT&T failed to comply with Telecommunications Act of 1996

By CBR Staff Writer

Florida-based STS Telecom filed a complaint earlier this week with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against AT&T in which it alleges that AT&T has failed to comply with Congress’s Telecommunications Act of 1996 in refusing to provide STS fair and reasonable access to various telecommunication services.

As a result, AT&T severely restricted STS’ access to Florida’s profitable residential and small business markets. Reportedly, the complaint is to be evaluated by the FCC under an expedited review process.

According to Keith Kramer, executive vice president of legal and regulatory affairs of STS, AT&T forced it into buying services that were unnecessarily expensive, while refusing to sell STS other essential network services as promised, and as mandated by Congress.

Kramer said that AT&T’s anti-competitive actions have accumulated over the past four years, resulting in substantial business losses and deterioration of its previously robust residential and small business market share.

He added, “We designed our network in accordance with the rules established by the FCC’s Triennial Review Order of 2003. STS deployed an extremely cost-effective network design that could be easily replicated in any market without a large capital expenditure. Any telephone company similar to STS could prosper with a comparable network.”

Kramer noted that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was Congress’s mandate to further liberate telecommunications markets by breaking the stranglehold on local phone services held by the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs).

He noted further that AT&T is a combination of four original RBOCs (PacTel, Southwestern Bell, Ameritech and BellSouth) combined with the original long distance operations of AT&T, and that AT&T’s most recent merger with BellSouth, completed in 2007, re-established AT&T as one of the largest telephone companies in the world.

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Mark Amarant, chief executive officer of STS, said: “We are at a point where the US Justice Department will no longer accept anti-competitive actions and trade-restraining practices of market giants, previously tolerated by the prior administration.”

According to Amarant, the 128-page complaint filed with the FCC contains ample evidence, with over 5,500 pages of supporting documentation, detailing AT&T’s alleged improper actions.

President Obama’s top antitrust official recently said that the administration would aggressively crack down on antitrust violations, reversing a prior policy that had weakened the government’s ability to take on monopolies.

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