Qwest Corporation v. Colorado Public Utilities Comm, et al, No. 10-1187 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff Qwest Corporation (Qwest) and Defendants Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), individual commissioners, and Cbeyond Communications, LLC (Cbeyond) (together, defendants), cross-appealed the district court’s decision construing 47 C.F.R. 51.5, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation relating to local telephone service providers. In order to facilitate competition in the local telephone service market, federal law requires incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs), such as Qwest, to lease certain parts of their telecommunications networks to competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), such as Cbeyond. ILECs are relieved of this obligation if, among other circumstances, the number of “business lines” in a local exchange reaches a certain threshold because, in the FCC’s view, a sufficient number of business lines shows that it would be economic for CLECs to invest in their own infrastructure. The term “business line” and the method of counting business lines are defined in the regulation. The parties disagree as to which types of a particular network element—UNE loops—are included in the business line count. The district court held that UNE loops serving non-business customers are included in the business line count and that non-switched UNE loops are not included in the business line count. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the portion of the district court ruling that the business line count includes nonbusiness UNE loops; the Court reversed the district court's decision that the business line count does not include non-switched UNE loops.