American Electric Power Serv. Corp., et al v. FCC, et al, No. 11-1146 (D.C. Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Petitioners challenged the FCC's three revisions to the interpretation of Section 224 of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 224. Section 224 provided a variety of advantages to certain types of firms seeking to attach their wires, cable, or other network equipment to utility poles. The FCC's Order allowed incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) to share the benefits of some of Section 224's provisions; reformulated the ceiling on the rate that pole-owning utilities could charge "telecommunications carriers" seeking to make pole attachments; and moved back the date as of which compensatory damages started to accrue in favor of parties filing successful complaints against utilities. The court upheld the FCC's view that ILECs were "providers of telecommunications services" for purposes of section 224(a)(4). Because the FCC's methodology was consistent with the unspecified cost terms contained in section 224(e), and the FCC's justifications were reasonable, the telecom rate revision warranted judicial deference. Petitioners' arguments regarding the refund period had no serious statutory basis. The court considered petitioners' many subsidiary arguments and found them all to be without merit. Accordingly, the court denied the petition.