AT&T, Inc. v. FCC, No. 15-1038 (D.C. Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Telecommunications carriers with legacy obligations petitioned for review challenging the FCC's decision to hold their obligations in place during an interim period. The DC Circuit denied the petitions for review for two reasons. First, the court owed deference to the FCC's decision to hold a preexisting regime in place for an interim period, so as to avoid commandeering agency resources and to respect the agency's judgments about how to maintain baseline universal service in the context of uncertainties attending a major regulatory transition. Second, in response to petitioners' generalized allegations that vulnerable consumers do not need the disputed services and that the existing program leaves petitioners with underfunded obligations, the FCC has made clear that it will grant case-by-case forbearance or supplemental funding in areas where providers can meet their burden to show that their services were not required or that they needed additional financial help.