AT&T Corp. v. Iowa Utilities Board

Supreme Court of the United States

525 U.S. 366 (1999)

January 25, 1999

The FCC has rulemaking authority to uphold provisions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, but is bound by the provisions themselves. Specifically, if the provision requires the FCC to consider certain standards, the FCC is bound by its own rules.

Relevant Facts

Pursuant to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Rule 319, local exchange carriers (LECs) were obligated to share their network with competitors through unbundled access. The LECs sued to challenge Rule 319, by alleging that the FCC failed to meet section 251(d)(2) of the same act, which required the FCC to consider whether access to nonproprietary elements was “necessary,” and whether lack of access would “impair” an entrant’s ability to provide service. The act did not impose a requirement of facility ownership on carriers who sought to merely lease network equipment. As a result, the LECs argued that this undermined the goal of encouraging entrants to develop their own facilities by allowing them to essentially piggyback on existing ones.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

November 30, 2020

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Procedural History

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Citations

525 U.S. 366 (1999)