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FCC Dealt Another Setback

October 14, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt another setback to the FCC’s effort to open up local-phone markets to long-distance companies and other rivals.

The Federal Communications Commission had wanted local phone companies to assemble local networks for competitors leasing lines from them. But the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled that rivals must do the assembling.

The court said a 1996 telecommunications law freeing local and long-distance companies to get into each other’s businesses makes clear that companies leasing the pieces combine them, a view held by the Baby Bells.

Long-distance companies and other potential local phone rivals have argued the FCC’s rule makes it much easier for them to assemble local service and have backed the FCC’s reading of the law.

In August the same court threw court key parts of FCC regulations opening the $100 billion local phone market to competition.

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