FCC Record, Volume 26, No. 7, Pages 4843 to 5761, March 28 - April 08, 2011 Page: 5,224
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18. We dismiss, without prejudice, TeleCuba's request for a waiver of the ISP. TeleCuba
states that it requested a waiver of the ISP because of its concern that there is no way to verify the
proportion of return traffic that ETECSA transmits to TeleCuba since telecommunications service reports
are not made publicly available by ETECSA.45 However, in its Petition, TeleCuba certified that it will
comply with the elements of the ISP: The accounting rate will be divided 50-50, it has not bargained for
nor is there any indication that it will receive more than its proportionate share of return traffic, and it has
informed ETECSA that U.S. policy requires that competing U.S. carriers will have access to settlement
and accounting rates negotiated by the filing carrier with the foreign administration on a non-
discriminatory basis.46 In view of these representations, it is not necessary to consider a waiver of the ISP
because TeleCuba will comply with the ISP. While we dismiss without prejudice TeleCuba's request for
a waiver of the ISP, the Commission may consider any new request for an ISP waiver upon review of the
terms of a written agreement between TeleCuba and ETECSA as discussed in the conditions below. At
the present time, however, we agree with AT&T and Verizon that continued application of the ISP to the
U.S.-Cuba route appears necessary to avoid potential discrimination against other U.S. carriers in view of
the unique circumstances presented here.
B. Benchmark Waiver Request
19. In its 1997 Benchmarks Order, the Commission established benchmarks that govern the
international settlement rates that U.S. carriers may pay foreign carriers to terminate international traffic
from the United States.47 The Commission established the benchmarks policy because settlement rates
for the exchange of telephone traffic remained substantially above cost despite efforts to promote
competition and lower settlement rates through application of the ISP. The benchmarks policy requires
U.S. carriers to negotiate settlement rates at or below benchmark levels established by the Commission.48
The Commission established the policy with the goal of reducing above-cost settlement rates paid by U.S.
carriers to foreign carriers for the termination of international traffic, where market forces had not led to
cost-based settlement rates.49 The Commission's intent has been that U.S. customers receive the benefit
of settlement rate savings by carriers.50 Under the Benchmarks Order, Cuba is classified as a lower
middle income country, for which the Commission established a benchmark termination rate of $0.19
effective January 1, 2001, the end of a three-year transition period.
20. The Benchmarks Order provides for two limited exceptions to enforcement of the
benchmark rate and transition periods for a particular international route.51 First, any interested party
may ask the Commission to reconsider rates on the grounds that they do not permit the recovery of total
45 See Petitioner's Response to Supplemental Information Request at 3 (answer in response to question 9).
46 Petition at 1 and 4 (Notarized Statement of Luis Coello, President and CEO, IConnect Wholesale, Inc. d/b/a
47 See, e.g., Benchmarks Order, 12 FCC Red 19806; Report and Order on Reconsideration and Order Lifting Stay,
14 FCC Red 9256 (1999) (Benchmarks Reconsideration Order); aff'd sub nom. Cable & Wireless P.L.C. v. FCC,
166 F.3d 1224 (D.C. Cir. 1999).
48 See, e.g., Benchmarks Order, 12 FCC Red at 19860, 111.
49Benchmarks Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 19862-63, 115. The Commission concluhided that the benchmark rates are
necessary because, under the current international accounting rate system, the settlement rates U.S. carriers pay
foreign carriers to terminate U.S.-originated traffic are, in most cases, substantially above the costs foreign carriers
incur to terminate that traffic. Benchmarks Reconsideration Order, 14 FCC Red at 9256, 3.
so Benchmarks Order, 12 FCC Red at 19930-32, 270-74.
5' Id at 19842-43 & 19888-89, 74 & 174.
Federal Communications Commission
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United States. Federal Communications Commission. FCC Record, Volume 26, No. 7, Pages 4843 to 5761, March 28 - April 08, 2011, book, April 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc52169/m1/396/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.