MFS Communications Co. (MFS) has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to order monopoly local exchange carriers (LECs) to open access to the "local loop" for competitive telephone companies at a cost-based rate. The MFS "Open Loop Initiative" seeks to speed development of local telephone competition and to provide a choice of local carriers.
The local loop is that part of the local telephone network that physically connects the customer's premises to the LEC central office. Presently, monopoly providers control access for all local and long-distance telephone calls that originate or are received within a service area.
MFS contends that because several states have authorized competition for switched local exchange service, similar interconnection and unbundling requirements should be extended to the "bottleneck" facilities that connect interexchange carriers (IXCs) to end users at the first switching point in the local exchange network. The MFS petition would enable companies authorized by state commissions (PUCs) to provide basic local dialtone services and obtain unbundled access to bottleneck facilities, eliminating duplicate loop facilities.