The Interexchange Carriers (IXCs)

There are four main long-distance players in the United States: AT&T, MCI, Verizon, and Sprint. These carriers face a number of seemingly insurmountable problems including rapidly increasing customer counts, growing minutes of use (MoU) per subscriber, and a rapidly declining dollars-per-transported-bit-per-mile figure, the combination of which is deadly. Needless to say, this explains their compelling argument for accelerated local service and broadband entry.

One bone of contention for the IXCs is that more than 40 percent of all IXC revenues are paid to ILECs as access charges. Access charges are the fees paid to ILECs by long-distance carriers for the right to use local exchange facilities for the origination or termination of traffic transported to or from one exchange to another by an interexchange carrier. And while some access charges are billed directly to the end user, most of them are paid by interexchange carriers—not an insignificant amount of money. IXCs hope that future regulatory decisions will address the magnitude of this fee. In fact, one reason that VoIP has become so popular among those deploying the service is that it is currently classified by the FCC as an information service rather than as a telecom service, which means that VoIP carriers are exempt from many of the regulatory tethers that bind traditional service providers.

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