DE 98-211
                 Order Nisi Supporting Petition
                    O R D E R   N O.  23,111
                        January 25, 1999
       On December 4, 1998 Sprint Communications Company LP
     (Sprint), filed a petition requesting that the New Hampshire
     Public Utilities Commission (Commission) enforce section 252(i)
     of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TAct).  Specifically,
     Sprint seeks to execute an interconnection agreement with Bell
     Atlantic under the same terms and conditions as those provided to
     Freedom Ring Communications, LLC d/b/a BayRing Communications
     (Freedom Ring), and approved by Order No. 22,475 on January 13,
       Sprint initiated interconnection negotiations by letter
     to Bell Atlantic dated June 15, 1998.  Sprint states, that as a
     result of the parties inability to resolve differences in the
     negotiation of an interconnection agreement for New Hampshire,
     Maine and Rhode Island, Sprint had decided not to arbitrate the
     unresolved issues but rather request the same terms and
     conditions of the agreement Bell Atlantic has for New Hampshire
     with another carrier, Freedom Ring, pursuant to 252(i) of the
     Tact.  Sprint's claim is supported by a copy of a letter to Bell
     Atlantic dated October 23, 1998.
       Sprint alleges Bell failed to respond to their October
     23rd request.  This request was renewed in correspondence dated
     November 18, 1998.  Bell Atlantic responded by letter dated
     November 19, 1998 which cites an FCC Memorandum Opinion and
     Order, In the Matter of GTE Telephone Operating Companies, GTOC
     Tariff No. 1, GTOC Transmittal No. 1148, dated October 30, 1998
     in CC Docket No. 98-79 (GTE Order).  The GTE order ruled that
     "traffic that originates on a carrier's network and then
     terminates over the Internet via the facilities of an Internet
     Service Provider (ISP) comprises a single call. The FCC also
     ruled that such traffic, when carried over ADSL facilities, is
     jurisdictionally interstate, and not local."  Bell Atlantic
     states further in the letter that, "Accordingly, our proposed
     agreements have been modified to eliminate any possible confusion
     about the intended and literal meaning of the contract language." 
     Sprint states that the interconnection agreement forwarded with
     the aforementioned letter of November 19th was modified to
     reflect the Bell Atlantic position based on the FCC's GTE Order.
       Sprint seeks to exercise its right under section 252(i)
     of the TAct to adopt the Freedom Ring interconnection agreement.
     252(i) states, in its entirety:
         A local exchange carrier shall make available any
       interconnection, service, or network element provided
       under an agreement approved under this section to which
       it is a party to any other requesting
       telecommunications carrier upon the same terms and
       conditions as those provided in the agreement.
     Sprint states that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision
     in Iowa Utilities Board v. FCC, 129 F.3d 753 (1997) confirms that
     pursuant to 252(i), Bell Atlantic can not legally change a
     provision in the Commission approved interconnection agreement
     which Sprint intends to elect in its entirety as its own contract
     with Bell Atlantic. 
       We agree with Sprint that 252(i) unconditionally
     permits a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) to adopt an
     approved interconnection agreement without modification.  We note
     that the GTE Order specifically excludes the issue of reciprocal
     compensation for switched traffic delivered to Internet service
     providers from the decision.  The GTE Order states:
         This Order does not consider or address issues
       regarding whether local exchange carriers are entitled
       to receive reciprocal compensation when they deliver to
       information service providers, including Internet
       service providers, circuit-switched dial-up traffic
       originated by interconnecting LECs. [FN2] Unlike GTE's
       ADSL tariff, the reciprocal compensation controversy
       implicates: the applicability of the separate body of
       Commission rules and precedent regarding switched
       access service, the applicability of any rules and
       policies relating to inter-carrier compensation when
       more than one local exchange carrier transmits a call
       from an end user to an ISP, and the applicability of
       interconnection agreements under sections 251 and 252
       of the Communications Act, as amended by the
       Telecommunications Act of 1996, entered into by
       incumbent LECs and competitive LECs that state
       commissions have found, in arbitration, to include such
       traffic.  Because of these considerations, we find that
       this Order does not, and cannot, determine whether
       reciprocal compensation is owed, on either a
       retrospective or a prospective basis, pursuant to
       existing interconnection agreements, state arbitration
       decisions, and federal court decisions.
       Efforts by Bell Atlantic to modify an approved
     interconnection agreement constitute negotiation of a new
     agreement.  Refusal to allow other CLECs to adopt an existing
     interconnection agreement in its entirety is a violation of
     section 252(i) of the TAct.  
       Disputes over language in an approved interconnection
     agreement may be brought before the Commission for resolution. 
     Bell Atlantic has not done so with regard to the reciprocal
     compensation issue which is the apparent controversy between Bell
     Atlantic and Sprint.  That issue may be resolved by the FCC in a
     future order.  In the interim, however, Bell Atlantic may not
     deny a CLEC its right to adopt an existing interconnection
     agreement.  Bell Atlantic is required by 252(i) to provide
     Sprint the exact interconnection agreement it has with any other
       The failure of Bell Atlantic to permit the adoption of
     interconnection agreements in a timely manner is detrimental to
     the development of competition in New Hampshire.  We will order
     Bell Atlantic to provide adoption of approved interconnection
     agreements, without modification,  within 60 days of a written
     request from a CLEC.  We will also require Bell Atlantic to
     provide a signed adoption of the Freedom Ring agreement, without
     modification, to Sprint within seven days of the effective date
     of this Order Nisi.       
       Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby 
       ORDERED NISI, that Bell Atlantic provide to Sprint a
     signed adoption of the Freedom Ring interconnection agreement,
     without modification, within seven days of the effective date of
     this order and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that Bell Atlantic provide a signed
     adoption of any Commission approved interconnection agreement,
     without modification, within sixty days after a written request
     from a CLEC; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that Sprint shall cause a copy of this
     Order Nisi to be published once in a statewide newspaper of
     general circulation or of circulation in those portions of the
     state where operations are conducted, such publication to be no
     later than February 1, 1999 and to be documented by affidavit
     filed with this office on or before February 8, 1999; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that all persons interested in
     responding to this petition be notified that they may submit
     their comments or file a written request for a hearing on this
     matter before the Commission no later than February 15, 1999; and
     it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that any party interested in
     responding to such comments or request for hearing shall do so no
     later than February 22, 1999; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order Nisi shall be
     effective March 1, 1999, unless the Commission provides otherwise
     in a supplemental order issued prior to the effective date.
       By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this twenty-fifth day of January, 1999.
           Douglas L. Patch       Susan S. Geiger     Nancy Brockway
               Chairman           Commissioner          Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Claire D. DiCicco
     Assistant Secretary