The Federal Communications Commission has asked an appeals court to hold in abeyance a case challenging its universal service and intercarrier compensation reforms.
In a motion before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver, the FCC noted that it's received several petitions asking it to reconsider its decisions.
Several telecom carriers support the FCC's motion, including AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, according to the agency. Other parties will likely oppose the motion, including the National Association for Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
The FCC has enacted an order that will result in major reforms to the telephone subsidy program known as universal service as well as the intercarrier compensation system by which phone companies pay one another to connect calls.
One of the most controversial reforms involves the creation of a $4.5 billion "Connect America Fund" that would shift subsidies from phone service to broadband access.
Since the agency's order was published in the Federal Register, the FCC has received more than 20 petitions asking it to reconsider. The FCC said there is significant overlap between the issues that will likely be presented on appeal and the issues that it has been asked to reconsider.
"FCC action on reconsideration could substantially narrow the scope of the issues before the Court – or even render some issues moot," the FCC said. "This should greatly assist the Court."