AT&T Corp., WorldCom Inc. and Covad Communications Co. Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to protect federal rules designed to promote their ability to compete for local phone and data customers.
The three companies asked the high court to overturn a lower-court ruling that Federal Communications Commission phone-competition rules were too broadly written and needed to take account of competitive conditions in various markets.
"The marketplace has proven the effectiveness of the existing rules. Where implemented, those rules have spawned genuine competition, saving consumers millions of dollars and leading both incumbent and competitive carriers to invest in newer and better network services and facilities" AT&T vice president of law Mark Rosenblum said.
The local phone industry -- which is urging the FCC to junk key phone-competition policies as soon as possible -- expressed confidence that the high court would refuse to hear the case. The high court agrees to hear only 2 percent of appeals.
"AT&T could invest its financial resources in facilities and jobs, but instead, it chooses to invest in lawyers and litigation," United States Telecom Association president Walter B. McCormick Jr. said.
"We are confident that the Supreme Court will dismiss AT&T's arguments. The public interest lies in economic growth and job creation that can best be encouraged through investment in facilities-based competition," he added.