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Court Upholds FCC Rule Requiring Big Carriers to Enter 'Commercially Reasonable' Roaming Agreements With Smaller Carriers

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling that requires large carriers such as Verizon and AT&T to enter "roaming" agreements with smaller carriers. According to CNET's Marguerite Reardon, "The court unanimously found that the FCC was well within its jurisdiction to require operators to offer roaming agreements to competitors on 'commercially reasonable' terms. If Verizon is unhappy with the rule, the court said that 'Verizon may choose not to provide mobile-Internet service.'"

In fact, the big carriers have another avenue if they are unhappy with the ruling: they may lobby Congress into passing a law to override the decision.


  • Verizon's corporate PAC contributed $1.5 million to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle.
  • AT&T's corporate PAC contributed $2.4 million to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle.

To see the itemized contributions made by Verizon and AT&T's PACs, download this spreadsheet.

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from Jan. 1, 2012—Nov. 17, 2012 to federal candidates from PACs controlled by Verizon and AT&T. Source: as of Dec. 2, 2012. If you use MapLight data please cite accordingly.

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About this Author

MapLight is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, research organization that reveals money's influence on politics.

Elected officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws. This common practice is contrary to the public interest, yet legal.

MapLight connects data on campaign contributions, politicians, votes, industries, companies, and more to show patterns of influence that could never be seen before. 

We currently research money and influence in the...