AT&T Loses at U.S. Supreme Court on Price for Sharing Lines

June 9 (Bloomberg) -- Established local telephone companies including AT&T Inc. must share disputed parts of their networks with competitors at cost, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled.

The unanimous ruling backs the position taken by the Federal Communications Commission in a fight stemming from the 1996 law that injected competition into the local telephone business. The law requires so-called incumbent local carriers, whose ranks also include Verizon Communications Inc. and CenturyLink Inc., to share their facilities with rivals.

The ruling was a victory for Talk America Inc. in its fight with AT&T’s Michigan Bell Telephone unit. The case centered on so-called entrance facilities -- the wires or cables that connect the networks of two carriers. AT&T argued unsuccessfully that those lines aren’t covered by the 1996 law.

The case is Talk America v. Michigan Bell Telephone, 10-313.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.