TW Telecom of Oregon LLC has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to Review the Fairness Oregon's Franchise Fees Imposed on Phone Companies

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009


Portland permits phone companies to do business in the city only after the companies register for and pay a franchise fee. This fee permits the phone companies the right to access Portland's right of ways (the areas where wires, etc. are buried in order to provide phone access to customers across the city).

TW Telecom brought a suit to Federal court arguing that Portland unfairly administers its franchise fees on phone companies. It cited several instances where Portland subjectively permitted certain phone companies the right to reduce its franchise fee burden. Its case is based on a federal law (47 U.S.C. Sec. 253) that prohibits state or local governments from receiving compensation to public right of ways in a discriminatory manner.

The Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals did not rule in TW Telecom's favor - based on other issues involved in the case.

TW is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

TW's Argument: Portland requires all phone companies to pay a franchise fee. Portland is not consistent in its application of its franchise fee; more specifically, Portland permits certain phone companies the ability to deduct certain revenues from taxation while other phone companies have to pay more fees - TW argues that this is done in a discriminatory and unfair manner.

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