Late Friday, the FCC released details for its interim rules covering UNE-P pricing. According to these rules, the RBOCs freeze wholesale rates for a six month period and after this period, if finalized rules are not in place, Bells are allowed to raise the as much as 5% for existing customers and even higher for new ones. Chairman Powell wants to have final rules in place in a timely fashion and has already scheduled a vote for the finalized rules at the committee’s December meeting. AT&T’s decision to quit from the consumer market says that the FCC favors the RBOCs in regards to UNE-P. In a statement, AT&T the company most hurt by this decision said: “Unfortunately, the order approved by the majority of the Commission does little to protect and preserve consumer benefits and the existing competition in today’s consumer markets. Through this continuing uncertainty, only one thing is clear, if the Commission does not meet its now self-imposed deadline to craft permanent rules, the Bell companies will be free to squeeze its dwindling number of competitors by charging “market-based rates” — code for whatever price the Bell companies want to charge — for facilities that are essential to preserve competition for small businesses and consumers.” Actually I could not have said it better myself.