§ 51.323Standards for physical collocation and virtual collocation.
(a) An incumbent LEC shall provide physical collocation and virtual collocation to requesting telecommunications carriers.
(b) An incumbent LEC shall permit the collocation and use of any equipment necessary for interconnection or access to unbundled network elements.
(1) Equipment is necessary for interconnection if an inability to deploy that equipment would, as a practical, economic, or operational matter, preclude the requesting carrier from obtaining interconnection with the incumbent LEC at a level equal in quality to that which the incumbent obtains within its own network or the incumbent provides to any affiliate, subsidiary, or other party.
(2) Equipment is necessary for access to an unbundled network element if an inability to deploy that equipment would, as a practical, economic, or operational matter, preclude the requesting carrier from obtaining nondiscriminatory access to that unbundled network element, including any of its features, functions, or capabilities.
(3) Multi-functional equipment shall be deemed necessary for interconnection or access to an unbundled network element if and only if the primary purpose and function of the equipment, as the requesting carrier seeks to deploy it, meets either or both of the standards set forth in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section. For a piece of equipment to be utilized primarily to obtain equal in quality interconnection or nondiscriminatory access to one or more unbundled network elements, there also must be a logical nexus between the additional functions the equipment would perform and the telecommunication services the requesting carrier seeks to provide to its customers by means of the interconnection or unbundled network element. The collocation of those functions of the equipment that, as stand-alone functions, do not meet either of the standards set forth in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section must not cause the equipment to significantly increase the burden on the incumbent's property.
(c) Whenever an incumbent LEC objects to collocation of equipment by a requesting telecommunications carrier for purposes within the scope of section 251(c)(6) of the Act, the incumbent LEC shall prove to the state commission that the equipment is not necessary for interconnection or access to unbundled network elements under the standards set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. An incumbent LEC may not object to the collocation of equipment on the grounds that the equipment does not comply with safety or engineering standards that are more stringent than the safety or engineering standards that the incumbent LEC applies to its own equipment. An incumbent LEC may not object to the collocation of equipment on the ground that the equipment fails to comply with Network Equipment and Building Specifications performance standards or any other performance standards. An incumbent LEC that denies collocation of a competitor's equipment, citing safety standards, must provide to the competitive LEC within five business days of the denial a list of all equipment that the incumbent LEC locates at the premises in question, together with an affidavit attesting that all of that equipment meets or exceeds the safety standard that the incumbent LEC contends the competitor's equipment fails to meet. This affidavit must set forth in detail: the exact safety requirement that the requesting carrier's equipment does not satisfy; the incumbent LEC's basis for concluding that the requesting carrier's equipment does not meet this safety requirement; and the incumbent LEC's basis for concluding why collocation of equipment not meeting this safety requirement would compromise network safety.
(d) When an incumbent LEC provides physical collocation, virtual collocation, or both, the incumbent LEC shall:
(1) Provide an interconnection point or points, physically accessible by both the incumbent LEC and the collocating telecommunications carrier, at which the fiber optic cable carrying an interconnector's circuits can enter the incumbent LEC's premises, provided that the incumbent LEC shall designate interconnection points as close as reasonably possible to its premises;
(2) Provide at least two such interconnection points at each incumbent LEC premises at which there are at least two entry points for the incumbent LEC's cable facilities, and at which space is available for new facilities in at least two of those entry points;
(3) Permit interconnection of copper or coaxial cable if such interconnection is first approved by the state commission; and
(4) Permit physical collocation of microwave transmission facilities except where such collocation is not practical for technical reasons or because of space limitations, in which case virtual collocation of such facilities is required where technically feasible.
(e) When providing virtual collocation, an incumbent LEC shall, at a minimum, install, maintain, and repair collocated equipment meeting the standards set forth in paragraph (b) of this section within the same time periods and with failure rates that are no greater than those that apply to the performance of similar functions for comparable equipment of the incumbent LEC itself.
(f) An incumbent LEC shall provide space for the collocation of equipment meeting the standards set forth in paragraph (b) of this section in accordance with the following requirements:
(1) An incumbent LEC shall make space available within or on its premises to requesting telecommunications carriers on a first-come, first-served basis, provided, however, that the incumbent LEC shall not be required to lease or construct additional space to provide for physical collocation when existing space has been exhausted;
(2) To the extent possible, an incumbent LEC shall make contiguous space available to requesting telecommunications carriers that seek to expand their existing collocation space;
(3) When planning renovations of existing facilities or constructing or leasing new facilities, an incumbent LEC shall take into account projected demand for collocation of equipment;
(4) An incumbent LEC may retain a limited amount of floor space for its own specific future uses, provided, however, that neither the incumbent LEC nor any of its affiliates may reserve space for future use on terms more favorable than those that apply to other telecommunications carriers seeking to reserve collocation space for their own future use;
(5) An incumbent LEC shall relinquish any space held for future use before denying a request for virtual collocation on the grounds of space limitations, unless the incumbent LEC proves to the state commission that virtual collocation at that point is not technically feasible; and
(6) An incumbent LEC may impose reasonable restrictions on the warehousing of unused space by collocating telecommunications carriers, provided, however, that the incumbent LEC shall not set maximum space limitations applicable to such carriers unless the incumbent LEC proves to the state commission that space constraints make such restrictions necessary.
(7) An incumbent LEC must assign collocation space to requesting carriers in a just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory manner. An incumbent LEC must allow each carrier requesting physical collocation to submit space preferences prior to assigning physical collocation space to that carrier. At a minimum, an incumbent LEC's space assignment policies and practices must meet the following principles:
(A) An incumbent LEC's space assignment policies and practices must not materially increase a requesting carrier's collocation costs.
(B) An incumbent LEC's space assignment policies and practices must not materially delay a requesting carrier occupation and use of the incumbent LEC's premises.
(C) An incumbent LEC must not assign physical collocation space that will impair the quality of service or impose other limitations on the service a requesting carrier wishes to offer.
(D) An incumbent LEC's space assignment policies and practices must not reduce unreasonably the total space available for physical collocation or preclude unreasonably physical collocation within the incumbent's premises.
(g) An incumbent LEC shall permit collocating telecommunications carriers to collocate equipment and connect such equipment to unbundled network transmission elements obtained from the incumbent LEC, and shall not require such telecommunications carriers to bring their own transmission facilities to the incumbent LEC's premises in which they seek to collocate equipment.
(h) As described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this section, an incumbent LEC shall permit a collocating telecommunications carrier to interconnect its network with that of another collocating telecommunications carrier at the incumbent LEC's premises and to connect its collocated equipment to the collocated equipment of another telecommunications carrier within the same premises, provided that the collocated equipment is also used for interconnection with the incumbent LEC or for access to the incumbent LEC's unbundled network elements.
(1) An incumbent LEC shall provide, at the request of a collocating telecommunications carrier, a connection between the equipment in the collocated spaces of two or more telecommunications carriers, except to the extent the incumbent LEC permits the collocating parties to provide the requested connection for themselves or a connection is not required under paragraph (h)(2) of this section. Where technically feasible, the incumbent LEC shall provide the connection using copper, dark fiber, lit fiber, or other transmission medium, as requested by the collocating telecommunications carrier.
(2) An incumbent LEC is not required to provide a connection between the equipment in the collocated spaces of two or more telecommunications carriers if the connection is requested pursuant to section 201 of the Act, unless the requesting carrier submits to the incumbent LEC a certification that more than 10 percent of the amount of traffic to be transmitted through the connection will be interstate. The incumbent LEC cannot refuse to accept the certification, but instead must provision the service promptly. Any incumbent LEC may file a section 208 complaint with the Commission challenging the certification if it believes that the certification is deficient. No such certification is required for a request for such connection under section 251 of the Act.
(i) As provided herein, an incumbent LEC may require reasonable security arrangements to protect its equipment and ensure network reliability. An incumbent LEC may only impose security arrangements that are as stringent as the security arrangements that the incumbent LEC maintains at its own premises for its own employees or authorized contractors. An incumbent LEC must allow collocating parties to access their collocated equipment 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without requiring either a security escort of any kind or delaying a competitor's employees' entry into the incumbent LEC's premises. An incumbent LEC may require a collocating carrier to pay only for the least expensive, effective security option that is viable for the physical collocation space assigned. Reasonable security measures that the incumbent LEC may adopt include:
(1) Installing security cameras or other monitoring systems; or
(2) Requiring competitive LEC personnel to use badges with computerized tracking systems; or
(3) Requiring competitive LEC employees to undergo the same level of security training, or its equivalent, that the incumbent's own employees, or third party contractors providing similar functions, must undergo; provided, however, that the incumbent LEC may not require competitive LEC employees to receive such training from the incumbent LEC itself, but must provide information to the competitive LEC on the specific type of training required so the competitive LEC's employees can conduct their own training.
(4) Restricting physical collocation to space separated from space housing the incumbent LEC's equipment, provided that each of the following conditions is met:
(i) Either legitimate security concerns, or operational constraints unrelated to the incumbent's or any of its affiliates' or subsidiaries competitive concerns, warrant such separation;
(ii) Any physical collocation space assigned to an affiliate or subsidiary of the incumbent LEC is separated from space housing the incumbent LEC's equipment;
(iii) The separated space will be available in the same time frame as, or a shorter time frame than, non-separated space;
(iv) The cost of the separated space to the requesting carrier will not be materially higher than the cost of non-separated space; and
(v) The separated space is comparable, from a technical and engineering standpoint, to non-separated space.
(5) Requiring the employees and contractors of collocating carriers to use a central or separate entrance to the incumbent's building, provided, however, that where an incumbent LEC requires that the employees or contractors of collocating carriers access collocated equipment only through a separate entrance, employees and contractors of the incumbent LEC's affiliates and subsidiaries must be subject to the same restriction.
(6) Constructing or requiring the construction of a separate entrance to access physical collocation space, provided that each of the following conditions is met:
(i) Construction of a separate entrance is technically feasible;
(ii) Either legitimate security concerns, or operational constraints unrelated to the incumbent's or any of its affiliates' or subsidiaries competitive concerns, warrant such separation;
(iii) Construction of a separate entrance will not artificially delay collocation provisioning; and
(iv) Construction of a separate entrance will not materially increase the requesting carrier's costs.
(j) An incumbent LEC shall permit a collocating telecommunications carrier to subcontract the construction of physical collocation arrangements with contractors approved by the incumbent LEC, provided, however, that the incumbent LEC shall not unreasonably withhold approval of contractors. Approval by an incumbent LEC shall be based on the same criteria it uses in approving contractors for its own purposes.
(k) An incumbent LEC's physical collocation offering must include the following:
(1)Shared collocation cages. A shared collocation cage is a caged collocation space shared by two or more competitive LECs pursuant to terms and conditions agreed to by the competitive LECs. In making shared cage arrangements available, an incumbent LEC may not increase the cost of site preparation or nonrecurring charges above the cost for provisioning such a cage of similar dimensions and material to a single collocating party. In addition, the incumbent must prorate the charge for site conditioning and preparation undertaken by the incumbent to construct the shared collocation cage or condition the space for collocation use, regardless of how many carriers actually collocate in that cage, by determining the total charge for site preparation and allocating that charge to a collocating carrier based on the percentage of the total space utilized by that carrier. An incumbent LEC must make shared collocation space available in single-bay increments or their equivalent, i.e., a competing carrier can purchase space in increments small enough to collocate a single rack, or bay, of equipment.
(2)Cageless collocation. Incumbent LECs must allow competitors to collocate without requiring the construction of a cage or similar structure. Incumbent LECs must permit collocating carriers to have direct access to their equipment. An incumbent LEC may not require competitors to use an intermediate interconnection arrangement in lieu of direct connection to the incumbent's network if technically feasible. An incumbent LEC must make cageless collocation space available in single-bay increments, meaning that a competing carrier can purchase space in increments small enough to collocate a single rack, or bay, of equipment.
(3)Adjacent space collocation. An incumbent LEC must make available, where physical collocation space is legitimately exhausted in a particular incumbent LEC structure, collocation in adjacent controlled environmental vaults, controlled environmental huts, or similar structures located at the incumbent LEC premises to the extent technically feasible. The incumbent LEC must permit a requesting telecommunications carrier to construct or otherwise procure such an adjacent structure, subject only to reasonable safety and maintenance requirements. The incumbent must provide power and physical collocation services and facilities, subject to the same nondiscrimination requirements as applicable to any other physical collocation arrangement. The incumbent LEC must permit the requesting carrier to place its own equipment, including, but not limited to, copper cables, coaxial cables, fiber cables, and telecommunications equipment, in adjacent facilities constructed by the incumbent LEC, the requesting carrier, or a third-party. If physical collocation space becomes available in a previously exhausted incumbent LEC structure, the incumbent LEC must not require a carrier to move, or prohibit a competitive LEC from moving, a collocation arrangement into that structure. Instead, the incumbent LEC must continue to allow the carrier to collocate in any adjacent controlled environmental vault, controlled environmental vault, or similar structure that the carrier has constructed or otherwise procured.
(l) An incumbent LEC must offer to provide and provide all forms of physical collocation (i.e., caged, cageless, shared, and adjacent) within the following deadlines, except to the extent a state sets its own deadlines or the incumbent LEC has demonstrated to the state commission that physical collocation is not practical for technical reasons or because of space limitations.
(1) Within ten days after receiving an application for physical collocation, an incumbent LEC must inform the requesting carrier whether the application meets each of the incumbent LEC's established collocation standards. A requesting carrier that resubmits a revised application curing any deficiencies in an application for physical collocation within ten days after being informed of them retains its position within any collocation queue that the incumbent LEC maintains pursuant to paragraph (f)(1) of this section.
(2) Except as stated in paragraphs (l)(3) and (l)(4) of this section, an incumbent LEC must complete provisioning of a requested physical collocation arrangement within 90 days after receiving an application that meets the incumbent LEC's established collocation application standards.
(3) An incumbent LEC need not meet the deadline set forth in paragraph (l)(2) of this section if, after receipt of any price quotation provided by the incumbent LEC, the telecommunications carrier requesting collocation does not notify the incumbent LEC that physical collocation should proceed.
(4) If, within seven days of the requesting carrier's receipt of any price quotation provided by the incumbent LEC, the telecommunications carrier requesting collocation does not notify the incumbent LEC that physical collocation should proceed, then the incumbent LEC need not complete provisioning of a requested physical collocation arrangement until 90 days after receiving such notification from the requesting telecommunications carrier.