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The Supreme Court won't hear telecom rate-setting case

An Iowa phone company has lost its battle to appeal a rate-setting case to the U.S. Supreme court

The Supreme Court said Monday that it won't hear an appeal from an Iowa phone company that claimed Qwest Communications International owed it money for wireless phone calls that Qwest connected to its network, the Associated Press reported.

The issue centered around whether telecommunications rates should be set by federal regulators or state regulators. Specifically, Qwest was transmitting wireless traffic over Iowa Network Services network en route to its final destination. Qwest believed lower rates set by Iowa state regulators should be used. And INS believed that rates set by the Federal Communications Commission, which happen to be higher than the state regulatory rates, should be used.

The lower courts sided with Qwest, saving the phone company tens of millions of dollars in charges it would have had to pay INS, the article said.

Iowa Networks has argued that the lower courts rulings weaken the federal government's role in setting rates. The company's lawyer even said that it could have ramifications for other federally regulated industries, such as electric and gas utilities and railroads.