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Lifeline Providers Must Resolve Inter-Company Household Duplicates

Posted on August 26, 2014

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) has announced the implementation of a process for resolving duplicative support provided by multiple Lifeline providers to the same household (inter-company household duplicates).  A household is defined as any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address and share income and expenses. Pursuant to the Lifeline program’s rules, a household may only subscribe to one Lifeline service.  Under the Bureau’s resolution process, a Lifeline provider is required to inform its subscribers that are labeled as inter-company household duplicates that they must complete a household worksheet.  If a worksheet shows that a subscriber is part of an independent economic household, the subscriber will be allowed to keep his Lifeline service.  However, if the worksheet shows otherwise or the subscriber fails to return a completed worksheet, the Lifeline carrier must de-enroll the subscriber from the Lifeline program.  Lifeline providers have until December 23, 2014, to obtain a valid household worksheet from any subscribers identified as inter-company duplicates, and must make required de-enrollments by December 30, 2014.

For additional information, please contact Tony Veach.

Henderson to Serve as USAC CEO

Posted on August 26, 2014

FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler has approved the Universal Service Administrative Company’s (USAC) nomination of John Christopher Henderson to serve as the USAC Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  USAC has a 19-member Board of Directors consisting of representatives from the telecommunications and information services industry, state telecommunications regulators, state consumer advocates, low-income consumers, the education and library community, and the USAC CEO.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

Chairman Wheeler Announces Chief Technology Officer Appointment

Posted on August 26, 2014

Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) Chairman Thomas Wheeler recently announced that Scott Jordan will be the Commission’s new Chief Technology Officer. Jordan joins the Commission from the University of California, Irvine, where he is a Professor of Computer Science. Jordan is widely known for his research on communications platforms, pricing, and differentiated services on the Internet. In the technology arena, Jordan works to further integrate voice, data, and video on the Internet and on wireless networks. Jordan replaces Henning Schulzrinne, who will return to Columbia University and continue to serve the Commission in a part-time capacity as a Technology Advisor.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

Latest #CommActUpdate White Paper Explores Universal Service Policy

Posted on August 26, 2014

As part of its continuing effort to begin the process of revising the nation’s communications laws, the U.S. House of Representative’s Energy and Commerce Committee has released a white paper on Universal Service Policy and the Role of the Federal Communications Commission.  It’s the committee’s fifth #CommActUpdate white paper, and it “seeks comment on the structure and effectiveness of the [universal service] fund, as currently designed, and questions whether the goals of the fund can be advanced more efficiently in other ways.”  Specifically, stakeholders are encouraged to weigh in on eight questions covering the following topics: universal service goals and principles, treatment of unsubsidized competitors, states’ role in universal service, the role of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, the need for other Federal broadband support programs, the overall size of the universal service fund, the need for each universal service support mechanism, and the use of alternative mechanisms to distribute universal service support.  Responses are requested by September 19, 2014, and should be sent via email to commactupdate@mail.house.gov.

For additional information, please contact Tony Veach.

Petition Seeks WCS Rule Revisions

Posted on August 25, 2014

Several AT&T-affiliated entities (AT&T) have filed a Petition for Rulemaking requesting that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) open a rulemaking proceeding to amend its rules governing Wireless Communications Service (WCS) Spectrum Blocks C and D in the 2.3 GHz band.  AT&T states that the revisions would enable spectrum use for in-flight connectivity service while also protecting operations in the adjacent Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) spectrum from harmful interference.  The petition seeks revisions to construction requirements, power limits, and out-of-band emission limits. It also proposes a new SDARS coordination rule.  Comments on AT&T’s petition are due on September 22, 2014, and replies are due October 6, 2014.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

NAB Sues FCC Over 600 MHz Broadcast Incentive Auction TVStudy Software

Posted on August 21, 2014

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging the Commission’s use of the TVStudy software during the 600 MHz Broadcast Incentive Auction rather than the FCC’s OET-69 software. The TVStudy software is critical to the Incentive Auction as it will be used to predict the coverage areas and populations served of local TV stations, which determines how broadcasters who remain on the air at the conclusion of the auction are repacked and how much spectrum will be available for wireless services during the forward auction. Under the auction process, broadcasters who choose not to turn in their licenses will be re-packed re-assigned channels and those new channels must allow the station to continue serving the coverage areas and populations it served before the auction. NAB argues that use of the TVStudy software would cause repacked stations to lose a significant portion of their coverage areas and populations served. NAB argues that under the FCC’s rules, broadcasters face the prospect of either staying on the air but serving less viewers and covering a smaller service area or being forced to participate in what was supposed to be a voluntary auction.

For additional information, please contact Tara Shostek.

Sprint and T-Mobile Petition for Reconsideration of Commission’s Spectrum Holdings Policies

Posted on August 21, 2014

Sprint and T-Mobile have individually filed petitions for reconsideration of the Commission’s spectrum holdings policies. T-Mobile asks the FCC to reconsider the amount of reserved spectrum adopted for the 600 MHz Incentive Auction.  T-Mobile argues that a reserve of at least half of the recovered 600 MHz spectrum, depending on how much spectrum is cleared in a particular PEA, would promote competition among four nationwide providers and local and regional players.  However, it argues that if the Commission keeps the reserved spectrum at a maximum of 30 MHz, it should slow down the decrease in reserved spectrum in areas with lower spectrum clearing levels.  T-Mobile also asks the Commission to reconsider basing the reserved trigger on a price/MHz-POP threshold.   Sprint asks the FCC to reconsider adopting weighting for the spectrum screen by giving less weight to 2.5 GHz holdings, for which Sprint holds licenses, and more weight to below 1-GHz-low-band spectrum holdings.

Oppositions to the petitions will be due 15 days after the date the public notice of the petitions has been published in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred.  Replies will be due 10 days later.

For additional information, please contact Tara Shostek.

FCC to Consider Streamlining Part 32 Uniform System of Accounts

Posted on August 21, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched a proceeding to review its Part 32 Uniform System of Accounts (USOA) rules and consider ways to minimize the compliance burden the rules place on carriers while still ensuring that it retains access to information it may need to fulfill its regulatory duties.  The USOA is a historical financial accounting system applicable to regulated telephone companies which ensures they properly allocate costs to and among telecommunications services, facilities, and products, and enables regulators to assess cost allocations within a specified accounting period.  A year ago, the FCC denied a request by USTelecom that the FCC forbear from enforcing the USOA for all price cap regulated carriers, but has now determined “in light of the Commission’s actions in areas of price cap regulation,” including universal service and intercarrier compensation reform, it may be appropriate to streamline the existing USOA rules.  The FCC has stated that it “will complete this proceeding no later than the end of 2015.”  Comments are due on or before 60 days after the date the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is published in the Federal Register, and reply comments are due 90 days after Federal Register publication.

For additional information, please contact Tony Veach.

FCC Dismisses 12 Petitions as Moot Due to USF/ICC Transformation Order

Posted on August 21, 2014

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau has released an Order that dismisses 12 petitions seeking various forms of relief due to regulatory changes that were adopted in the USF/ICC Transformation Order.  Those regulatory changes addressed “a wide range of high-cost universal service and access charge matters” and as a result, have mooted the relief requested in each petition.  Seven of the petitions were filed in 2001; one was filed in 2002; one was filed in 2003; and three were filed in 2009.  A list of the petitions is available in the Appendix to the Order.

For additional information, please contact Tony Veach.

Special Access Data Collection Approved – With Changes

Posted on August 20, 2014

The Office of Management and Budget has approved, with changes, the FCC’s mandatory reporting requirement regarding special access services. Among others, the changes include the requirement that carriers report data only for the most recent year, and not 2010 and 2012 as required by the Commission. OMB also excludes from the definition of “Purchaser” those entities that purchased less than $5 million in Dedicated Services in 2013 (in areas where the ILEC is subject to price cap regulation). Certain questions on the FCC’s questionnaire are no longer mandatory, and some of the data the FCC requested only needs to be reported if it is kept in the normal course of business.

For additional information, please contact Tara Shostek.