The Tariff, Rates, Costs, Average Schedules and Technology group is fully involved in the preparation and filing of NECA's annual access charge tariff in June. In this year's filing, we will continue to address and incorporate the effects of the March 30, 2016 USF Rate-of-Return Reform Order on access rates and universal service support.
2017 tariff filing integrates several new items
While we have been implementing much of the USF Reform Order's requirements via filings since December, 2017 is the first annual access charge tariff filing to incorporate these items from the Order:
- Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support broadband-only support
- Consumer broadband-only line charges
- Operating expense limitation
- Capital expenditures limitation
- Budget Control Mechanism
For common line pool participants, the CAF BLS voice-only projection for this upcoming July 2017 through June 2018 test period is $692.1 million. The CAF BLS broadband-only projected amount for the same test period is $101.9 million, resulting in a total estimated CAF BLS projection amount of $794.1 million. USAC calculates the final support payout amounts (based on carrier data we collect from our members and file with them) and their final calculated amounts reflect restrictions stemming from the Budget Control Mechanism and the $250 cap per line per month.
Option to list CBOL rates and CL elements in our tariff
We are anticipating a majority of common line pool participants with CBOL demand will request to list their CBOL rate in our tariff. Many of those who elected A-CAM or Alaska Plan support have decided to list their CBOL and common line rate elements in NECA's tariff, although FCC rules required them to leave the common line pool in January 2017.
Authorized RoR continues its transition and switched access rates are adjusted
For the July 2017 through June 2018 test period, the authorized targeted rate of return will be 10.75 percent, moving towards the eventual rate of 9.75 percent as authorized in the Order. We are also required to modify the overall level of switched access rates based on traffic sensitive pool participation. In the 2017 filing, proposed switched access rates are increasing by 1.119 percent, excluding the terminating end office rate.
The conversation continues
We've begun working with FCC staff to discuss filing documentation and data we will provide. We will participate in a face-to-face meeting with FCC staff in May and the communication will extend up to and through the June filing and July 1 effective date.