March in Minneapolis may not be everyone’s ideal weather location for an industry event, but the NECA Industry Issues Meeting held on March 20 and 21 at the Hyatt Regency contained enough hot topics and enthusiastic discussion to warm even the most chilling environment.
The conference marked our 15th anniversary of this annual gathering. Jeff Phillips, vice president – Industry Relations, welcomed nearly 50 industry consultants and select member companies (those who prepare and submit annual cost studies themselves) who heard presentations from a dozen
NECA directors on a wide range of relevant and requested industry issues.
Cost study assistance is highly regarded
The meeting is offered primarily to assist members and consultants to prepare for the upcoming submission of cost studies, so it wasn’t surprising to see cost study preparation, cost reporting issues and excluded expenses rated as the most helpful presentations, based on the
end-of-event attendee survey. There was a constant information flow packed into the tight agenda and other notable topics included:
- CAF BLS and CBOL trends and projections
- Special access rate outlook
- Rate flexibility tool and BDS pricing
- Planned Tariff No. 6 (for BDS companies)
- NECA Reporting Guidelines update
- Washington, D.C. telecom happenings
A vision for 2020
Jeff wrapped up the event by opening the floor for final questions and comments. Attendees expressed their request for next year’s meeting agenda to include updates on many of this year’s subjects and tendered some new suggestions:
- discuss issues pertinent to companies receiving A-CAM support;
- explain future changes to support mechanisms (e.g., CAF ICC, A-CAM);
- review benefits and opportunities via participation in the NECA pools; and
- possibly extend the meeting by another half day and invite an outside speaker.
Attendees vowed to be back again in 2020 and wouldn’t mind a bit if the selected location was just a little further south or west. We always look forward to engaging members and consultants at this summit to discuss vital issues; get their views and suggestions; and ensure we are all on
message in adapting to rapidly changing regulatory modifications.