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    March

    March 18, 2019 - REGScan

    • The FCC adopted items at its March 15, 2019 Open Meeting, including: a Fourth Report and Order to implement the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2017 that will establish service quality standards for intermediate providers; a Report and Order on reimbursing certain low power television, television translator, and FM broadcast stations for broadcast television spectrum incentive auction costs; an NPRM on how potential changes to the partitioning, disaggregation, and leasing rules might better close the digital divide and increase spectrum access by small and rural carriers; a First Report and Order to make available 21.2 GHz of spectrum above 95 GHz for unlicensed operations; and a Fourth FNPRM on wireless E911 location accuracy requirements.  
    • Comments were filed on the FNPRM proposing to implement an auction mechanism for support in legacy areas that are overlapped by an unsubsidized competitor, measures to address budgetary impacts as carriers transition to broadband-only lines, and applying the Tribal Broadband Factor from the A-CAM II offer to legacy carriers. Replies are due April 8, 2019.  
    • The Wireline Competition Bureau announced the legacy USF support amounts available for price cap carriers and fixed competitive ETCs after the authorization of CAF Phase II auction support. It said carriers declining this phase-down support will have until April 11, 2019, to provide, on a state-by-state basis, notice of such election to the Bureau.  
    • CenturyLink seeks partial reconsideration of the Wireline Competition Bureau’s February 22, 2019 noncompliance letter on 2017 CAF deployment milestones. CenturyLink also seeks a stay of the enforcement of the FCC’s withholding penalties and reporting requirements for missing its 40 percent interim deployment milestone.  
    • North-Eastern Pennsylvania Telephone filed a Petition for Expedited Waiver of section 54.316(c)’s March 1 HUBB reporting deadline to allow NEP to update its March 1, 2018 filing.  
    • Reply comments were filed on the FNPRM on ending ex ante pricing regulation for the lower speed TDM-based transport services of RoR carriers opting into the incentive regulation framework for their BDS services and on the Second FNPRM proposing to remove pricing regulation of the TDM transport services of price cap carriers pursuant to the remand in the Eighth Circuit Court’s decision on the 2017 price cap BDS rules.  
    • The FCC announced the proposed universal service contribution factor for the second quarter of 2019 will be 18.8 percent, down from the previous quarter’s 20 percent.  
    • The Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking to assess the continuing interest of several parties who filed petitions for waiver between 2006 and 2013 of various high-cost universal service filing deadlines. Responses are due April 26, 2019.

    • CenturyLink, Verizon, and USTelecom discussed the rural call completion draft Order and responded to NTCA’s ex parte

    March 11, 2019 - REGScan

    • The FCC issued the agenda for its March 15, 2019 Open Meeting. The FCC will consider seven items, including a Fourth Report and Order to implement the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2017 that will establish service quality standards for intermediate providers.  
    • The Wireline Competition Bureau resolved a second CAF Phase II challenge to 3,252 geocoded locations proposed by ACS to receive high-cost support as part of ACS’s obligations to extend service to unserved Alaskan consumers.  
    • The Report and Order that established a transition framework to phase down CAF Phase I frozen support in areas where support is now awarded pursuant to the CAF Phase II auction is effective April 10, 2019, except for the addition of section 54.313(m), which requires OMB approval.  
    • Comments were filed on the FNPRM proposing to implement an auction for support in study areas overlapped by unsubsidized competition, on the legacy budget as carriers transition to broadband-only lines, and applying the Tribal Broadband Factor from the A-CAM II offer to legacy carriers. Replies are due April 8, 2019. FR  
    • WTA and some of its members discussed the performance testing requirements for RLECs and other small carriers, the status of the voice service rate floor, and the length and cost of USAC audits.  
    • NTCA expressed concern about the accuracy of Form 477 information that will be used for distributing USF support.   
    • Verizon, USTelecom, et al. discussed compliance obligations for recipients of CAF support providing broadband service to fixed locations.  
    • USTelecom proposed a system for batch-updating the USAC High Cost Universal Broadband portal.  
    • AT&T asserted companies continue to game the ICC system by artificially inflating switched access charge revenues.  
    • NTCA expressed concerns about the draft Order on call completion and urged the Commission to make several targeted changes to the Order.

    March 4, 2019 - REGScan

    • The FCC announced 262 revised offers of A-CAM support to carriers having already been authorized to receive A-CAM support and the associated revised deployment obligations. These carriers have until March 27, 2019, to notify the Bureau, on a state-by-state basis, whether they elect to receive the revised amount of model-based support.  
    • The FCC announced it is ready to authorize CAF Phase II auction support for the Auction 903 winning bids. Applicants listed in the attachment to the public notice must file letters of credit and legal counsel’s opinion letters by March 13, 2019.  
    • The FCC denied ATA’s Petition for a waiver of the Alaska Plan requirement that carriers receiving support under the plan submit fiber network maps that are accurate to within 7.6-meters.  
    • USTelecom suggested the FCC eliminate the rate floor policy because it is an unnecessary regulatory burden for rural companies.  
    • NTCA detailed implementation issues associated with the Network Testing Order and offered suggestions on the process to resolve questions and the timing of testing. ITTA, TDS Telecom, et al. discussed the Network Testing Order, and suggested the FCC delay the current July 1, 2019 implementation date for broadband performance testing.  
    • The FCC announced the OMB approved the information collection associated with section 36.3(b) (freezing of jurisdictional separations category relationships and/or allocation factors) contained in the December 2018 Order that extended the separations freeze for up to six years.  
    • The FCC concluded its investigation of Aureon’s Transmittal No. 38, and directed Aureon to file a revised interstate switched transport rate and revised cost support. The FCC also concluded its investigation of SDN’s Transmittal No. 13, finding its interstate switched access rate exceeded the allowable per minute of use benchmark, and directed SDN to file a revised tariff.

    • USAC filed the Federal Universal Service Support Mechanisms Quarterly Contribution Base for Second Quarter 2019.