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March

March 27, 2017 - REGScan

  • The FCC issued an FNPRM seeking comment on a further 18-month extension of the freeze of jurisdictional separations category relationships and cost allocation factors for rate-of-return ILECs while the FCC continues to work with the Joint Board to overhaul its separations rules. Comments are due 14 days after publication in the Federal Register; replies due 21 days after FR.  
  • The Wireline Competition Bureau issued an Order temporarily waiving the requirements to use the cost surrogate method, noting in some cases the surrogate cost method results in an unreasonable allocation of costs from the Special Access category to the new CBOL category.  
  • The FCC announced the OMB has approved, for a period of three years, information collections associated with the  March 30, 2016 RoR Reform Order, the May 26, 2016 CAF Phase II Auction Order, and the October 31, 2016 ACS CAF Order related to reporting of broadband deployment locations via the USAC portal.  
  • The Wireline Competition Bureau issued an Order denying requests by IAMO Telephone and Montrose Mutual Telephone for waiver of the November 1, 2016 deadline for submitting letters to elect to receive A-CAM support.  
  • NTCA discussed the negative impacts of continuing USF budget shortfalls on the availability and affordability of broadband for consumers and businesses in rural America, the impact on broadband investment of uncertainty arising out of the new capital investment allowance, and the adverse implications for rural consumers of the local voice rate floor policy.  
  • The Senate passed Sen. Jeff Flakes’ (R- Ariz.) resolution (S.J. 34), which stipulates that Congress disapproves the FCC’s Broadband Privacy Order and that the rules have no force or effect. Commissioner Clyburn and FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny issued a statement on the vote.  
  • The D.C. Circuit Court dismissed NARUC’s Petition for Review of the Order allowing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. 

March 20, 2017 - REGScan

  • The FCC corrected errors in the supplementary information and final rules portions of the RoR Reform Order, published in the April 25, 2016 Federal Register.  
  • The FCC issued an Order establishing the procedures for the 2017 filing of annual access charge tariffs and Tariff Review Plans for price cap and rate-of-return ILECs.  
  • The FCC announced the proposed universal service contribution factor for the second quarter of 2017 will be 17.4 percent, up from the current 16.7 percent.  
  • Chairman Pai spoke at Carnegie Mellon on “Bringing the Benefits of the Digital Age to All Americans.”  
  • Commissioner Clyburn spoke at WTA’s Spring Conference, discussing the progress towards 5G, continued USF reform, and other issues.  
  • NTCA discussed the continuing adverse effects on consumers of the local service rate floor policy, and urged the Commission to act on the Application for Review and Petition for Reconsideration filed by NTCA, NECA, ERTA and WTA. It also raised the need for clarifications of, or corrections to, certain aspects of the capital expense limits. NTCA discussed similar issues in a separate meeting and discussed the treatment of certain expenses for purposes of cost recovery via the USF. Moss Adams, NTCA, et al. discussed USAC’s calculation of RoR carriers’ reductions of HCLS under the per-line reduction component of the budget control mechanism for carriers subject to the “parent trap” rule.   
  • Adak Eagle filed a reply on its Petition for Reconsideration of the FCC’s decision to deny Adak Eagle a second offer of A-CAM support, noting no opposition or objection to the Petition was submitted.  
  • NTCA urged the FCC to remain diligent in its pursuit of long term solutions to rural call completion problems while prosecuting originating providers who fail to complete calls, claiming rural call completion problems continue across rural America.
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  • The Wireline Competition Bureau issued an Order on March 13, 2017, adopting procedures to provide parties limited access to proprietary or confidential information regarding USAC’s investigation of SIC’s receipt of USF support and related proceedings. The Bureau also issued a Public Notice announcing the Bureau intends to place into the record certain items related to the investigation.  

March 13, 2017 - REGSCan

  • Chairman Pai issued a statement on his renomination by President Trump to serve a second term on the FCC. Commissioner O’Rielly also issued a statement.  
  • The FCC released the Mobility Fund II and Tribal Mobility Fund II Report and Order and FNPRM that it adopted at its February 2017 Open Meeting.  Comments on the FNPRM are due April 12, 2017; replies due April 27, 2017.  
  • The Commission is circulating an item entitled “Jurisdictional Separations and Referral to the Federal-State Joint Board.”
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  • The FCC announced the Form 477 filing interface has been reopened, and the new filing deadline for Form 477 data as of Dec. 31, 2016, is March 24, 2017.  
  • NTCA urged the FCC to correct or clarify the capital investment allowance and address the adverse effects on consumers from the application of the local service rate floor policy. In a separate meeting, NTCA urged the FCC to act on the January 2015 Application for Review and the August 2014 Petition for Reconsideration, both filed by NTCA, NECA, ERTA, and WTA, on the local service rate floor.  
  • WTA urged full funding of both the A-CAM path and the RoR path for USF support and urged elimination or suspension of the local service rate floor.  
  • R. Craig Cook, CEO of Hill Country Telephone Cooperative, testified on behalf of NTCA before the House hearing on the “Next Farm Bill: Rural Development & Energy Programs,” discussing the importance of USDA financing for broadband network projects.  
  • Chairman Pai and Commissioners Clyburn and O’Rielly testified before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee’s oversight hearing on the FCC.
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  • Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Michael Lee (R-Utah) introduced the Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone Calls (HANGUP) Act, which would strike a provision of the 2015 Budget Act that exempts callers collecting debt owed or guaranteed by the federal government from robocalling and robotexting protections.
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  • ASAP Paging filed comments on whether certain docketed proceedings listed in the Public Notice should be terminated as dormant. ASAP opposed dismissal of ASAP’s petition for preemption of the Texas PUC on retail rating of local calls to CMRS carriers. Replies due March 20. 

March 6, 2017 - REGSCan

  • Reply comments were filed by NTCA, ERTA, and the Nebraska Companies on the FNPRM asking whether to expand the A-CAM budget for rate-of-return carriers to provide additional funding with an associated increase in broadband deployment obligations.  
  • NTCA urged the FCC to correct or clarify the capital investment allowance and address the adverse effects upon consumers from the application of the local service rate floor policy.  
  • The FCC released the Order it adopted at its February Open Meeting that relieved small broadband providers from the enhanced reporting requirements in the 2015 Open Internet Order for five years.  
  • The FCC announced it released data on fixed broadband deployment as of June 30, 2016.  
  • The FCC announced it is opening a new docket to target and eliminate unlawful robocalls.  
  • NTCA and TDS discussed the phase-down of support for voice service in the E-rate program.  
  • Commissioner O’Rielly wrote a blog post on the FCC’s information collections, noting the FCC has over 423 active information collections demanding over 457 million responses each year, which require a total of over 73 million hours to complete at a cost of about $798 million.