Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP are reproduced in this section with the firm’s permission.
|BloostonLaw Telecom Update||Vol. 18, No. 17||April 22, 2015|
REMINDER: FCC Public Workshop on Broadband Consumer Privacy on April 28
As we reported in the April 1 edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC’s Wireline Competition and Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureaus will be holding a public workshop on April 28 to “explore the Commission’s role in protecting the privacy of consumers that use broadband Internet access service.” Now that Section 222 of the Communications Act applies to broadband internet access service, we encourage clients to take steps to ensure their privacy practices are sufficient. The workshop will be broadcast live at www.fcc.gov/live.
FCC Gives RLEC Industry 30 Days to Negotiate High Cost Fund Plan
On April 16, the FCC called a group of industry stakeholders (including WTA, NTCA, NECA, USTelecom, ITTA and the Nebraska Rural Companies) to a meeting in the Chairman’s Conference Room to encourage them to work together to find common ground and develop a Connect America Fund (CAF) for rate-of-return (RoR) carriers (RLECs) that can be implemented by the end of 2015. The stakeholders were asked to work together over the next thirty days to develop a plan.
Commissioner Michael O’Rielly and FCC Chief of Staff Ruth Milkman opened the meeting by providing general guidance. Commissioner O’Rielly stated that neither he nor the other Commissioners had preconceived ideas or plans, and that they were guided by principles that: (a) rural areas have insufficient broadband; (b) any CAF for RLECs must stay within the current USF budget; and (c) any plan must show a path forward that allows companies to plan and invest for the future.
Ms. Milkman reiterated that the FCC was committed to the goal of ensuring that rural areas have access to voice and broadband services. She stated that any plan proposed by the rural stakeholders must be supported by a “vast majority” of (but not necessarily all) RLECs, and must meet the four objectives of the FCC’s 2014 Seventh Order on Reconsideration in the CAF proceeding (i.e., stay within the existing $2 billion budget; provide equitable and fair distribution; employ forward-looking costs; and entail no double recovery).
Ms. Milkman offered several points as potential aids to industry negotiations. She said: (a) one-time or multi-year support from CAF reserves may be available to supplement the $2 billion budget; (b) the FCC is open to thinking of “forward-looking costs” in a different way that would “look to first principles” but that does not necessarily require a cost model; (c) phasing-in of the ultimate plan is acceptable so that not everything must happen at the same time; and (d) a package of proposals might be the best way forward, so that the “plan” does not have to be the same for all carriers. She indicated that Wireline Bureau staff would be available to assist during the industry negotiations if needed.
Carol Mattey of the Wireline Bureau then took over the meeting. She recognized that the likely result would be some RLECs opting to move to a cost model while others remained on RoR mechanisms. The central issue would be how an optional plan might work, and whether the budget would be wrecked if every RLEC chose the option providing it with the most money. Given that RLECs selecting the cost model option would be required to meet broadband build-out conditions (like the price cap carriers, who need to provide a defined level of service to a specified percentage of locations within certain time periods), she expressed her belief that not all RLECs that gain money under model-based support would actually move to the cost model. She also noted that some of the available CAF reserves could be used to cover increased support (but that a substantial portion of those reserves must be saved for price cap census blocks that receive no bids in reverse auctions).
The cost model included in the ultimate CAF plan is virtually certain to be the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) that the FCC recently described in a Public Notice (and which we reported in the previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update). Ms. Mattey indicated that the process of correcting study area boundaries and central office locations is coming to a close (with RLEC submissions due May 11), and that individual companies will also be allowed to change their plant mix. Otherwise, she asserted that the A-CAM model is largely done, and that there will not be major changes or further iterations of it going forward. At this time, the Wireline Bureau staff appears to favor Scenario 1.3 of the A-CAM Model (which caps support dollars at $230 per location). At the end of 2015, the A-CAM model that is in place at that time will be the basis for companies to make the determination as to whether they voluntarily opt into model-based support during the initial election period. Ms. Mattey stated that there may be multiple opt-in periods, but that there could be “special incentives” for companies to opt in during the first year.
The RoR mechanism is likely to be a modified version of the existing High Cost Loop Support (HCLS) and Interstate Common Line Support (ICLS) mechanisms, plus the Digital Communications Service plan (DCS, formerly known as the Data-Only Broadband Plan) that is currently pending before the FCC. The FCC at one point during the meeting indicated that there were problems with the DCS proposal because it used actual rather than forward-looking costs, and at another point asked why it could not be incorporated into the existing ICLS mechanism rather than employing a new mechanism. What was clear is that the Wireline Bureau wants operating expense limitations as well as capital expenditure limitations to be placed on the ultimate RoR mechanisms, and that such limitations may help to resolve the forward-looking cost issue. RLECs remaining on the existing RoR mechanisms would continue to be governed by the “reasonable request” standard rather than the build-out conditions applicable to those electing model-based support.
Ms. Mattey indicated that it may be more appropriate for ROR carriers to have a 10-year deployment period (rather than the 6-year period of price cap carriers). Among other things, the longer deployment period would reduce competition with price cap carriers for fiber and contractors.
A question was asked regarding competitive overlaps and areas where support will not be provided due to the presence of unsubsidized competitors. The Wireline Bureau made it clear that it found the challenge process used with respect to price cap areas to be difficult and costly, and does not want to use it for the RLEC sector. Instead, the Bureau intends to rely on filer-certified Form 477 data and let such data provide a “conclusive presumption” regarding the presence or absence of unsubsidized competitors. Whereas this may not affect many RLECs while the current 100% overlap standard remains in place, it is likely to cause problems if the FCC in the future reduces the overlap criterion to 70-to-80 percent of a study area’s population, or adopts its still-pending proposal to deny HCLS and ICLS support for new construction in census blocks served by an unsubsidized competitor.
Negotiations have already begun looking toward development of a plan that can be supported by the “vast majority” of RLECs. The critical issue will be bringing the ultimate model-based and RLEC support mechanisms within a budget acceptable to the FCC. Whereas it is clear to most reasonable people that 10 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream broadband cannot be deployed throughout RLEC service areas for $2.0 billion of annual high-cost support, it is not yet clear how much additional temporary or permanent high-cost support the FCC will offer in order to achieve some certainty and stability for RLEC broadband deployment during the next 10 years.
FCC Seeks Further Comment on Rural Telco Bid Credit and Other DE Issues
The FCC last Friday adopted a Public Notice (FCC 14-49) seeking further comment on modifications to its Part 1 Designated Entity (or “DE”) rules that will apply to the 600 MHz broadcast incentive auction. Among the items gaining traction with the Commission is a proposal advanced by the Blooston Rural Carriers that rural telephone companies and rural telco affiliates should be entitled to a 25% bidding credit when bidding for licenses in areas where they have ETC status. This credit would come in addition to any small business bid credit for which a rural telco bidder is entitled. If adopted as proposed, a rural telco that also qualifies as a small business could be entitled to as much as a 50% reduction in its gross winning bids.
Initial comments of the Blooston Rural Carriers provided the Commission with a detailed analysis of the recent AWS-3 auction results as a statistical basis for adopting a rural telco bid credit. The BloostonLaw comments demonstrated that small business bidding credits alone were not sufficient in helping rural telcos succeed in auctions. Under Section 309(j) of the Communications Act, the FCC has a statutory obligation to ensure that small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by members of minority groups and women have an opportunity to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services.
“Just five of the eleven rural telco entities that had winning bids sought eligibility for small business bid credits (while the other seven did not), and the total (gross) of rural entities’ 25 winning bids was $14,717,600,” wrote BloostonLaw. “The net total of these bids was $13,846,250. Thus, the entire rural telephone industry received just $871,350 in small business bidding credits in Auction 97, or less than three hundredths of a percent (0.024%) of the total $3.57 billion in small business bid credits granted by the Commission.”
As our clients may recall, small business DEs owned 85% by DISH Network were able to take advantage of loopholes in the Commission’s rules and secure $3.3 billion in bid credits in the AWS-3 auction. In seeking comment on the rural telco bid credit, the FCC stated: “In addition to the data submitted by Blooston Rural, commenters are invited to provide additional analyses to demonstrate the need for a rural bidding credit.”
The FCC’s Public Notice seeks further comment on a variety of proposals to modify the attributable material relationship (or “AMR”) rule, to restrict the ability of nationwide and/or regional carriers from providing a material portion of the total capitalization of a DE applicant, and whether the Commission should modify its unjust enrichment rules to ensure that bidding credits are extended only to qualifying small businesses. The Commission also seeks further comment on its proposal to raise the small business eligibility revenue threshold from $40 million to $55 million, which would allow a larger pool of rural telephone companies (and other entities) to qualify for the existing small business bidding credits.
Last month, attorneys for BloostonLaw, NTCA and RWA met with the FCC Commissioners and Wireless Bureau staff to emphasize the importance of adopting a bid credit so that RLECs with a demonstrated commitment to serving rural communities would have a realistic shot when bidding in the broadcast incentive auction. While some Commissioners and staff appeared to be receptive to our arguments, others seemed more interested in preventing a repeat of the DISH Network bid credit fiasco, and it was clear that all were being barraged with requests for special treatment by other classes of DEs.
Rural carriers should feel encouraged that the FCC seems to be taking a serious look at adopting a rural telco bidding credit, but it is especially important that our clients make a strong showing in this upcoming comment cycle to help seal the deal. Active participation by BloostonLaw clients in the Incentive Auction NPRM and in ex parte follow-up was instrumental last year in helping to steer the Commission away from its initial proposal to use Economic Areas (or “EAs) as the basis for forward licensing of the 600 MHz band, and crafting smaller Partial Economic Areas (or “PEAs”) as a compromise. We will need similar strength in numbers to make sure our proposal for a rural telephone bidding credit is heard and adopted.
Further comments are due 21 days after publication of the Public Notice in the Federal Register, with reply comments due 28 days after Federal Register publication. We will advise our clients of the comment deadline once it is set and we will circulate draft comments for your review and input in the coming weeks.
FCC Creates Citizens Broadband Radio Service, Folds Existing 3.65 to 3.7 GHz Band into Rules
Yesterday, the FCC released its Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which adopted rules for a newly created Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). As part of this action, the FCC folded the existing commercial 3.65 – 3.7 GHz band into the CBRS to create 150 MHz of contiguous spectrum, from 3.55 through 3.7 GHz, for the provision of mobile broadband and other commercial services. The FCC believes that its action will be a significant step to meeting its ultimate nationwide goal for 500 MHz of broadband spectrum.
The FCC has created a federal/non-federal three tiered sharing frame-work for CBRS. Incumbent users will be located in a protected tier that will provide interference protection from other users in the CBRS. These protected users will include Department of Defense radar installations operating in the 3.55 – 3.65 GHz band, Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) facilities and, as discussed below, grandfathered terrestrial wireless operations in the 3.65 – 3.7 GHz band. The CBRS itself will consist of two tiers – Priority Access and General Authorized Access. Users in these tiers may be authorized at any given location and on any frequency within the 3.55 – 3.7 GHz band by a Spectrum Access System (SAS). It is important to note users in the Priority Access Tier will be entitled to protection from operations in the General Authorized Access Tier, while users in the General Authorized Access Tier will not be entitled to protection from interference from other CBRS users. Priority Access Licensees (“PALs”) will be authorized to operate a 10 MHz channel in a single census tract for three years and will be assigned up to 70 MHz of the 3.55 – 3.65 GHz band, while General Authorized Access use will be permitted throughout the entire 150 MHz of the 3.55 – 3.7 GHz band (subject to protecting PALs from interference). Additionally, the General Authorized Access (GAA) Tier will allow any user with an FCC certified device to operate without any further FCC approval, while the Priority Access Tier will make spectrum available on a geographic basis through the auction process to the extent that there are mutually exclusive applications.
Grandfathering of Existing 3.65 – 3.7 GHz Licensees
Numerous licensees, including many of our clients, already operate in the 3.65 – 3.7 GHz band pursuant to the registration system created by the FCC. To accommodate these licensees, the FCC has created a two tiered grandfathering schedule, depending upon when the underlying 3.65 -3.7 GHz service license was issued. For those licenses issued prior to January 8, 2013 (the date that the FCC published its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register), licensees will have the longer of the remaining license term or until April 17, 2020 (i.e., 5 years from the Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was adopted). For those licenses issued after January 8, 2013, the grandfathering period will be limited to 5 years or until April 17, 2020. This is because the FCC has concluded that these licensees were on notice that the 3.65 – 3.7 GHz band could be folded into the CBRS. In order to protect incumbent 3.65 – 3.7 GHz licensees, the FCC has taken the following steps:
- Restrict Priority Access use from the 3.65 – 3.7 GHz band so that this portion of the band will still be available on a non-exclusive basis to the former Part 90 incumbents;
- The technical rules will accommodate existing 3.65 – 3.7 GHz deployments, and increase technical flexibility in rural areas;
- Exempt equipment deployed pursuant to Part 90 of the FCC’s rules from the FCC’s band-wide operability rule, in order to prevent the need for retrofitting or abandonment of legacy equipment; and
- Defining a Citizens Broadband Radio Service Device (CBSD) in a flexible manner in order to encompass a “network” of base stations, so that legacy equipment can interact with the SAS at a relatively low cost (since most licensees are utilizing WiMAX technology).
The FCC concluded that there are a few highly technical areas where additional record development would provide beneficial clarity or consensus to shape some specific parts of the rules. In the Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission offers focused proposals for further comment. The FCC is encouraging commenters to “work with other stakeholders to narrow points of difference.” Among the topics on which further comment is sought:
Comments in connection with the Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be due 30 days following publication in the Federal Register while Reply Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. To the extent that clients may be dissatisfied with the FCC’s action, Petitions for Reconsideration will be due 30 days following publication in the Federal Register.
- When Priority Access rights have not been issued (e.g., due to lack of demand) or the spectrum is not actually in use by a Priority Access licensee, the SAS will automatically make that spectrum available for GAA use on a local and granular basis. The FCC wants input on how to implement this “use-it-or-share-it” rule. In particular, when is spectrum being “used” by a PAL and therefore protected?
- Some have advocated an engineering approach, in essence defining a protected contour or power on the part of the PAL, and requiring any general users to honor that. The FCC is concerned that this approach can be gamed by deploying low cost license saver transmitters to prevent GAA use.
- An alternative approach presented in the record is to define “use” from an economic perspective for the purposes of determining GAA access to PAL spectrum. This includes a proposal by MIT economist William Lehr to allow PALs to make a down payment on their exclusive license, and pay the balance only when they go to force general users off of the spectrum. This would allow auction winners to delay payment of part of their purchase price, giving them an incentive to work with GAAs for some period of time. The FCC seeks comment on this or other ideas, and how spectrum hoarding can be avoided.
- The Commission also seeks comment on any hybrid proposals that combine aspects of the engineering and economic approaches. For example, Federated Wireless suggests that PALs should pay a “nominal usage fee for those periods that the spectrum [is] actively needed.” Federated maintains that such a usage fee would incentivize Priority Access licensees to only reserve spectrum that they intend to use.
- The FCC also seeks further comment regarding partitioning and disaggregation of priority access licenses. The Commission’s initial view is to prohibit such further segmentation of PALs given their relatively small size (census tracts) and limited duration (three years) as well as the availability of significant GAA spectrum in all license areas. Some commenters, however, urge the Commission to allow full partitioning and disaggregation of PALs, just as is allowed for other auction licenses.
- The FCC also seeks comment on the application of spectrum aggregation limits to PAL licensees. Should the FCC use the attribution standard applied in its existing rules to transactions involving mobile wireless licenses for commercial use? How should spectrum aggregation limits be applied in the context of the initial licensing of PALs?
- The FCC asks for comments on how to implement standards for protecting existing FSS operations.
Law & Regulation
House Introduces “Legislative Trifecta” on FCC Transparency
On April 21, members of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee today announced three draft proposals aimed at improving transparency at the Federal Communications Commission. A hearing entitled “FCC Reauthorization: Improving Commission Transparency” and featuring testimony from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mike O’Rielly will be held to discuss the draft bills on April 30.
The first bill would require the FCC to give 48 hours advance notice of any order, decision, report, or action made or taken pursuant to delegated authority. The second bill would prohibit the FCC from adopting any order, decision, report, or action by vote unless it made available on the FCC’s website either (a) 24 hours in advance of being placed on circulation for review by the Commissioners or (b) 21 days before the date on which the vote is to occur. The third bill would require the FCC to publish the text of any addition, amendment, or repeal of its Rules in the Code of Federal Regulations within 24 hours of adoption.
“We’ve got a trifecta for transparency. These bills are excellent next steps for our #CommActUpdate as we continue work to reform the FCC,” said Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “At our hearing next week, Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner O’Rielly’s testimony will help shine the spotlight on current commission practices as we take a look at three commonsense proposals to improve transparency at the FCC. At the end of the day, more transparency is always better.”
Congress Looks to Expand Amount of 5 GHz Spectrum Available for Unlicensed Use
In an effort to increase the amount of unlicensed spectrum that is available for consumers, House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders this week announced that they would initiate meetings with the FCC, NTIA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to discuss the feasibility of making additional spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band (i.e., 5850-5925 MHz) available for unlicensed use. This follows legislation introduced last February — bills S.424 in the Senate and H.R.821 in the House — directing the FCC and NTIA to evaluate technologies that will facilitate sharing of the 5.9 GHz band.
“Whether for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or the countless uses we have not yet dreamed of, unlicensed spectrum has been a source of tremendous innovation that drives our Internet economy,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), and Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA).
The planned discussions will examine the FCC and administration’s efforts to safely increase unlicensed access to the 5.9 GHz band without harming the existing work being done on the use of Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) as a way to improve auto safety through Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). By way of background, in 2003, the FCC allocated 75 MHz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band to be used by ITS vehicle safety and mobility applications. The DOT believes that DSRC vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications will require access to dedicated wireless spectrum to ensure reliable communications with minimal interference in all types of weather conditions. Allowing the 5.9 GHz band to be used by consumers (an idea which has long been championed by the cable industry) is therefore likely to be opposed by DSRC and ITS proponents.
A statement from FCC Commissioners Mike O’Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel praised the Committee’s efforts to expand access to the 5.9 MHz band and suggests that at least two FCC Commissioners believe that ITS and consumer use of the band can coexist.
“More than a decade and a half after this spectrum was set aside for vehicle and roadside systems, we agree it is time to take a modern look at the possibilities for wireless services in these airwaves, to allow a broader range of uses,” said the Commissioners in a joint statement. “We believe by taking steps right now, we can support automobile safety, increase spectrum for Wi-Fi, and grow our wireless economy.”
Further Petitions for Review of Open Internet Order Filed
Since the publication of the increasingly infamous Open Internet Order in the Federal Register last week, five new Petitions for Review have been filed, bringing the total up to seven.
Joining the first-out-of-the-gate filings by Alamo Broadband and USTelecom are the American Cable Association, AT&T, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), CTIA — The Wireless Association, and CenturyLink. However, the publication of an FCC order in the Federal Register merely starts the sixty-day window for Petitions for Review to be filed, leaving plenty of time for additional filings.
Since Petitions have been filed in more than one circuit (Alamo Broadband filed its Petition for Review in the 5th Circuit while the others have been filed in the D.C. Circuit), the Judicial Panel on Multi-district Litigation will choose one of those circuits to be the court which will actually hear the case via lottery. The deadline to submit a Petition for consideration in the lottery is substantially shorter — ten days (April 23). Readers may recall the process from early 2012, as it led to the 10th Circuit being the venue for review of the USF/ICC Transformation Order.
Nokia Announces Plans to Merge with Alcatel-Lucent
Last week, Finnish telecom equipment manufacturer Nokia announced that it would buy Alcatel-Lucent in an all-stock transaction that values Alcatel at $16.6 billion. If consummated, the deal would create a telecom equipment supply giant that would surpass market leader Ericsson and China’s up-and-comers Huawei Technologies and ZTE in wireless infrastructure revenue. Nokia sold its handset business to Microsoft for $7.2 billion in 2013, helping return Nokia to profitability in 2014.
“Our innovation capability will be extraordinary, bringing together the R&D engine of Nokia with that of Alcatel-Lucent and its iconic Bell Labs,” said Rajeev Suri, President and CEO of Nokia. “We will continue to combine this strength with the highly efficient, lean operations needed to compete on a global scale.”
The proposed deal is expected to bolster Nokia’s ability to compete in China, a market with 1.3 billion mobile subscribers, as well as to compete for contracts from Verizon Wireless and AT&T. However, initial enthusiasm about the merger quickly died down and the price of Nokia stock at the end of last week hand dropped below where it had been when merger rumors first surfaced.
While a merger of the companies was rumored back in 2013, and again last December, analysts have come to believe that it will take years for the companies to integrate sales, engineering and managerial teams, and cultural issues will make it difficult for the Finnish company to integrate the French and American operations into a stable set of units.
In addition to approval from Alcatel-Lucent’s board and both companies’ shareholders, the proposed transaction is subject to regulatory approvals from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and French securities regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF). Nokia expects that the transaction will be completed in the first half of 2016.
MAY 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its recent decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual form (Form 499-A) that was due April 1.
JUNE 1: FCC FORM 395, EMPLOYMENT REPORT. Common carriers, including wireless carriers, with 16 or more full-time employees must file their annual Common Carrier Employment Reports (FCC Form 395) by May 31. However, because May 31 falls on a Sunday this year, the filing will be due on June 1. This report tracks carrier compliance with rules requiring recruitment of minority employees. Further, the FCC requires all common carriers to report any employment discrimination complaints they received during the past year. That information is also due on June 1. The FCC encourages carriers to complete the discrimination report requirement by filling out Section V of Form 395, rather than submitting a separate report.
JULY 1: FCC FORM 481 (CARRIER ANNUAL REPORTING DATA COLLECTION FORM). All eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) must report the information required by Section 54.313, which includes outage, unfulfilled service request, and complaint data, broken out separately for voice and broadband services, information on the ETC’s holding company, operating companies, ETC affiliates and any branding in response to section 54.313(a)(8); its CAF-ICC certification, if applicable; its financial information, if a privately held rate-of-return carrier; and its satellite back-haul certification, if applicable. Form 481 must not only be filed with USAC, but also with the FCC and the relevant state commission and tribal authority, as appropriate. Although USAC treats the filing as confidential, filers must seek confidential treatment separately with the FCC and the relevant state commission and tribal authority if confidential treatment is desired.
JULY 1: MOBILITY FUND PHASE I ANNUAL REPORT. Winning bidders in Auction 901 that are authorized to receive Mobility Fund Phase I support are required to submit to the Commission an annual report each year on July 1 for the five years following authorization. Each annual report must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, clearly referencing WT Docket No. 10-208; the Universal Service Administrator; and the relevant state commissions, relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal governments, as appropriate. The information and certifications required to be included in the annual report are described in Section 54.1009 of the Commission’s rules.
JULY 31: FCC FORM 507, UNIVERSAL SERVICE QUARTERLY LINE COUNT UPDATE. Line count updates are required to recalculate a carrier's per line universal service support, and is filed with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). This information must be submitted on July 31 each year by all rate-of-return incumbent carriers, and on a quarterly basis if a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier (CETC) has initiated service in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area and reported line count data to USAC in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area, in order for the incumbent carrier to be eligible to receive Interstate Common Line Support (ICLS). This quarterly filing is due July 31 and covers lines served as of December 31, 2014. Incumbent carriers filing on a quarterly basis must also file on September 30 (for lines served as of March 31, 2015); December 30 (for lines served as of June 30, 2015), and March 31, 2016, for lines served as of September 30, 2015).
JULY 31: CARRIER IDENTIFICATION CODE (CIC) REPORTS. Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Reports must be filed by the last business day of July (this year, July 31). These reports are required of all carriers who have been assigned a CIC code by NANPA. Failure to file could result in an effort by NANPA to reclaim it, although according to the Guidelines this process is initiated with a letter from NANPA regarding the apparent non-use of the CIC code. The assignee can then respond with an explanation. (Guidelines Section 6.2). The CIC Reporting Requirement is included in the CIC Assignment Guidelines, produced by ATIS. According to section 1.4 of that document: At the direction of the NANPA, the access providers and the entities who are assigned CICs will be requested to provide access and usage information to the NANPA, on a semi-annual basis to ensure effective management of the CIC resource. (Holders of codes may respond to the request at their own election). Access provider and entity reports shall be submitted to NANPA no later than January 31 for the period ending December 31, and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. It is also referenced in the NANPA Technical Requirements Document, which states at 7.18.6: CIC holders shall provide a usage report to the NANPA per the industry CIC guidelines … The NAS shall be capable of accepting CIC usage reports per guideline requirements on January 31 for the period ending December 31 and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. These reports may also be mailed and accepted by the NANPA in paper form. Finally, according to the NANPA website, if no local exchange carrier reports access or usage for a given CIC, NANPA is obliged to reclaim it. The semi-annual utilization and access reporting mechanism is described at length in the guidelines.
Calendar At A Glance
May 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
May 11 – Deadline to submit revisions to Alternative Connect America Cost Model map.
May 18 – Short Form Tariff Review Plan is due.
May 29 – Comments on Short Form Tariff Review Plans are due.
Jun. 1 – FCC Form 395 (Annual Employment Report) is due.
Jun. 5 – Reply comments on Short Form Tariff Review Plans are due.
Jun. 16 – Tariffs filed on 15 days’ notice are due.
Jun. 23 – Petitions to Suspend or Reject Tariffs filed on 15 days’ notice are due.
Jun. 24 – Tariffs filed on 7 days’ notice are due.
Jun. 26 – Replies to Petitions to Suspend or Reject Tariffs filed on 15 days’ notice are due.
Jun. 26 – Petitions to Suspend or Reject Tariffs filed on 7 days’ notice are due by noon Eastern Time.
Jun. 29 – Replies to Petitions to Suspend or Reject Tariffs filed on 7 days’ notice due by noon Eastern Time.
Jul. 1 – FCC Form 481 (Carrier Annual Reporting Data Collection Form) is due.
Jul. 1 – FCC Form 690 (Mobility Fund Phase I Auction Winner Annual Report) is due.
Jul. 31 – FCC Form 507 (Universal Service Quarterly Line Count Update) is due.
Jul. 31 – Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Report is due.