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April 15, 2019 - REGScan

  • Reply comments were filed on the FNPRM on implementing an auction mechanism for support in RoR legacy support areas that are overlapped by an unsubsidized competitor, addressing budgetary impacts as carriers transition to broadband-only lines, and applying the Tribal Broadband Factor from the A-CAM II offer to legacy carriers.  
  • USTelecom supported the current draft Order eliminating the local service rate floor, and said the FCC should take swift action in this matter because some carriers have fast approaching state notification and tariffing requirements well in advance of the Commission’s deadline for action.  
  • ITTA, USTelecom, and WISPA supplemented the proposals in their Petition for Reconsideration of the Network Testing Order related to the frequency of latency testing, manner of speed and latency testing, and implementation timing.  
  • Chairman Pai discussed 5G initiatives and said the FCC will create a new $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, with the money targeted at extending high-speed broadband to up to four million homes and small businesses in rural America. Summary of initiatives.  
  • An item entitled “Universal Service Contribution Methodology” was placed on circulation with the Commission.  
  • AT&T addressed questions raised by Commission staff regarding access stimulation and urged the Commission to act promptly either to complete its stated goal of finishing the transition of switched access traffic to bill-and-keep or to adopt only “Prong 1” in the  pending NPRM on access stimulation.  
  • The FCC announced the Office of Management and Budget has approved, for a period of three years, the information collection associated with rules requiring intermediate providers to register with the Commission before offering to transmit covered voice communications. Section 64.2115 is effective May 15, 2019.

April 8, 2019 - REGScan

  • The FCC issued the agenda for its April 12, 2019 Open Meeting. The FCC will consider six items, including an Order proposing to eliminate the local service rate floor and its accompanying reporting obligations and an Order partially granting USTelecom’s Forbearance Petition.  
  • The FCC announced it is ready to authorize CAF Phase II auction support for the Auction 903 winning bids identified in the attachment to the Public Notice. Applicants are required to submit irrevocable standby letter(s) of credit and Bankruptcy Code opinion letter(s) by April 17, 2019.  
  • Commissioner O’Rielly wrote a blog post on a draft item establishing an overall budget for the USF.  
  • NTCA supported elimination of the local service rate floor policy and suggested a waiver of the rule may be necessary due to timing concerns. NTCA also discussed the importance of sufficient and predictable USF funding in making the business case for network investments and also then sustaining the delivery of voice and broadband services in rural America and on tribal lands.  
  • LICT and WTA discussed network performance testing requirements for RLECs and other small recipients of high-cost support. They discussed the problem of availability, cost, and compatibility of the performance testing hardware and software that is currently being developed for RLECs and others that do not have the resources to construct their own.   
  • USTelecom asserted granting Viasat’s Petition for Reconsideration to alter the voice testing methodology set forth in the Performance Metrics Order would undermine the integrity of the CAF program and its auction process.  
  • The Wireline Competition Bureau issued an Order establishing procedures for the 2019 annual access charge tariff filings and Tariff Review Plans for ILECs.

  • Comments were filed on the NPRM proposing to amend the Truth in Caller ID rules to implement the anti-spoofing provisions of the RAY BAUM’S Act. Reply comments are due May 3, 2019.

April 1, 2019 - REGScan 

  • The FCC announced Petitions for Reconsideration of the December 13, 2018 RoR USF Reform Order have been filed by Pineland Telephone and Silver Star Telephone. Oppositions are due 15 days after this notice is published in the Federal Register. Replies due 10 days after oppositions.  
  • NTCA discussed its support for elimination of the local service rate floor policy, and suggested a waiver of the rule may be necessary due to timing concerns.  
  • USTelecom, AT&T, CenturyLink, Consolidated, Frontier, and Windstream discussed USTelecom’s proposal for a system for batch-updating USAC’s HUBB portal.  
  • PRA comments are due May 28, 2019, on an extension of a currently approved information collection associated with study area boundary data reporting in Esri shapefile format.   
  • CenturyLink claimed the FCC intended in the Transformation Order for its VoIP-PSTN framework to encompass both fixed and nomadic VoIP, and the only reasonable conclusion is the FCC anticipated that LECs would not be prohibited from assessing end office switching charges on over-the-top traffic.  
  • The Wireline Competition Bureau released an Order designating eight providers as ETCs, conditioned upon and limited to petitioners’ authorization to receive support awarded through the CAF Phase II auction.  
  • The Second Report and Order that created a comprehensive database to enable callers to verify whether a telephone number has been disconnected before calling that number is effective March 26, 2019. Compliance will not be required for sections 52.15(f)(1)(ii)(8), 52.103(d), and 64.1200(l)(1) until OMB approval.

  • USDA Rural Development will start to accept applications for the Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program on April 23, 2019.  Deadlines are May 31, 2019, for grants; June 21, 2019, for loan/grant combinations; and July 12, 2019, for low-interest loans.