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February

February 20, 2018 - REGSCan

  • President Trump released his plan for rebuilding America’s infrastructure and his FY 2019 budget proposal. The $200 billion infrastructure plan includes $50 billion for a rural infrastructure program that would distribute funds to the states as block grants to be used for infrastructure projects in rural areas with populations of less than 50,000. Trump discussed funds for broadband in a meeting on the plan.  
  • The FCC released the agenda for its February 22, 2018 Open Meeting, and will consider, among other things: an Order addressing the remaining issues raised in petitions for reconsideration of the Mobility Fund Phase II Order; and a Report and Order eliminating expired payphone compensation rules. The FCC will also hear a presentation on a new National Broadband Map.  
  • The FCC issued an Order reconsidering rules adopted in the Rate-of-Return Reform Order relating to RoR LECs provision of consumer broadband-only loops. Specifically, the FCC revised rules related to the surrogate cost method and Access Recovery Charge imputation. The FCC also clarified issues relating to reductions in CAF Broadband Loop Support due to competitive overlap.  
  • The FCC will hold a workshop on the application process for the CAF Phase II auction on March 14, 2018. The FCC announced the OMB has approved, for a period of three years, the collection of geocoded location information from recipients of CAF Phase II support.  
  • The FCC announced the OMB approved a new, one-time information collection for the Mobility Fund II challenge process. The FCC announced the availability of the web-based form that participants in the MF Phase II challenge process must use to request access to USAC’s challenge process portal.  
  • The Colorado Telecommunications Association discussed Chairman Pai’s Order currently being circulated to provide additional funding for rate-of-return and model-based USF support.  
  • The FCC denied Level 3’s complaint claiming AT&T and its price cap carrier subsidiaries filed tariff revisions that do not properly implement the year six access rate step-down in section 51.907(g)(2).
  • The FCC seeks comment on SDN’s Petition asking the FCC to assert its jurisdiction over a dispute between SDN and Northern Valley Communications concerning interstate traffic and associated facilities at issue in a South Dakota case. Comments due March 14, 2018; replies due March 29, 2018.  
  • Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee requested information on how the FCC reviewed public comments in the Restoring Internet Freedom proceeding.

  • NTCA and WTA filed comments in support of ATA’s Petition seeking clarification and a waiver of Lifeline minimum service standards. Replies are due February 26, 2018. Public Notice

February 12, 2018 - REGSCan 

  • The Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice to commence the challenge process for Alaska Communications Systems’ proposed eligible areas for its CAF Phase II frozen support. Notifications are due March 22, 2018.   
  • ITTA discussed the Order on circulation to promote more high-speed broadband deployment in rural areas, and reiterated the need for additional funding for model-based rural broadband deployment at $200/month per location and for additional funding for legacy-based RoR carriers to alleviate the effects of the budget control mechanism. The Small Company Coalition also discussed the draft Order. Great Plains Communications, et al. urged the FCC to increase A-CAM funding to $200 per location.  
  • South Dakota Network filed a Petition for Expedited Declaratory Ruling asking the FCC to assert its jurisdiction over a dispute between SDN and Northern Valley Communications concerning interstate traffic and associated facilities at issue in a South Dakota case.  

February 5, 2018 - REGSCan

  • Commissioners O’Rielly and Clyburn wrote a blog post providing a list of expenses that should be excluded from reimbursement from CAF BLS and HCLS and from interstate access rates.  
  • The FCC announced the CAF Phase II auction is scheduled to begin on July 24, 2018, and set a March 30, 2018 deadline for applications to participate. It released a Public Notice setting out detailed procedures for the auction. The FCC released the Order on Reconsideration addressing the issues raised in challenges to the CAF Phase II Auction Order, which was adopted at its January 30, 2018 Open Meeting. The FCC seeks PRA comments on a new information collection, the Application to Participate in the CAF Phase II Auction, FCC Form 183. Comments are due March 2, 2018.  
  • The FCC also adopted the following items at its January 30, 2018 Open Meeting; an Order to establish an Office of Economics and Analytics within the FCC; a Second R&O and Second Order on Reconsideration to enhance the effectiveness of Wireless Emergency Alerts; an NPRM proposing to eliminate the requirement that broadcast licensees and permittees routinely submit paper copies of contracts and other documents to the FCC; and a NAL and Order against DataConnex for apparent violations involving the USF Rural Health Care Program.  
  • The FCC issued the tentative agenda for its February 22, 2018 Open Meeting. The FCC will consider, among other things, an Order addressing the remaining issues raised in petitions for reconsideration of the Mobility Fund Phase II Order and a Report and Order to eliminate all payphone call tracking system audit and associated reporting requirements.  
  • NTCA urged the FCC to address near-term high-cost USF sufficiency concerns and other outstanding issues, and discussed performance measurements for CAF recipients. Hargray said making the expense limitations rules prospective will allow companies to modify their accounting systems to ensure none of the prohibited expenses become part of the rate base. ITTA discussed additional funding for model-based rural broadband deployment at $200/month per location and for additional funding for legacy-based RoR carriers to alleviate the effects of the budget control mechanism.  
  • The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing that considered 25 bills on improving broadband infrastructure.