Benefits of Tariffs and Pool Participation
With USF rate-of-return reform continuing to bring widespread rule changes and further revisions to broadband funding, participating in NECA's pools and tariffs is more important than ever.
Pooling helps members manage cost recovery, cash flow and reporting obligations
Participating in the NECA pool shares the risks of inaccurate forecasting among other pool members, minimizing the effects on any individual pool member. Pooling also helps members realize the authorized rate of return on interstate investment on a timely basis, stabilizes cash flow, and minimizes the risks of unforeseen events such as natural disasters or loss of large customers. We also facilitate the preparation of mandatory data collections and file that data on behalf of our pool members, so they avoid considerable time and expense, as well as the risk of penalties or forfeiture of funds for missed or inaccurate filings.
Tariffs keep pace with emerging market needs
We continue to seek innovative tariff solutions to address the changing marketplace. In addition to our rate banding process, which gives members the ability to charge rates closer to their actual costs and demand, our rate band buy down option gives members even more flexibility by allowing them to charge rates using a lower rate band than the one initially assigned by NECA. This allows members to reduce rates while still enjoying all the benefits of participating in NECA’s tariff.
A new benefit this year is our rate band flexibility option. It will allow many TS pool participants to adjust their proposed special access rate bands to a lower rate band in one or two service categories and a higher rate band in the remaining services (generating an equal revenue amount in aggregate).
2019 tariff initiatives
Building on last year’s efforts to add or enhance services to align our interstate access tariff (F.C.C. No. 5) with market realities, we are planning many key initiatives for 2019, including:
- A new ETS E-rate option offering to help serve schools, libraries and educational consortium with lower ETS rates.
- Higher ETS speeds at 100 Gbps and 200 Gbps to provide faster services due to the demands of streaming media.
- A 2019 ETS Fixed Rate Option.
- Potential tariffing of an ETS Low Bit Rate Virtual Circuit Channel to be used over a consumer broadband line.
2018 offerings respond to member needs
In 2018, we continued to align our interstate access tariff with market realities by increasing tariff flexibility. Here are some of our accomplishments:
- Introduced a new Ethernet Transport Service Fixed Rate Option, which provides stabilized monthly rates for all ETS customers and retention of the same rate level when bidding multi-year contracts.
- Simplified the ETS real time and non-real time class of service/quality of service rate structure to apply a single per-Mbps rate across all speed options rather than the 16 rates we previously had for both intra and inter-switch Ethernet Virtual Connections.
- Modified the one-way ETS Multi-Media Virtual Circuit Channel total transmission capacity for an Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line to no greater than 1 Gbps, providing consistency between the one-way and two-way ETS MM-VCCs.
- Removed the requirement specifying two-way ETS MM-VCCs are only available for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line/Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line services with capacities of 10 Mbps or greater, allowing higher speeds to be provided on copper facilities.
- Introduced a 500 Mbps ordering increment to the ETS bandwidth add-on optional feature on speeds of 1 Gbps, 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps, which allows a customer to go from 5 Gbps to 6 Gbps without having to purchase the next available tariffed speed of 10 Gbps.
- Added seven new ETS speeds - 200 Mbps, 300 Mbps, 400 Mbps, 600 Mbps, 700 Mbps, 800 Mbps and 900 Mbps - to more precisely meet requirements of requests for proposals for ETS backhaul applications.
NECA works directly with the FCC on members’ behalf
Our regulatory expertise includes closely monitoring FCC activity with regard to access tariffs and rule changes, taking action to support member needs and keeping them informed of how these complex matters affect them. We work directly with FCC staff to clarify and resolve many telecom and broadband-related issues, including universal service requirements, so members don’t have to expend efforts in this increasingly complex area.
Training options tailored to meet member needs
Members can also take advantage of our free training sessions on a wide variety of topics. Many of these sessions are webcasts, so members can receive training without spending time out of the office and avoid the associated travel costs.
We’re here for members
NECA is dedicated to providing outstanding member service and communications as we work together through the transitions facing the industry. We are committed to helping members adapt to the new regulatory landscape and continuing to deliver the vital communications services needed to keep customers connected.