IN Focus: Change is coming. Are you ready?
Lots of changes are coming our way. A change of seasons as winter gets closer, a change in administrations as we elect a new president in a couple of weeks, and for our industry a huge change in the way members receive universal service support.
Since the Rate-of-Return USF Reform Order came out in March, NECA staff has been working hard on your behalf. (See Big decisions loom in presidential and universal service elections for rate-of-return carriers.) The move from legacy universal service support to one of two new paths is complex and we've been working closely with the FCC and USAC to coordinate all the details prior to the start of the new regime in January.
Although you will have decided which path you are taking before EXPO, there will be several USF-related classes there to help you understand all the ins and outs of the new support system, including reporting requirements. And to sort out what happened on Election Day, political commentator Norm Ornstein will open up the EXPO general session on Monday, November 14. I can't wait to hear what he thinks about the results and what they might mean for our industry.
When legislators return to Washington after the elections, I hope they will find time to advance the rural call completion bill. It has bipartisan support, which seems to be a rarity these days in Washington. If they don't get to it during their brief lame duck session, the process will have to start all over again in the next Congress, beginning in January.
As with previous industry changes, we're here to help you navigate the transition to a new universal service world. You will be hearing more as we move through the next few months and especially at EXPO. See you there!