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Congress and States Begin to Battle to Save Net Neutrality

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jan 19, 2018 10:00:00 AM

That didn't take long! The FCC's January 4, 2018 Internet Freedom Order is under attack weeks before it takes effect and even before it is printed in the Federal Register. Senate Democrats launched the first barrage earlier this week when they announced they had 50 Senators, 49 Democrats and Republican Susan Collins of Maine to vote to overturn the Order using the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

The Congressional Review Act empowers Congress, by means of a simple majority vote, to remove new federal regulations issued by government agencies and ensure that a similar rule cannot be enacted in the future. When Donald Trump became President, Republicans used the CRA to overturn a flurry of rules created by the FCC in the last few months of the Obama administration, including one-sided privacy rules that would apply to ISPs but not edge providers. Under the CRA, Congress has 60 legislative days (i.e., actual days Congress is in session) to overturn the Internet Freedom Order.

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Topics: FCC, Net Neutrality, Open Internet, ISPs, trump, net neutrality order, internet regulation, internet freedom, CCMI, internet freedom order, CRA

Terminating Switched Access Costs Vary by a Factor of 12 in Some States!

Posted by George David

Jan 15, 2018 10:00:00 AM

That’s right, just when you thought the FCC’s terminating switched access reforms to a bill-and -keep regime would make your life simpler, it turns out things are much more complex – and error prone – than ever. For example, in one New York state Local Access and Transport Area (LATA) terminating switched access cost per minute (CPM) can range from $0.00070000 to $0.00883148, that’s over twelve times higher! We’ll share the gory details later in the blog, but first some background.

The July 1, 2017 access filings added a brand-new twist to terminating access rate management, the notion of “affiliation”. Simply put, if the access tandem (AT) and the terminating end office (EO) are owned by the same incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) , i.e. affiliated and are price cap regulated - one set of rate elements apply; if the access tandem and the terminating end office are owned by two different ILECs, i.e. non-affiliated, another set of rate element apply.

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Topics: rate and tariff data, FCC, telecom rate research tools, ILECs, switched access, access charges, CCMI, LATA, CPM, Net Express, NetExpress, terminating switched access

Are Wireless Carriers Refusing Direct Connections for Call Terminations?

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jan 12, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Several diverse companies have banded together to complain to the FCC that despite the transition of terminating switched access rates to bill-and-keep, national wireless carriers are engaging in traffic aggregation schemes at the terminating end of calls. In a December 4, 2017 ex parte presentation in Docket 10-90, the Klein Law Group representing Consolidated Communications, Peerless Network and West Telecom Services noted that:

By refusing direct interconnection (and in some cases terminating existing connections altogether) for all terminating traffic or certain types of terminating traffic (e.g., interMTA and/or wholesale traffic), these wireless carriers are forcing such terminating traffic to be routed through their “intermediate carrier partners” or “affiliates” and as a result, originating carriers no longer can terminate such traffic to these wireless carriers on a bill-and-keep basis. (Klein Law Group, ex parte, at p. 3).

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Topics: FCC, ILECs, switched access, access charges, CCMI, LATA, CPM, terminating switched access, call termination, call terminations, arbitrage schemes, MOU charges, terminating traffic

Telecom in 2018 - A Year of Legislation and Litigation

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jan 5, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Happy New Year! 2018 is set to be the most unusual year ever for the telecom industry. In every other year I can remember, there were a set of issues everyone knew the FCC was likely to grapple with. Last year with a brand new conservative Commission it was obvious that Chairman Ajit Pai was going to reverse the 2015 net neutrality rules, eliminate one-sided ISP privacy rules (with the help of Congress) and deregulate ILEC special access services. In addition, the Commission improved the pole attachment rules, modified the Lifeline program and began looking at additional switched access reform. It was easy to criticize the FCC for many of its actions, but no one could accuse the FCC of inaction, even when they had less than a full complement of five commissioners.

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, ILECs, Net Neutrality, Open Internet, internet regulation, open internet order, federal trade commission, internet freedom, CCMI, ajit pai, ftc, litigation, internet freedom order, open internet preservation act, congress

2017, the Year the FCC Killed Regulation

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Dec 22, 2017 10:00:00 AM

 

I know this may sound strange to you young guys and gals out there, but at one time I was a big fan of the FCC. I admired the way commissioners of both parties put aside their obvious political differences to work together for the betterment of the American people.

The Commission's success stories are numerous, including developing a universal service program that made telephone service affordable for virtually all Americans, implementing the requirements of the 1996 Telecom Act to break up the Bell companies and establish competition in both the local and long-distance markets, and establishing harmonious relationships with state public utility commissions to protect individuals and companies.

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, Net Neutrality, Open Internet, internet regulation, open internet order, federal trade commission, internet freedom, CCMI, ajit pai, ftc

FCC and FTC Strike Agreement to "Save" Consumers from Net Neutrality Loss

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Dec 15, 2017 10:00:00 AM

There is no question that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is feeling the heat for his agency voting 3-2 to eliminate the 2015 net neutrality rules. The new "Light Regulation" or as some would call "No Regulation" Internet Order ("Order) is scheduled to become effective early next year unless stayed by a court (more about that later).

We know Pai is under the gun because earlier this week his FCC issued a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) explaining how the Commission will work jointly with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect consumers on a case-by-case basis when a complaint is filed against an ISP. The MOU will become effective on the effective date of the Order

Before we discuss why we believe the MOU to be virtually useless, here are some of its key points:

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, Net Neutrality, Open Internet, internet regulation, open internet order, federal trade commission, internet freedom, CCMI, ajit pai, ftc

Hawaiian Telcom Thrives Despite Connect America Fund Shortcomings

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Dec 8, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Aloha.  A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to spend some time on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui.  One sunny day forsaking a typical day at the beach, I decided to spend a few hours driving around the top of the island.  The trip provides beautiful views but is not for the faint-of-heart!  The road weaves a narrow path between the West Maui Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.  There are numerous switchbacks in which it is impossible to see oncoming traffic. 

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Topics: telecom, hawaii, SEA-US, United States, CCMI, Connect American Fund, hawaii telcom, hawaiian telcom

FCC Makes Public Its Plan to Stop Regulating the Internet

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Dec 1, 2017 10:00:00 AM

On the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday, the FCC decided to give ISPs an early Christmas present when it made public a draft "Internet Freedom" Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order ("Internet Freedom Order") it intends to vote into law on December 14, 2017.  The Internet Freedom Order would completely overturn the FCC's 2015 Open Internet Order and turn over almost all regulatory authority over the Internet to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  Here is a summary of the key points of the draft Order and its implications:

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, Open Internet, internet regulation, open internet order, federal trade commission, internet freedom

FCC Proposes Massive Cuts to Lifeline Program

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Nov 24, 2017 10:00:00 AM

The ever-growing partisan split at the FCC hit new levels of acrimony last week when the FCC on a 3-2 vote decided to immediately limit Lifeline benefits to rural Tribal areas.  While that was controversial enough, it was a proposal to limit Lifeline participation to facilities-based providers only that caused the two Democratic commissioners to see red.  Here are the details:

Lifeline is part of the Universal Service Fund and is administered by the Universal Service Fund Administrative Company (USAC).  The program works by providing low-income Americans with a monthly dial-tone line discount.  Specifically, it provides a subsidy of up to $9.25 a month for Americans below 135% of the poverty line.  Lifeline is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands.  Tribal customers are also eligible to obtain $25 per month in additional subsidies.

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC

Democrats Now Want Net Neutrality Extended to Internet Content Providers

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Nov 17, 2017 10:00:00 AM

 

Internet edge (content) providers have always been some of the leading advocates for keeping the 2015 Open Internet rules for ISPs in place, including forbidding the blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of Internet traffic. For example, Twitter wrote in a blog post earlier this year that, "[w]ithout net neutrality in force, ISPs would even be able to block content they don't like, reject apps and content that compete with their own offerings, and arbitrarily discriminate against particular content providers by prioritizing certain Internet traffic over theirs."

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, Net Neutrality, Open Internet, ISPs, internet traffic, net neutrality order

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