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The FCC’s Net Neutrality Comments: Don’t Read Them!

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jul 21, 2017 10:00:00 AM

It is summertime and I am sure that most of you would rather spend your free time outside rather than reading the thousands of industry comments filed this week regarding the FCC’s proposed Restoring Internet Freedom Order. Here’s the deal, go outside!

Like actors playing their assigned roles, each major industry participant filed predictable comments that could have been written easily by a computer. The only difference between these comments and ones these companies previously filed is this time, each side of the net neutrality argument spent big bucks to hire economic experts to (surprise!) parrot their well-known positions.

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, Net Neutrality

Access Customers Lose Tandem-Switched Transport Dispute

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jul 14, 2017 10:30:00 AM

There was little doubt that this year’s ILEC Annual Access Filings (AAF) were going to be confusing and potentially very contentious.  After all we are in Step 6 in the ongoing transition of most terminating access charges to bill-and-keep.  For price cap ILECs, this is an important step.  Per part 51.907(g)(2) of the FCC rules, effective July 1, 2017, price cap ILECs must

establish, for interstate and intrastate terminating traffic traversing a tandem switch that the terminating carrier or its affiliates owns, Tandem-Switched Transport Access Service rates no greater than $0.0007 per minute.

The controversy enveloping this year’s filing has to do with whether the tandem-switched transport rates apply to all a price cap ILEC’s affiliates.  Some access customers, including Sprint and Level 3 believe that AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and Cincinnati Bell have failed to apply the maximum $0.0007 per minute charge to all their affiliates including CLECs and CMRS providers.  Thus, they requested that the FCC either reject or suspend and investigate the new July 1, 2017 access rates for these ILECs.  As Sprint explained:

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC

Trump Nominates New Commissioners for FCC as Key Decisions Near

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jul 7, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Since Donald Trump became President the FCC has been operating with only three commissioners. And while that has not stopped the agency from taking important action on contentious issues such as net neutrality and business data services (BDS), that is not the natural order of things. By law, the Commission must have five commissioners, three from the party that holds the presidency.

The Commissioner deficiency is about to end as Trump has nominated Brenden Carr to be the third Republican commissioner while re-nominating Jessica Rosenworcel to be the second Democrat.

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC

FCC Once Again Addresses Rural Call Completion Problem

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jun 30, 2017 10:00:00 AM

It's mid-2017 and yet Americans continue to have a problem completing long-distance phone calls to rural areas of the country. These problems can manifest themselves in various ways. As the FCC notes, “a call may be significantly delayed, the called party’s phone may never ring, or the caller may hear a false ring tone or busy signals.”

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC

Rural ILECs Request Price Caps for Special Access Services

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jun 23, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Will rate-of-return (ROR) regulation for rural ILECs soon disappear?  It clearly is on the ropes for the many small ILECs now using the Alternative Cost Model (ACAM) to recover their loop costs and receive Connect America Fund (CAF) support. These LECS are no longer in the NECA Common Line Pool and not subject to an authorized common line rate of return. 

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, ILECs

The Problem with Today’s Title II – An Out of Control FCC

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jun 16, 2017 10:00:00 AM

In 2015 the FCC decided that it needed to assume complete control over the Internet including controlling the pricing behavior of broadband Internet service providers. After receiving a directive from President Obama, the agency decided that the most effective way to achieve control was to reclassify broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service governed by Title II of the Telecommunications Act. The Commission took this action, even though Title II was almost one hundred years old and had been used exclusively to regulate phone companies as “utilities.” In this regulatory environment, expenses and a reasonable return on net investment were provided to these companies if they adhered to certain rules, including:

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC

FCC Freezes Universal Service Fund National Rate Floor

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jun 9, 2017 10:00:00 AM

One of the least known features of the federal universal service fund (USF) is the national “rate floor” requirement. The FCC adopted it in 2011 to ensure that consumers across the country are not subsidizing the cost of voice telephone service to rural customers whose monthly rates are below a set minimum rate. If a rural rate-of-return ILEC chooses to charge its customers less than the authorized rate floor amount for plain old telephone service (POTS), the difference between the amount charged and the rate floor is deducted from the amount of support that carrier receives through the USF. The current monthly national rate floor is $18, and it was scheduled to increase to $20 on July 1, 2017 and $22 on July 1, 2018.

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, Universal Service Fund

The FCC Must Complete Toll-free 8YY Access Reform

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jun 2, 2017 10:00:00 AM

We turn our attention away from net neutrality for just a moment this week to discuss an issue that has been simmering since 2011 when the FCC began its terminating access transition to bill-and-keep, leaving the fate of originating access charges for another day. Unfortunately, in its zeal to reform the broken inter-carrier compensation system back then, the Commission reintroduced the originating/terminating access split for toll-free 8YY traffic. This access charge gap persists six years later, and has allowed traffic pumping arbitrage schemes to flourish. It needs be quickly addressed.  

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, switched access

FCC’s BDS Competitive Market List Cannot Pass the Laugh Test

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

May 26, 2017 10:00:00 AM

On May 15, 2017 the FCC finally released the list of competitive, non-competitive and grandfathered markets it identified in its Business Data Services (BDS) Report and Order (Order) in Docket 17-43. In that Order, the Commission decided to eliminate price cap regulation for ILEC DS1 and DS3 special access services in counties deemed “competitive,” and in counties that previously obtained Phase II pricing flexibility (grandfathered counties), while keeping price cap regulation on DS1 and DS3 channel terminations in “non-competitive” markets. 

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, Business Data Services

Will “Bright-Line” Net Neutrality Rules Be Eliminated?

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

May 19, 2017 10:00:00 AM

By a 2-1 party line vote yesterday, the FCC voted to approve a Notice of Approved Rulemaking (NPRM) that will substantially remake regulations for the Internet. Although in theory the Commission has an open mind when it begins a new proceeding, in this Docket (17-108) it is no secret that the two Republican Commissioners plan on using their majority to reclassify broadband Internet access as a Title I information service and do away with the vague rule providing it with authority to regulate all ISP future Internet behavior.

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, Net Neutrality

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