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Is the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Inquiry a Sham?

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Aug 18, 2017 10:00:00 AM

I’m done giving the FCC the benefit of the doubt. Because of the many years I spent dealing with the ambiguity and costs of Title II, I defended Chairman Pai and company when they sought to reclassify broadband Internet access service as a Title I information service in the net neutrality proceeding, although I have my qualms about eliminating the Internet bright line rules.

I never questioned the Commission’s motives when it proposed eliminating some of the restrictions on the pricing of ILEC special access services, although the competitive market test it used to justify deregulation cannot be taken seriously.

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, Net Neutrality, Broadband

FCC’s Business Data Services Order Takes Effect

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Aug 11, 2017 10:00:00 AM

The FCC’s Business Data Services Order (BDS) became effective on August 1, 2017 after the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a Motion to Stay the Order filed by Windstream Services, LLC, Ad Hoc Telecom Users Committee, BT Americas, Inc., and INCOMPAS. The Court gave no reason for its decision. 

Although the Order was not stayed, it is important to note that the appeal of the Order itself will now be heard and ruled upon by the Eighth Circuit.  That Court determined that it had the appropriate expertise to review the Order and refused a request that it transfer the case to the more experienced DC Circuit Court.  It is important to note that a court’s refusal to stay an order does not always mean that it will ultimately find the order lawful.  That decision will likely be made on the BDS Order within the next year.

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, Business Data Services

A Big Win for Telecom! Court Sides with FCC in Pole Attachment Order

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Aug 4, 2017 10:00:00 AM

The telecommunications industry got a big victory this week when the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the FCC’s 2015 Pole Attachment Order which mandated rules equalizing the pole attachment rates paid by telecommunications providers and cable owners. Cable company rates are calculated separately under rules ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987 and have historically been lower than rates paid by telecoms. The decision is extremely important to telecommunications companies because of the large amounts of money involved. By some estimates, pole attachment rentals, comprise up to 1 percent of operating costs for some companies.  Moreover, telecom companies have asserted for years that high pole attachment rates delay broadband deployment and force prices out of the reach of many consumers.

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC

The Invisible Proceeding – Removing Barriers to Broadband Deployment

Posted by Andrew Regitsky

Jul 28, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Tuesday, your faithful scribe made the ultimate sacrifice – sitting through hours of C-Span’s coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives grilling the FCC about various topics in the latest Congressional oversight hearing.  As to be expected, the most popular topic among the Congressmen and women was the proposed net neutrality rules.  A close second, however, was the Commission’s efforts to bring broadband to rural Americans.  In fact, for Representatives from states that are heavily rural, this was clearly issue number one. 

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Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, Broadband

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

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