Feb 23, 2018 10:00:00 AM
Industry comments are due on March 14, 2018, involving one of the weirdest filings to come before the FCC in a long time. In a Petition for Expedited Declaratory Ruling (Petition) filed by South Dakota Networks (SDN) on February 7, 2018 in Docket 18-41, SDN requests the Commission to issue a declaratory ruling asserting that in a dispute between it and Northern Valley Communications, Inc. (NVC) involving interstate switched access traffic:
A contract between SDN and AT&T, negotiated to terminate large volumes of traffic originally bound to a CLEC (NVC) engaged in access stimulation is lawful; and,CLECs, such as NVC, enjoy no exclusive right to transport terminating traffic to their end offices (or elsewhere). Moreover, the filing of a federal tariff by a CLEC, does not confer a right to compel other carriers to use the tariffed services.
Topics: CLECs, FCC, ILECs, switched access, service providers, bill-and-keep, wireless, inter-carrier compensation, terminating switched access, terminating traffic, direct connections, wireless carriers, small providers, Inteliquent, wholesale traffic, AT&T, clec, terminating access charges, IXC, federal tariff
Feb 16, 2018 10:06:22 AM
Even with inter-carrier compensation reform, some bad actors continue to abuse the remaining price differences in switched access charges to enrich themselves. These arbitrage opportunities exist because rural ILECs were not required to reduce terminating tandem-switched transport to bill-and-keep maintaining their access revenues and originating switched access charges were never reformed at all by the FCC.
On the terminating side, some LECs continue to contract out with enterprises that generate large numbers of terminating calls and split the excess access revenues. Next week, we will discuss this issue of access stimulation (or traffic pumping) and review a current case where the FCC will determine whether IXCs must utilize the tariffs of LECs engaged in such a practice.
Topics: CLECs, FCC, ILECs, service providers, bill-and-keep, wireless, inter-carrier compensation, terminating traffic, direct connections, wireless carriers, small providers, Inteliquent, wholesale traffic, AT&T, 8yy, clec, terminating access charges, 8yy query charges
Feb 9, 2018 9:45:00 AM
Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to determine and report annually on “whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” The Commission began this year's determination last August when it released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in Docket 17-199. That NOI received a tremendous amount of negative industry attention when the Commission made three controversial proposals:
First, the Commission proposed to make the availability of either fixed or mobile broadband in an area sufficient to meet the requirement that broadband is available;
Second, the Commission proposed to continue the current speed benchmark of 25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload (25 Mbps/3 Mbps) for fixed broadband, while establishing for the first time a mobile speed benchmark of 10 Mbps/1 Mbps.
Topics: FCC, Open Internet, Broadband, ISPs, internet freedom, CCMI, internet freedom order, congress, CRA, commissions order, congressional review, wireless broadband, broadband report, telecommunications act, broadband deployment advisory committee, broadband deployment
Feb 2, 2018 9:44:00 AM
In a recent CCMI webinar I stated that the worst possible outcome for Internet regulation for the country would be for each of the 50 states to legislate their own net neutrality rules in opposition to the FCC's Internet Freedom Order, while Congress sits on its hands and does nothing. Unfortunately, more and more, that seems to be the likely outcome.
Already, within the last couple of weeks, 21 states and the District of Columbia have appealed the Order to the Federal courts while New York and Montana have introduced bills that would bar state agencies from contracted with ISPs unless they agreed to comply with the "bright line" net neutrality rules.
While it could be argued that the proposed legislation in those states does not directly challenge the Commission's Order (I'm sure the FCC thinks otherwise), the same cannot be said about the bill recently passed by the California Senate. SB-460, contains provisions that directly conflict with the Commission's removal of the bright line rules.
Topics: FCC, Net Neutrality, Open Internet, ISPs, trump, net neutrality order, internet regulation, internet freedom, CCMI, internet freedom order, congress, CRA, SB-460, commissions order, california, california senate, congressional review, supreme court
Jan 26, 2018 10:00:00 AM
A couple of weeks ago, we became aware of a brewing industry dispute between a diverse group of small service providers and the major national wireless carriers. The small carriers claim that wireless companies are refusing to directly connect with them to terminate traffic or at least certain types of terminating traffic such as wholesale. Instead, wireless carriers are forcing this traffic to be routed through an intermediate carrier partner or affiliate, and as a result, the originating providers can no longer can terminate traffic to these wireless carriers on a bill-and-keep basis.
The small carriers believe that by forcing carriers to send terminating traffic through the wireless company’s intermediate carrier partner they are engaging in an arbitrage scheme. These intermediate carriers assess terminating minute of use access charges and share these revenues, either directly or indirectly, with their wireless partner.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.