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A diverse group of telecom companies and trade groups have jointly submitted a supporting brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Paetec v. CommPartners appeal.  The Joint Brief includes ILECS like AT&T and Verizon, CLECs like Neutral Tandem, and normally contrary trade associations like USTA and the VON Coalition. Although these parties have wildly divergent views on how the VoIP access charge dispute should be resolved, they all agree that the Court of Appeals should decide the issue now.  The Joint Brief states that the parties submitting  "have differing views about the merits" of the district court ruling, "but all agree that a decision from" the Court of Appeals is desirable to clarify the situation for all concerned.  

No one knows for sure, but the many pending cases and disputes on VoIP access charges collectively probably have hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.   The FCC has exerted much effort to avoid making a decision on the court referrals and various petitions that it has received on the subject since 2005. 

Continue Reading Strange Coalition Petitions Court of Appeals to Bypass FCC on VoIP Access Charges

The Wireline Competition Bureau of the FCC has overruled a USAC finding that an internet services provider should pay universal service fund assessments on T-1s that the company uses to provide internet access and voice services.  The order is available here.  In U.S. TelePacific Corp. the Universal Service Adminstrative Company concluded that revenues received by

On April 21, 2010, the FCC issued a Notice regarding proposed universal service reforms. The document is 28 pages long plus some lengthy appendices.  The Notice itself is divided into a Notice of Inquiry section discussing steps to implement the Connect America Fund proposed in the National Broadband Plan, and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing specific ideas about

Form 499-Q Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet
Carriers required to contribute to universal service support mechanisms must report their actual and projected end user and wholesale revenues for each calendar quarter by filing Form 499Q on a quarterly basis. The Form 499-Q filing for first quarter 2010 is due to USAC by May 1, 2010.

Continue Reading Reminder: FCC Filings Due May 2010

Yesterday, the FCC released is Broadband Action Agenda describing the purpose and timing of more than 60 rulemakings and other proceedings the agency plans to conduct in order to implement its recently issued National Broadband Plan. On USF, reform of USF distribution is scheduled for 2Q 2010, but contribution reform is not scheduled to begin until the end of the year. Access charges, VoIP and other intercarrier compensation issues are given a 4Q 2010 start date.
Continue Reading FCC Announces Schedule for National Broadband Plan Proceedings

The VoIP jurisdictional saga continues.  Last month, we discussed a decision by the Pennsylvania PUC asserting jurisdiction over intrastate Voice over IP calls and a decision by a US District Court reaching the opposite conclusion.  Tomorrow, parties are asked to comment on a petition seeking, among other things, to preempt the Pennsylvania decision.  We

Last year, the U.S. Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to develop a National Broadband Plan to ensure that every American has “access to broadband capability.” After 36 public workshops, 31 public notices that produced 75,000 pages of public comments, 131 blogposts that triggered 1,489 comments, 69,500 views on YouTube, and countless tweets, the

On March 16, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced the release of the National Broadband Plan (the “Plan”). The Plan outlines sweeping proposals intended to accelerate broadband access and adoption throughout the United States that will be implemented over the coming years. Over the coming months, the FCC will launch a series of rulemakings to seek public comment and adopt rules to implement these proposals. Broadband and telecommunications providers should expect these proceedings will be a key focus of the FCC for the next several years.

Among the Plan’s chief recommendations are proposals that would give the FCC and other policymakers an enhanced role in establishing and enforcing pro-consumer policies, including mandating heightened disclosure requirements for broadband service providers, publishing market-by-market analyses of broadband pricing and competition, and enhancing online privacy protections. The Plan also calls for the FCC to: increase the amount of spectrum available for allocation through the use of incentive auctions; expand the amount of spectrum available for unlicensed use; and increase the transparency of spectrum allocation in general. Further, the Plan includes recommendations to speed the development and adoption of technologies that touch on a wide range of policy objectives from health care to public safety to energy efficiency.

Continue Reading FCC Releases Anticipated National Broadband Plan