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By Public Notice released Friday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) announced that Interstate Telecommunications Service Providers (ITSP) and Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) providers can now log in to preview the provider’s FY2017 regulatory fee data in the FCC’s Fee Filer system.  ITSPs and CMRS providers have limited time to request any revisions to the data on which fees are based and therefore are encouraged to review their proposed fee data in a timely manner.

Continue Reading ITSPs and CMRS Providers Can Now Review and Revise FCC Annual Regulatory Fee Information; September Payment Deadline Not Yet Set

As we reported in an earlier blog post, on May 1, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission’s (Commission) International Bureau (Bureau) issued an Order temporarily waiving the annual Section 43.62 International Traffic and Revenue Reporting (the Traffic and Revenue Report) requirement.  The Traffic and Revenue Report filing, normally due by July 31 each year, is temporarily waived pending the outcome of an ongoing Commission rulemaking proceeding that, among other changes, proposes to eliminate the international Traffic and Revenue Report.  The Bureau’s Order waived the Traffic and Revenue Report filing until 60 days after the Commission issues an Order in the pending rulemaking proceeding.  The Commission has not yet issued an Order in that proceeding, and by e-mail correspondence sent today to Traffic and Revenue Report filers, the Bureau reminded filers that the reporting waiver remains in effect and stated the Commission currently will not be accepting the Traffic and Revenue Reports or waivers for the 2016 reporting period.

We continue to monitor this rulemaking proceeding so be sure to check back for updates.  If you would like additional information regarding the pending rulemaking proceeding, please see Kelley Drye’s client advisory or contact your regular Kelley Drye attorney.

Below is Kelley Drye’s preview of the items under consideration at the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) upcoming monthly Open Meeting, to be held on July 13, 2017.  Consistent with the trend since he took over the Commission, Chairman Ajit Pai continues to schedule a large number of items.  Indeed, for the sixth month in a row, the Commission has six or more items on its agenda.  This month, the agenda consists of eight items, two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking, two Notices of Inquiry, two Reports and Orders, and one Order on Reconsideration.

Each agenda item is summarized below.  Note: these brief summaries are based on draft items, which may differ from the final items released following the Open Meeting.  Please check with Kelley Drye after the meeting for more information on the items below.

Continue Reading What to Expect at the FCC’s July 2017 Open Meeting

In orders issued last week, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) continues what appears to be a trend of resolving long-pending universal service fund (USF) contribution issues.  The Orders, released May 23, 2017 and May 24, 2017 by the Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau), ruled on petitions filed by, respectively, Morris Communications, Inc. (Morris) and Stratos Government Services, Inc. (Stratos).  The Morris Decision provided a Morris a partial victory with the Bureau denying Morris’ request to reverse a Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) decision regarding unpaid USF contributions but granting Morris’ request that associated late payment fees be recalculated.  The Stratos Decision clarified that the USF contribution exemption for entities that provide service exclusively to public safety and government entities does not apply to subcontractors providing such services.  These and other recent decisions may signal – at least for USF contribution-related issues – a Commission focus on clearing out the backlog of long-pending petitions. Continue Reading Commission Resolves Long-Pending Stratos and Morris USF Contribution-Related Petitions

World Global ConnectionsBy an International Bureau (Bureau) Order (Order) released yesterday that temporarily waives the International Traffic and Revenue Reporting (the Traffic and Revenue Report) requirement, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appears to be moving steadily toward its overhaul of the Section 43.62 international reporting requirements.  As Kelley Drye reported in recent posts (here and here), in late March the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) initiating a proceeding and seeking comments on proposals to eliminate the Section 43.62 Traffic and Revenue Report and further streamline the International Circuit Capacity Report.  By today’s Order, on the Bureau’s own motion and well before the rulemaking’s May 17 comment and June 1 reply comment due dates, the Bureau temporarily waived the Traffic and Revenue Report requirement until 60 days after the FCC issues an order in the pending rulemaking proceeding.  The Traffic and Revenue Report is filed annually and is due by July 31.  However, as a result of the reporting waiver and unless the FCC ultimately decides to retain the reporting requirement, filers may have seen the last of the Traffic and Revenue Report.

Stating that it was not attempting to prejudge the outcome of the rulemaking proceeding, the Bureau noted the FCC’s belief that the benefits of the Traffic and Revenue Report no longer outweighed the costs of its preparation.  In particular, the Bureau cited the FCC’s positions in the NPRM asserting that preparation of the Traffic and Revenue Report imposed significant burdens on filers and the FCC and questioning the Traffic and Revenue Report’s accuracy in providing insight into international markets.  The Bureau explained that the reporting waiver would avoid subjecting filers to “potentially unnecessary expenses” associated with preparing the Traffic and Revenue Report in the event the FCC eliminates the reporting requirement.   While filers are not totally off the hook – the waiver still requires filers to retain the data in case the FCC identifies a need for some type of reporting requirement – the Bureau’s waiver of the reporting requirement this early in the rulemaking process suggests the FCC’s proposed elimination of the Traffic and Revenue Report likely will be realized.

Until the FCC rules in the rulemaking proceeding, there is no guarantee the Traffic and Revenue Report will be eliminated.  Accordingly, filers interested in sharing their thoughts on the Section 43.62 reporting requirements should consider if they want to participate in the rulemaking proceeding.  Additional details regarding the NPRM can be found in Kelley Drye’s client advisory.

Should you have any questions about this proceeding and what the proposed rules may mean for your business, feel free to contact a member of Kelley Drye’s Communications practice group.

World Global ConnectionsAs Kelley Drye reported in a post late last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering eliminating the FCC Rule 43.62(b) annual International Traffic and Revenue reporting obligation and streamlining the Rule 43.62(a) annual Circuit Capacity reporting requirements.  The FCC last overhauled these international reporting requirements a mere four years ago.  The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) now solicits comments on a number of issues including, but not limited to, the effect on U.S. consumers and carriers of eliminating the annual International Traffic and Revenue report, the costs of complying with the two annual reporting requirements, and options for streamlining the annual Circuit Capacity reporting obligations.  Kelley Drye will be preparing an advisory delving deeper into the issues for which the FCC is seeking comment so be sure to check the Kelley Drye Communications practice group page for more details.

The NPRM was published this morning in the Federal Register, establishing the comment deadline at May 17, 2017 with reply comments due by June 1, 2017.  International telecommunications providers subject to the reporting requirements should review the NPRM and consider whether to participate in the comment cycle to ensure their views are heard.

Should you have any questions about this proceeding and what the proposed rules may mean for your business, feel free to contact a member of Kelley Drye’s Communications practice group.

By an Order issued late last week, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) provided important insight regarding determining the jurisdictional classification of private line revenues.  In ruling on long-pending petitions for reconsideration of Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) audit findings regarding the classification of private line revenues, the Bureau explained that the longstanding Ten Percent Rule does not establish any presumption that a private line is jurisdictionally either intrastate or interstate.  Instead, the Bureau clarified that it is the jurisdictional nature of the traffic carried over private lines, not the existence (or nonexistence) of a customer certification, that determines the appropriate jurisdictional classification.  Moreover, carriers must conduct a good faith inquiry into the nature of the traffic carried on the private line when determining the jurisdiction of those line revenues.  Carriers that provide private line services should be sure to review the Order to ensure their private line jurisdictional classification methods will withstand any Bureau or USAC scrutiny.

Continue Reading Wireline Competition Bureau Explains No Presumption of Intrastate or Interstate Jurisdiction for Private Lines; Carriers Must Conduct Good Faith Inquiry Into Nature of Traffic Carried

At its March 23, 2017 Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) voted unanimously to adopt a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on a proposal to reduce certain reporting requirements for international telecommunications service providers (International Service Providers). In particular, the FCC proposes to eliminate, in its entirety, the annual International Traffic and Revenue Report, in which International Service Providers report details regarding their international telecommunications services. The NPRM also seeks comments on ways to streamline the annual Circuit Capacity Report in which International Service Providers report on satellite, terrestrial, and submarine cable system usage and capacity.

Continue Reading FCC Proposes Eliminating Annual International Traffic and Revenue Report and Streamlining Annual Circuit Capacity Report

Kelley Drye is proud to present our 8th Annual Update on federal Universal Service Fund (USF) activities.  This one-of-a-kind webinar provides an in-depth discussion of trends and legal implications involving the Universal Service Fund, from contributions, to the four support funds, as well as audits and enforcement.  This educational event is intended to help attorneys and any communications provider understand and thrive in this space.

Continue Reading Don’t Miss Kelley Drye’s 8th Annual USF Update Webinar on February 23, 2017 at 12 PM ET

On September 6, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice announcing a payment deadline for annual regulatory fees of no later than 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time on September 27, 2016.  Although the regulatory fees will not officially become effective until published in the Federal Register, entities that are required to pay fees have discretion to submit payments at any time before the deadline.  Most federal licensees and other regulated entities must pay one or more categories of regulatory fees which are designed to offset costs associated with the FCC’s enforcement, public service, international, policy, and rulemaking activities.  Fact sheets detailing the types of fees, fee codes, payment methods and options can be found on the FCC’s website.

Continue Reading FCC Regulatory Fees Order for FY 2016 Released; September 27 Payment Deadline Set