On September 12, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission’s (Commission) Office of the Managing Director (OMD) released a Public Notice proposing a universal service fund (USF) contribution factor of 18.8% for fourth quarter 2017.  This proposed contribution factor would be the highest rate since the USF program’s inception and likely reflects the impact of the declining USF contribution base.
Continue Reading Proposed Fourth Quarter 2017 Universal Service Fund Contribution Factor Jumps – Poised to Hit New High

Kajeet, Inc., and its wholly-owned subsidiary Kajeet/Airlink LLC, has agreed to pay $450,000 to settle a 2009 investigation by the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (Bureau), initiated in 2009, into several company violations.  The investigation concerned the company’s apparent failure to make timely contributions to the Universal Service Fund (USF) and various other industry funds (the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the Local Number Portability (LNP) cost recovery mechanism, etc.) and Kajeet/Airlink’s failure to seek an assignment of an international Section 214 authorization in connection with the acquisition of assets of Airlink Mobile.  While the Consent Decree, released on October 7, 2015, has many of the provisions that have become the “new normal” for the current Bureau – an admission of liability, civil penalty – it is remarkable for several reasons.

Continue Reading FCC Uses Revised Forfeiture Policy to Settle Old USF Contribution NAL

iStock_000008141839LargeToday, the Federal Communications Commission released a Policy Statement announcing a “treble damages” methodology to assess forfeitures for failure to make payment to a series of federal programs, a move which the agency anticipates will allow it to begin “significantly more investigations.”    The new policy appears to allow the FCC to impose significantly larger fines than in similar investigations in the past, but may implicate the FCC’s statutory maximum forfeiture authority in some cases.
Continue Reading In a Shift, FCC Shelves Prior Forfeiture Methodology For Failure to Pay Into USF and Other Federal Programs

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This is starting to sound like a broken record.  Once again, the USF contribution factor is poised to make a big jump upward to a new record high.  Once again, we wonder here whether this will finally be the time that the FCC moves forward to reform the contribution side of the USF.  With the volatility and high rates, one must wonder whether the current mechanism can satisfy the requirement that the USF fund be "specific, predictable and sufficient."

Here’s the bad news:  according to a prominent USF analyst, the FCC will soon announce a first quarter 2012 contribution factor of 17.9%.  This is an increase of over 2.5% from the current factor and by far is the highest that the USF rate has ever been. 

Continue Reading USF Factor to Rise to 17.9%, Will This Finally Lead to Contribution Reform?

Today the FCC announced the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter of 2011.  Based in large part on recently revised projections showing an increase in low income demand (largely due to prepaid wireless phones), the proposed contribution factor will rise nearly 1%, to 15.3%

This marks the third quarter ever, but the second