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Category: FCC

Universal Service: Too Important to Make Bad Bets!

Universal Service: Too Important to Make Bad Bets!

It is no surprise that the FCC has several difficult tasks when it comes to Universal Service. It needs to: 1) reach unserved consumers, 2) make sure those who are served stay served, and 3) ensure that the services being provided to rural Americans are “reasonably comparable” to those that urban consumers receive. The focus always seems to fall on the first of those goals, and certainly reaching those without broadband access is critical and is the source of many…

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Farewell to an FCC Era

Farewell to an FCC Era

Washington, D.C. can actually be a small town and telecom/broadband circles can make the city feel even smaller. So, while I was very sorry to see Amy Bender, legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, leave her post at the FCC this week, I know that our paths will cross again in her next “gig”. After Amy’s very distinguished 14-year career with the agency and after all of her hard work on topics as critical as the Universal Service Fund,…

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FCC Takes Positive Action on Call Completion Law Implementation

FCC Takes Positive Action on Call Completion Law Implementation

Trying to aggressively deal with the rural call completion plague has been a top priority for NTCA so there was some energy in our halls today as the FCC took some positive steps to implement the NTCA-Backed Rural Call Completion Law. In a positive development for rural consumers and businesses awaiting relief for rural call completion and quality problems, the FCC today released an order implementing the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2017 signed into law earlier…

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Chairman Pai Responds to Congress’ Push for Action on Long-Term USF Budget Fix

Chairman Pai Responds to Congress’ Push for Action on Long-Term USF Budget Fix

In a terrific step forward for NTCA members and RLECs across the country, FCC Chairman Pai responded this week to the 130 Members of the House who wrote to him this May regarding their concerns on the persistent USF insufficiency. The Chairman replied that he aims “to circulate an order ensuring adequate and efficient funding for rural broadband deployment later this year.” He reviewed the steps that have already been taken, including devoting over $500 million to increasing broadband deployment…

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A Peek at the Likely Newest Addition to the FCC

A Peek at the Likely Newest Addition to the FCC

Today was the confirmation hearing for Geoffrey Starks, the Democratic nominee to replace Commissioner Clyburn at the FCC. Starks is currently serving as an assistant chief in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau where he works in the Investigations and Hearings Division and the USF Strike Force.  He also has experience at the DOJ, with the U.S. Court of Appeals and brings a wealth of experience to a new role at the FCC. Since his nomination was announced, folks have been curious…

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Congress Putting Their Actions Into Words

Congress Putting Their Actions Into Words

Today was a big day for those advocating for continued broadband deployment across rural America as 193 members of Congress (194 if you include Sen. Joni Ernst’s letter) reached out to the FCC to address the long-term budget sufficiency of the Universal Service Fund (USF) High-Cost program. This is a critical and necessary step in continuing to close the digital divide (and the urban-rural divide) that is often cited by Chairman Pai as one of his top priorities. The USF…

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Chairman Pai Speaks to the USF Budget Control

Chairman Pai Speaks to the USF Budget Control

Earlier this week, USAC came out with the new budget control mechanism, part of the requirement under the FCC Rate of Return Reform Order.  To remain within the annual rate of return budget, USAC has to apply the FCC Budget Control Mechanism methodology to reduce the anticipated USF support for the coming year.  Sigh.  This is one of those pieces of the Reform Order that has flown right in the face of the cost based carriers needs for certainty and…

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What a Week….and it’s only Wednesday!

What a Week….and it’s only Wednesday!

I always love the energy that comes when NTCA members come into town and hit the Hill and key agencies to share their stories and perspective on building broadband in rural America.  With a ton of recent activity – the recent order from the FCC finding reserves to make up some of the budget shortfall, the FNPRM on the future of building high-cost networks, upcoming CAF II auctions, a new RUS funding program in the Omnibus measure approved by Congress,…

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Commissioner O’Rielly Shares A Valued And Experienced Perspective

Commissioner O’Rielly Shares A Valued And Experienced Perspective

  On the eve of NTCA’s annual Legislative and Policy Conference, where much of  our members time will be spent sharing the rural broadband provider’s perspective on adequate Universal Service Fund with their congressional delegations as well as constructive feedback on next steps regarding infrastructure and Farm Bill proposals, I thought it was a value-add to share a recent blog from FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly on the importance of program coordination.  I so appreciate the Commissioner’s common-sense approach and his…

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FCC Acts on Rural Broadband Deployment!!

FCC Acts on Rural Broadband Deployment!!

The FCC released today the long awaited Report and Order, Third Order on Reconsideration and FNPRM on Universal Service and that certainly calls for multiple exclamation points!  We are still reviewing the details of the order and related items released by the FCC today, but as a threshold matter, we welcome several aspects of today’s action and are grateful for the release and looking forward to moving forward. First, NTCA has actively engaged in the effort to secure greater, bright-line clarity…

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