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FCC Press Release: Wireline Competition Bureau Releases Illustrative Model Results to Aid Preparation of Comments in Response to 2018 Rate-of-Return Reform

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SOURCE: The Federal Communications Commission
WC Docket No. 10-90

The Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) announces the availability of illustrative model results intended to aid parties that are preparing comments in response to the 2018 Rate-of-Return Reform NPRM.1

In that NPRM, the Commission sought comment on, among other matters, whether to provide a new model offer based on revised parameters to carriers that would receive less support under the model than under legacy rate-of-return support mechanisms.2

It also sought comment on a proposal to exclude from the rate-of-return budget constraint mechanism an amount equal to 80 percent of a carrier’s new model offer.3

In addition to making the new version of the model available, the Bureau is releasing summary reports based on that model to aid parties in preparing comments on these proposals.

The first reports (Reports 12 and 13) set forth revised offers of support and obligations for the proposed new model offer.4   Report 12 reflects a revised funding threshold of $39.38 and a revised funding cap of $159.22 for Tribal areas only. For non-tribal areas, the report reflects a funding threshold of $52.50 and a funding cap of $146.10.5

Report 13 utilizes a non-tribal funding threshold of $52.50, but increases the funding cap to $200.00, while setting the Tribal funding threshold at $39.38 and the Tribal funding cap at $213.12.  Consistent with prior A-CAM offers, the offers of support illustrated in these reports would be available to holding companies for all of their commonly owned operating companies within a state.

The second report (80 Percent Minimum Report) is intended to aid parties in commenting on the Commission’s proposal to establish a minimum amount of support for carriers receiving legacy rate-of-

return support that would not be subject to the budget constraint mechanism.6  Specifically, the Commission suggested that one alternative would be to set uncapped support for each carrier at a level equal to 80 percent of the carrier’s model offer (based on a funding cap of $146.10 per location).7

The report shows for each study area currently receiving rate-of-return legacy high-cost support: 2017 claims (less CAF ICC) prior to the application of the budget control; 2017 claims (less CAF ICC) after application of the budget control; the amount equal to 80 percent of the model offer for that study area; and a hypothetical estimate of  2017 support using the 80 percent amount as a minimum guarantee, consistent with the rule as proposed in the NPRM.

The model methodology for A-CAM is available at https://www.fcc.gov/general/rate-return- resources#model. The A-CAM is available at https://www.fcc.gov/general/rate-return-resources#model or https://cacm.usac.org/. In order to access the model, parties must execute the relevant acknowledgement of confidentiality, licensing, and nondisclosure documents released as attachments to a Third Supplemental Protective Order if they have not already done so.8

For additional information on this proceeding, contact Ted Burmeister (Theodore.Burmeister@fcc.gov) of the Wireline Competition Bureau, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, (202) 418-7400.

Endnotes:

1 Connect America Fund; ETC Annual Reports and Certifications; Establishing Just and Reasonable Rates for Local Exchange Carriers; Developing a Unified Intercarrier Compensation Regime; WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 14-58, and 07-135, CC Docket No. 01-92; Report and Order, Third Order on Reconsideration, and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 18-29 (rel. Mar. 23, 2018) (2018 Rate-of-Return Reform Order and NPRM).

2 Id. at paras. 117-137.

3 Id. at para. 152.

4 The reports are available at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-350659A1.xlsxhttps://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-350658A1.xlsx.

5 2018 Rate-of-Return Reform Order and FNPRM, at paras. 62-68.

6 The report is available at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-350659A1.xlsxhttps://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-350658A1.xlsx.

7 2018 Rate-of-Return Reform Order and FNPRM, at para. 152.

8 See Connect America Fund, WC Docket No. 10-90, Third Supplemental Protective Order, 27 FCC Rcd 15277 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2012).

(Photo of telephone line by the road in the public domain.)

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Broadband Roundup

AT&T’s Opens Learning Center in Dallas, Parallel Wireless Expands, AT&T 5G Experiment for National Defense

AT&T’s opens first learning center with free broadband, open RAN company Parallel Wireless expands, AT&T testing 5G for maritime use.

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Jeff McElfresh, CEO of AT&T Communications

September 16, 2021—AT&T said Thursday it is opening its first learning center in Dallas, Texas, which it hopes will help bridge the digital divide by providing free access to the internet, computers and educational resources.

Dallas is the first in more than 20 AT&T Connected Learning Centers across the country that it plans to open in, which will include Los Angeles, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Miami, and San Francisco, the company said in a press release Thursday.

The telecom has committed to plowing $2 billion over three years to expand its AT&T Connected Learning program, which it announced in April and is an effort to bridge the digital device by promoting broadband affordability, accessibility and adoption.

“The stakes for closing the digital divide are incredibly high, and it is imperative that we remove barriers to opportunity for children and families,” said Jeff McElfresh, chief executive officer of AT&T Communications. “Education plays a vital role in the long-term success of our society, and we are committed to investing in the educational and connectivity needs of underserved communities, while also expanding access to low-cost broadband services.”

Open RAN company Parallel Wireless expands

Open radio access network company Parallel Wireless is expanding its research and development centers and company headquarters in the United States to develop its 4G and 5G software, said a press release Thursday.

“Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) across the globe are quickly adopting Open RAN networks to deliver cost-effective, easily scalable, wireless broadband connectivity,” the release said. “Parallel Wireless is at the forefront of the telecom revolution driving All G – 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G, Open RAN wireless networks into the future.”

The benefits of open RAN, which allows for a broader market of radio equipment versus relying on proprietary products, has been touted by the Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel for its supposed low cost and security benefits. The FCC held an open RAN showcase in July.

Dish Network is testing technologies for its 5G broadband network, which will use open RAN equipment.

AT&T experimenting with 5G for national defense

In a press release on Thursday, AT&T said that it has come to an agreement with the Naval Postgraduate School to explore and develop 5G for maritime use for national defense, homeland security, and certain industries like shipping and oil and gas.

The three-year research agreement will feature AT&T’s 5G networking capabilities that is intended to hone the ubiquitous connectivity inherent in the next-generation network to create a network that would improve logistics and data analytics.

“The collaboration between the Naval Postgraduate School and AT&T will help us explore better, faster means of collecting, disseminating, and analyzing data at the tactical edge, which is vital to maintaining and exploiting battlespace awareness,” Mike Galbraith, the Navy Department’s chief digital and innovation officer, said in the press release. Experiments conducted under the NPS-AT&T CRADA are expected to complement other DON efforts to apply 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enterprise and tactical uses.”

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Broadband Roundup

Connectivity Bill Introduced, OneWeb Halfway to LEO Launches, USTelecom Announces New VP

Democrats intro device subsidy bill, OneWeb half way to launch goal, Trevor Jones is USTelecom VP of gov. affairs.

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Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2021—In a move lauded by broadband equity advocates, Democrat congressmen introduced the “Device Access for Every American Act” to help low-income broadband consumers.

On Tuesday, congressmen Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Virginia, and Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, introduced the bill as part of similar efforts to improve consumer accessibility.

The legislation would allot $1 billion every year for five years to a program that would give Americans a $400 voucher to purchase a device to access the internet—whether that is a tablet, PC, laptop, etc.—and could get up to $800 over the course of every four-year period that the program is in place.

“Without a computer or tablet, low-income consumers across the country can’t connect despite Congress’ significant investments in deploying affordable broadband across the nation,” Public Knowledge senior policy analyst Jenna Leventoff said.

“However, the unfortunate reality is that most low-income consumers, including many senior citizens, can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars for a computer or tablet. Across the country, more than 11 percent of households don’t have a computer,” she added.

Leventoff pointed to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center that found that 37 percent of schoolchildren in economically disadvantaged households do their coursework from a cellphone and a quarter of them have been unable to do coursework due to a lack of a computer at home.

“This bill will ensure that low-income consumers can connect not only now, but into the future. We applaud Sen. Warnock and Rep. McEachin for their tireless leadership in working to ensure that those most in need are able to get connected,” Leventoff added.

Leventoff noted that she is hopeful that the bill would be added as part of the reconciliation package.

OneWeb’s network of satellites is halfway to completion

On Tuesday, OneWeb launched an additional 34 low-earth orbit satellites, bringing their total to up to 322 out of their projected 648 estimate.

Launch service provider Arianespace was responsible for getting the satellites into orbit. In a press release, Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël touted this as an achievement for the entire sector. “This launch illustrates the recent acceleration in space operation.”

During Satellite 2021’s opening keynote, executive chair of OneWeb Sunil Mittal committed to starting OneWeb’s commercial operations in the northern hemisphere over the next couple of months.

This all follows OneWeb’s 2020 bankruptcy filling and subsequent delays that resulted from the ensuing rescue of the company.

Trevor Jones named VP of Government Affairs for USTelecom

Trevor Jones, former legislative assistant to Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, has been named vice-president of government affairs for USTelecom.

A graduate of Willamette University, Jones has worked with USTelecom since 2019. Jones is an expert in broadband, telecom, and internet policy.

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Broadband Roundup

Dish Using IBM AI for 5G Network, ConnectMaine’s New Grants, Intuit Buys Mailchimp, STL Hires Former Ericsson Exec

Dish is partnering with IBM for 5G, ConnectMaine’s community broadband grants, Intuit to buy Mailchimp, STL hires Paolo Colella.

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Former Ericsson executive Paolo Colella now on STL advisory board

September 14, 2021 – Dish Network has selected IBM’s artificial intelligence technology to automate its 5G network, it said in a Tuesday press release.

The smart network is said to implement the custom software from the makers of Watson that Dish said will help reduce its costs and create new revenue streams for the company.

Dish has been making several moves to expand its wireless offering, under its Boost Mobile moniker. Earlier this month, the company announced that it is buying prepaid and low-cost mobile carrier Gen Mobile. In the summer of last year, it purchased Ting Mobile.

On Wednesday, the Denver-based company asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to use 600 MHz band licenses to test its 5G network in Las Vegas and Denver. Earlier this year, the company said it was accepting sign-ups for its 5G network.

ConnectMaine announced new community broadband grants

Maine has announced Monday new startup grants to build community broadband and has provided guidelines for eligibility on its website.

“Funded projects are intended to get communities ready to pursue future opportunities for broadband expansion, by committing to firm milestones to expand broadband in a way that reflects the community’s vision and goals,” the webpage reads.

The funded activities for broadband expansion should include the local broadband needs and goals, an inventory of existing infrastructure assets, gap analysis for why infrastructure is needed, cost estimates, and a strategy to promote digital inclusion, the webpage said.

Intuit to buy Mailchimp for $12 billion

The maker of tax software Intuit is set to buy email marketing company Mailchimp for $12 billion, the purchasing company said in a Monday press release.

The release said that Mailchimp will help bring Intuit technology scale and global customer reach.

Mailchimp has a global reach of 13 million users, 2.4 million monthly active users, and 800,000 paid customers, the release said.

STL appoints former Ericsson executive to advisory council

More leadership changes are being made at STL, as the company announced Tuesday that it is bringing former Ericsson executive Paolo Colella to its advisory board.

Colella has more than a 25 years of experience in telecommunications, technology and professional services and has held senior executive positions throughout that time. Sweden’s Ericsson is a leading supplier of 5G and mobile wireless equipment to global telecommunications companies.

The company, which focuses on integrating digital networks, earlier this month announced the appointment of Paul Atkinson, who will run the optical networking business.

STL is a sponsor of Broadband Breakfast.

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