Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on October 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm
Washington, DC –The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today adopted an Order to reform the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Inter-Carrier Compensation (ICC) rules for the broadband era. You may attribute the following statement to AT&T’s Senior Vice President-Federal Regulatory & Chief Privacy Officer Bob Quinn:
“The FCC today took an important step in transforming the concept of universal service. By redefining the 21st century basic service, which all Americans should have access to, as broadband instead of traditional voice, the FCC has recognized the fundamental technological transformation that has occurred across the globe over the past fifteen years. Many Commissions have attempted to solve this seemingly insoluble problem without success. Managing all of the moving industry pieces has been compared to trying to change a tire on a car racing down the highway. This historic achievement could not have occurred without the leadership of Chairman Genachowski, and the commitment of Commissioners Clyburn, McDowell and Copps to work together and to find a path forward.
“While no one can say that it is thrilled with all aspects of what the FCC did today, we are cognizant that we shouldn’t lose sight of the forest – the significance of what this decision means to all Americans – through the trees. In the future, the basic level of service that United States policy will encourage and fund will be broadband and not simply voice service. This is a significant achievement worthy of congratulations and its impact on all Americans should not be minimized. With that said, we look forward to carefully reviewing the details of the FCC’s order before we can fully understand all of its implications.”
Posted by: Hank Hultquist on October 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm
It’s time to chalk up another victim to the addictive qualities of access charges.
For more than a decade, cable companies have fought vigorously to avoid entanglement of their broadband IP networks with common carrier regulation. Now, for less than a penny a minute, Comcast seems ready to say “the heck with all that.”
In recent weeks, Comcast has proposed certain changes to the FCC’s rules that govern competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) access charges. In particular, Comcast has asked the FCC to eliminate a rule that prohibits CLECs from charging for functions that they don’t actually perform. No, that’s not a typo. Comcast wants the FCC to allow CLECs (and this includes Comcast’s own CLEC affiliates) to charge for access services whether they provide them or not. This request is surpassingly ironic in that VoIP providers have spent much of the last 10 years insisting that they should never have to pay access charges. Today, we filed a letter with the Commission explaining why Comcast’s proposal is not only unlawful but also unwise.
In a nutshell, Comcast wants the FCC to make a rule saying that as long as a CLEC provides the telephone number listed in the number portability database, that CLEC should be able to charge the same amount as an incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) that terminates a call to an end user over its plain old telephone service (POTS) network. The implication of this proposal is that as long as a CLEC provides the telephone number, it’s safe to conclude that the CLEC provides a service equivalent to all of the other functions – and the associated costs – included in access charges. Nothing could be further from the truth. And, here’s why.
Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on October 6, 2011 at 11:57 am
You may attribute the following statement to AT&T’s Senior Vice President-Federal Regulatory & Chief Privacy Officer Bob Quinn:
“For far too long, the FCC has wrestled with updating the universal service and intercarrier compensation rules for the broadband era. Absent reform, these rules will simply loiter on to foster more litigation and arbitrage, and ultimately stifle innovation and the benefits of broadband for consumers.
“Clearly, now is the time to finally bring these reforms to fruition. FCC Chairman Genachowski deserves credit for bringing this important issue to this point. We and many others are committed to working with him and the entire Commission, as it works to bring this opportunity for a fair, reasonable plan across the finish line.”