Advancing The Cause of Competition in the Telecommunications Industry
REMINDER: FCC FORM 499-Q DUE NOVEMBER 1st
Providers of interstate and international telecommunications services ("Universal Service Fund contributors") are reminded that their FCC Form 499-Q is due no later than Tuesday, November 1, 2005.
The FCC requires USF contributors to file Form 499-Q to report actual billed revenue and projected revenues. In the Form 499-Q due November1st, contributors must report actual billed revenue for the 3rd Quarter of 2005 and projected billed & collected revenue for the 1st Quarter of 2006.
The Universal Service Administrative Company mails forms and instructions to contributors who have reported in the past. If you have not reported in the past, but are required to do so, forms and instructions are available on the FCC's website -
De Minimis carriers and service providers (i.e., those with $10,000 or less in annual USF contributions) are not required to file Form499-Qs, but are reminded that an annual Form 499-A is required each year in April.
GRANDE PETITIONS FCC TO PREVENT ILECS FROM ASSESSING TERMINATING ACCESS CHARGES ON IP-ORIGINATED (VoIP) TRAFFIC
On October 3, 2005, Grande Communications filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling asking the FCC to declare that:
- a LEC may properly rely on a customer's certification that the traffic being sent originates in IP format at the calling party's premises and therefore undergoes a net protocol conversion, or is otherwise enhanced, IP-enabled traffic;
- a LEC may send such certified traffic to other terminating LECs over local interconnection trunks; and
- terminating LECs receiving such traffic over local interconnection trunks are to treat that traffic as local traffic for intercarrier compensation purposes and may not assess access charges for such traffic.
Grande's filed its Petition in reaction to the actions of Alltel and other LECs through which Grande terminates IP-originated traffic. According to its Petition, acting in its capacity as a CLEC, Grande terminates certain traffic to Alltel and other LECs which has been self-certified by its customers to be IP-originated (i.e., the traffic originated in IP format at the end user's premise). As such, under FCC precedent and long-standing policy the traffic at issue is "enhanced/information services" traffic and therefore not subject to traditional access charges. Grande alleges that Alltel and other LECs are refusing to treat such traffic as "enhanced/information services" traffic by billing reciprocal compensation, and instead are insisting on billing access charges.
Grande's Petition seeks to stop Alltel and other LECs from acting as the arbiter's of the proper regulatory treatment of VoIP-originated traffic and resolve its current controversies with respect to LEC access charge billing. Instead, Grande requests a ruling that will allow "self-certification" until such time as the FCC issues specific guidelines and rules in its pending IP-Enabled Services and Intercarrier Compensation proceedings.
FCC PUBLISHES VoIP CALEA RULES AND NPRM IN FEDERAL REGISTER
The FCC published notice in the Federal Register adopting a rule establishing that providers of facilities based broadband Internet access services and VoIP Providers which use the public switched telephone network to terminate calls must comply with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The rule will become effective on November 14, 2005, but gives all covered entities 18 months from that date to comply.
The FCC also published notice in the Federal Register initiating a rulemaking to explore whether the CALEA should apply to providers of VoIP services that do not allow users to receive calls originating and terminating on the PSTN. Comments on the NPRM are due November 14,2005 with Reply Comments due December 12, 2005.
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