NECA ‘s recent filing with the FCC indicates that High Cost Loop settlements for those average schedule companies serving fewer than 500 loops per exchange will experience a decrease of 8.46 percent in their 2023 settlements. All other average schedule carriers will see an increase.
In addition, updates to the HCL after October 1 of this year will produce lower payments for all rate-of-return carriers, including average schedule companies.
At one time in the industry, when USITA and AT&T negotiated and developed average schedule updates, there was a real effort to build schedules that encouraged and incentivized the smaller companies to remain on the schedules. Cost studies were time consuming and expensive, and the schedules represented a fair method of compensation for many, if not most, companies.
Now, in a post-divestiture and highly competitive industry, we are faced with many challenges. These. Include how to reconcile the interests of small companies required to provide universal service at reasonable rates with those of huge corporations that have no such responsibilities.
This whole effort is still somewhat of a work in progress.