In a recent order, the FCC waived application of its Budget Control Mechanism for rate of return carriers receiving High Cost Loop Support and Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support.
In its place, it adopted a budget constraint of 0% for the July 2022 to June 2023 tariff year, in recognition of economic and other economic challenges faced by small carriers due to the pandemic.
The FCC directed its Wireline Competition Bureau to work with USAC to calculate the BCM using 0% for R-O-R carriers.
In light of the potential harm that imposition of the BCM will cause to small carriers – it has had to be set at 0% the past two tariff years – it seems time for small carriers to work with the Commission on a new, fairer and more workable budget mechanism. NTCA and other small carrier representatives have offered the FCC their assistance in such an effort.
Better yet, elimination of any such arbitrary budget control mechanism until the present system has had the opportunity to operate for a reasonable amount of time may be the best solution. The FCC might have gotten a little ahead of itself this time.