FNPRM Issued on Frozen Separations Factors

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In a recent Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC proposed another extension, for eighteen months, of its longtime freeze of jurisdictional separations category relationships and cost allocation factors. This freeze was first enacted on July 1, 2001, and extended many times over the years. Absent an extension, it is set to expire June 30, 2017.

The FCC has frozen these jurisdictional relationships and factors, “in recognition of the sweeping technical and regulatory changes that have been occurring in the communications sector over the last two decades.” The FNPRM states that the Commission is now ready to address changes in its separations rules after having made much progress in the areas of intercarrier compensation and high cost universal service support, as well as its Part 32 accounting rules.

The further extension of the frozen factors and relationships, according to the FCC, will give RoR ILECs stability and regulatory certainty, while reducing regulatory burdens. The freeze will also minimize any unforeseen impacts that might occur due to circumstances such as “growth in local competition and new technologies.”

With the eighteen month freeze in place, the Commission will begin working in earnest with the Federal-State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations to comprehensively overhaul its cost separations rules and procedures.