ICORE Can Assist RLECs With ALL Aspects of Recent USF Reform and BDS Orders

  • Post category:Blog

The FCC has recently adopted very important orders on Universal Service Reform and Business Data Services options for the nation’s smallest, most rural carriers. ICORE stands ready to help every RLEC needing assistance with any provision of either order.

The just-issued USF Reform Report and Order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Order on Reconsideration provide new support options for small, rural carriers. First, a new model offer for existing A-CAM carriers will increase their funding if they commit to building out additional locations at 25/3 Mbps. Second, carriers currently receiving legacy support will have the option of moving to a new A-CAM model in return for meeting specific obligations for building out to 25/3 Mbps. Third, and very importantly, for those RoR carriers remaining on legacy support, the FCC is adopting a new budget based on uncapped 2018 claims that will be increased by a one-time 7% to address migration to CBOL (broadband only) lines, as well as an annual inflation factor. It will be separate from CAF ICC and A-CAM budgets, and refunds Budget Control Mechanism support reductions through December 31, 2018. In return, new 25/3 Mbps obligations are required. The effective date of this order has not as yet been established.

While awaiting effective and implementation dates, ICORE can assist you with this complex order, from understanding its provisions, through tariff and pooling questions, current and projected revenue projections and choosing the option which is most beneficial for your company, to complete implementation details.

The earlier BDS Order provides an option for present and future A-CAM, Alaska Plan and RoR price cap affiliates to move higher speed special access offerings to a fully deregulated basis, and lower speed services to an incentive (price cap) framework. Effective dates are set at either July 1, 2019 or July 1, 2020, and are one-way, i.e., non-reversible. NECA must be notified by March 1, 2019 and the FCC by May 1, for a July 1, 2019 effective date.

As with the USF Reform Order, ICORE can provide interested carriers with information and analyses that will contribute heavily to the decision on whether to deregulate and de-tariff special access services. Besides operational and customer considerations, key factors to be considered include determination of revised cost and rates if RoR switched access remains in the NECA pool, as well as other actions such as foregoing long-standing cost separations studies and unfreezing category relationships.

If an RLEC’s decision is to adopt the BDS offer, ICORE can provide step-by-step guidelines and instructions to meet and implement all FCC requirements, including the Special Access price cap tariff rates for lower speed services.

Please call or email Chris Ulmer on 610-928-3903 (culmer@icorellc.com) to discuss how we may help you with either order.