The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Board of Directors adopted four telecommunications resolutions at its Summer Committee Meetings in Denver, Colorado.
The Numbering Trial resolution addresses recent FCC actions to permitting certain VoIP providers to obtain direct access to telephone numbers, as well as the FCC’s request for comment on five types of technology trials. The resolution emphasizes that states should play an integral role in the FCC’s proposed technology transition trials and urges the FCC to:
- Apply numbering resource utilization and optimization rules and obligations equally to all service providers, whether they utilize copper or fiber, wireline or wireless, or TDM or IP infrastructure and technologies.
- Work with states to jointly examine the best way to accomplish the interconnection of next generation telecommunications network technologies in order to ensure that the public interest in the efficient and fair utilization of numbering resources will be protected.
- Refer any proposed or future technology transition trials to an adequately funded Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service for collaborative review with the state commissions and advice regarding the design, geographic application, selection of applicants, and evaluation of the trials and any subsequent policy recommendations necessary to maintain and advance the statutorily protected universal service concept.
The Lifeline Resolution commends the FCC on its efforts to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in program but urges the FCC to do more by:
- Examining the Lifeline recertification process to ensure that legitimate eligible consumers continue to receive the benefits provided by the Lifeline program.
- Promptly initiating a collaborative process with the States to develop and implement a mechanism for States and/or the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to efficiently administer determination of eligibility and recertification for consumers and to learn from State Lifeline enrollment and recertification processes, databases, and systems;
- Taking strong enforcement action against Lifeline providers and customers engaging in fraudulent practices and/or failing to comply with FCC rules that ensure households that truly qualify receive assistance; and
- Ensuring that the National Lifeline Accountability Database and the eligibility database are available before the end of 2013 so that ETCs and States may use these databases in 2014.
The other telecommunications resolutions address communications during power outages and implementation of Phase II of the FCC’s new Connect America Fund.
The power outage resolution recognizes that modern wireless and wireline communications services are increasingly reliant on the commercial power grid and that adequate back-up power is necessary to ensure the networks continue to operate during power outages. Recognizing that this issue impacts both state and federal jurisdiction, the resolution urges State and federal regulators to engage in meaningful dialogue with industry decision makers to develop policies and procedures that ensure telecommunications are maintained during power outages regardless of the technology and the communications protocols used to provide the services.
The final resolution calls for transparency in developing the rules for Phase II of the Connect America Fund (CAF). Among other things, it urges the FCC to implement a process that affords interested parties and state commissions a “fully open, transparent and meaningful opportunity” to review and comment on all changes to the CAF-II USF and subsequent models which might be adopted for application to the rate-of-return carriers. It also asks that, when adopting cost models for price-cap carrier rural areas, the FCC make an explicit factual determination that such action will not impact nor prejudge any action that the FCC may take on federal USF high-cost support mechanisms for the areas served by rate-of-return carriers.
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Will you be at COMPTEL PLUS Septebmer 23 – 26, 2013 in Orlando at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center? TMI is hosting the FREE VoIP Workshop on Thursday, September 26, 2013. You should be there.