The FCC entered into a Consent Decree with Windstream Corporation that resolves the FCC’s investigation into Windstream’s rural call completion practices. As part of the settlement, Windstream agreed to make a voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury of $2.5Million within 30 days.
Windstream also agreed to adopt various internal measures designed to ensure its ongoing compliance with the FCC’s rural call completion requirements.
- Within 30 calendar days, Windstream will designate a senior corporate manage to serve as a Compliance Officer and ensure compliance with the terms of the Consent Decree.
- Within 60 calendar days, Windstream will develop and implement a Compliance Plan that will include:
(1) Operating procedures that all pertinent employees will follow to ensure compliance with the FCC’s rural call completion requirements, including a checklist that describes the steps employees must follow;
(2) A compliance manual that is distributed to all pertinent employees, that includes the operating procedures, and is reviewed annually and revised as necessary;
(3) A compliance training program. All pertinent employees must be trained within 90 calendar days and then annually. The program must be reviewed annually and revised as necessary.
Additionally, Windstream agreed to:
- Cooperate with the FCC and with rural LECs to undertake commercially reasonable steps to establish test points and uniform test criteria to evaluate rural call completion when complaints or data collected in accordance with the FCC’s rules indicate potential rural call completion problems.
- Notify any intermediate provider it has reason to believe is causing call completion problems and work cooperatively with that provider to analyze and resolve the problem as soon as practicable.
- So long as other intermediate providers offer commercially reasonable options for reaching that location, cease using an intermediate provider if complaints, testing, or data collected in accordance with the FCC’s rules show that the provider has sustained inadequate performance on a particular route.
The Consent Decree also calls for ongoing reporting by Windstream. Specifically, Windstream agreed to:
- Report any non-compliance with FCC’s rural call completion rules or the Consent Decree to the FCC within 15 calendar days of becoming aware of the non-compliance;
- File annual compliance reports with the FCC, with the first report due within 90 calendar days.
The Consent Decree will remain in effect for 36 months.