Today’s Regulatory Mix: FCC 2021 Tariff Review Plan Released, Hurricane Ida Forces Suspension of Program Deadlines and Rules, Limited Waiver of EBB Program Reimbursement Deadline

FCC 2021 Tariff Review Plan Released 

The FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the release of the tariff review plan for use by rate-of-return carriers that elected incentive regulation for their business data services (BDS) offerings.  Carriers that elected inventive regulation are required to file tariff review plans reflecting any exogenous cost adjustment for Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS), North American Numbering Plan Administration, and regulatory fees in rates to be effective October 1, 2021. As the FCC explained in the 2021 Tariff Review Plan Order, the exogenous cost adjustment for TRS must be “grossed up” to spread the entire adjustment over the remaining months in the tariff year. However, the October 1, 2021 exogenous cost filing and rate adjustment is optional for electing carriers if the total amount of such exogenous cost adjustments would either increase rates or meet a de minimus threshold of $960.00, which is the current tariff filing fee. 


Hurricane Ida Forces Suspension of Program Deadlines and Rules 

Hurricane Ida and the resulting storms have caused devastation beyond just the Gulf Coast.  For this reason, the FCC waived, on its own motion, certain E-Rate, Rural Health Care (RHC), Lifeline, High Cost, Emergency Connectivity Fund, and Emergency Broadband Benefit rules and deadlines to assist participants and providers located in the areas affected by the hurricane. The resulting storm surge, wind damage, and flooding have destroyed and damaged homes, schools, libraries, and health care facilities and displaced residents. The hurricane has also caused significant power and communications network outages throughout the impacted areas. 


Limited Waiver of EBB Program Reimbursement Deadline 

The FCC, on its own motion, granted a limited waiver of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program reimbursement rules. Specifically, a limited waiver was given to participating providers that uploaded their reimbursement claims for discounted service provided in the July 2021 service month by August 16, 2021, but did not certify those claims by the August 16, 2021 claims deadline. The limited waiver will allow the limited number of providers affected by Hurricane Ida and its resulting storms to certify such claims by the next claims deadline of September 15, 2021.  


The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.