Iowa Communicator - May 27, 2016

Iowa Communicator - May 27, 2016


This Week's Headlines:
Members Invited to Board Meeting and Social Event
Members Invited to Alliance DC Advocacy Trip

Industry News:
Alliance Team Reviews IUB Telephone Dereg

Education & Events News:
Leadership Conference is less than 2 weeks away-Register Today!
3rd ANNUAL Golf & Grill Classic – DEADLINE NEXT Friday
September 15th EnVision Conference for Video Providers

USF Reform News:
FCC Takes Action on CAF Auctions
NTCA Files Petition for Reconsideration of USF Order
WTA Files Petition for Reconsideration of USF Order

IUB Filings:
FCC Compliance Filings due June 1st




FCC News:
FCC to Revise Network Outage Reporting Rules
FCC Launches Online Consumer Complaint Data Center

Statehouse News:
Revenue Submits Final Broadband Rules for Adoption

Compliance News:
FCC Provides Guidance for Open Internet Transparency Req.
Lifeline Modernization Order Effective June 23

Broadband News:
G.Fast Technology May Boost Data Speeds

Rural Development News:
Study Views Impact of “Gig Economy” on Rural Areas


Registration Deadline NEXT FRIDAY

This Week's Headlines

Members Invited to Board Meeting and Social Event


All telco members are invited to attend and watch the June 7th Alliance Board meeting.  Alliance Board President Mark Harvey will host the meeting at the Dysart Library from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.  Every year the Alliance hosts one or more “open” board meetings at offsite locations and invites members to attend.  If interested in attending, and for more information, please RSVP to Christine Mounts

Following the Board meeting, members are invited to join staff and directors for a networking social on June 7th (the evening before the Leadership Conference) in Cedar Rapids.  Come and meet your friends and colleagues at the Kirkwood Hotel Lobby at 6:30 PM for a few complimentary refreshments and appetizers and then around 7:15 we will take the shuttle thru the Czech Village to the Newbo Market area for dinner at Popoli Ristorante.  Please RSVP your plans to attend to Jolene Davis by June 3rd  so we can reserve enough tables.  The cost of dinner is on your own.    

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

  Members Invited to Alliance DC Advocacy Trip    

The Alliance Board of Directors is considering a congressional visit to Washington DC this summer to extend our relations with the Iowa congressional delegation.  The meetings would be July 11th and 12th.  We are looking particularly for telco GMs and reps that reside in congressional districts of David Young and of Dave Loebsack.  For more information, please contact Dave Duncan.  We will be finalizing our travel plans by next week.  

Industry News    
  Alliance Team Reviews IUB Telephone Dereg    

The Alliance’s “Chapter 22 Rulemaking Task Force” met yesterday to prepare comments in response to the proposals by the IUB to significantly reduce the telephone service standards and requirements in that chapter of rules.  The deletions include:

  • 22.3 General service requirements, including directories, pay telephone service, extension plans, and assignment of numbers
  • 22.5 Telephone utility service standards
  • 22.6 Standards of quality of service (deleting or revising most rules relating to service connections, held orders, service interruption, missed appointments, emergency operation, and business offices).

While the task force agreed with many of the rule deletions, it will seek clarification of the Board’s intent in deleting a limited number of rules.  The Alliance will also file comments urging the Board to resist its proposed “VoIP deregulation” that would create different regulatory regimes for different types of technology. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

 Education & Events News    

Leadership Conference is less than 2 weeks away-Register Today!


Join ICA members at this one-day conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.   The conference agenda provides a unique blend of speakers and topics from our opening Keynote Speaker Dr. Bill Withers, industry experts from South Slope Communications & Kiesling Associates and attendees sharing best practices in our most-requested open forum discussions.  Click here for the full conference brochure. 

Dr. Wither’s; Keynote Address will be
Organizational Culture—Keeping it Simple.  He will reference Patrick Lencioni’s,  book
The Advantage at the conference.  Each attendee will receive a copy of the book with their registration. 

Advance copies are available if you would like to read the book prior to the conference.  Register today and we’ll ship your copy today!

(Contact Jolene Davis with questions)

   Plan to join us for the Iowa Communications Alliance 3rd Annual Golf & Grill Classic on June 20th & 21st at Lake Panorama National Golf Course. 

Several registration options are available for the golf outing:

  • Golf on Monday & attend the grill out Monday evening,
  • Attend the grill out Monday evening & golf on Tuesday
  • you may golf both days  (double session) and attend the grill out
  • Not a golfer?  You can register to attend the grill out and socialize with your industry friends. 

Click here to register online.  Or you can fill out registration form and return it to Jolene at the Iowa Communications Alliance.  All reservations must be received by June 3rd  ICA will not refund fees for cancellations received after June 3rd


The Golf & Grill Classic is sponsored by:  


Impact 2016 Call for Speakers & Sponsors


The Iowa Communications Alliance Technicians, Marketing & Front Office Training Committee is planning the agenda for the 2016 Combined ConferenceNovember 9 & 10 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The conference will include general sessions and tracks for each personnel type:  Marketing professionals, front office/customer service reps and technicians.  There may also be a few ITC managers in attendance. 

We are asking for your input as a member of this association to help provide high quality information to its members.   The committee will begin selecting topics/speakers program at their next meeting. Click here to download the Impact 2016 Call for Speakers.  

(Contact Jolene Davis with questions)

  Save the Date: September 15th EnVision Conference for Video Providers    

The EnVision Conference is September 15th in West Des Moines and will feature great speakers and topics that will provide ideas for enhancing your telco’s video products and services.

We are currently accepting speaker submissions and sponsorships.  Click here for the 2016 EnVision Call for Speakers & Sponsors.    

USF Reform News      
  FCC Takes Action on CAF Auctions    

The FCC has approved details about the auction process to expand service to the census blocks in 20 states where the price cap carriers declined last year’s Connect America Fund offer.  Each of these blocks are identified as not having 10/1 service currently. The auction will award funding to broadband service providers to cover some of the costs of delivering broadband to those rural census blocks.

Auction participants will bid on four separate tiers of service: 10 Mbps, 25 Mbps, 100 Mbps and 1 GB. The FCC authorized $215 million in annual funding and included network buildout requirements of 40% three years after authorization, 60% after four years, 80% after five years and 100% by six years.  Click here to read the Order and request for further comment.  

(contact Dave Duncan for more information


NTCA Files Petition for Reconsideration of USF Order


NTCA filed a petition for reconsideration and/or clarification of the FCC’s USF reform order.  NTCA requested that the commission:

· reconsider the high-cost USF budget and suspend the requirement that RLECs provide certification that they are providing standalone broadband services at reasonably comparable rates until the budget and other potential structural changes to the mechanism can be considered and reconsidered

· provide a reasonable opportunity to recover regulated costs through new rate elements to the extent that providers are denied recovery through USF

·  clarify that each RLEC is responsible for the consequences of its consideration of a potential election of model support, rather than having the risk of any one carrier’s decision spread among other carriers

· clarify the means by which it would be shown that a competitor had achieved the requisite coverage for “competitive overlap” and clarify the calculations for recovery of disaggregated costs in the event of a finding of such overlap

· recognize the need for an inflationary factor within the new operating expense limits

· concerns about the overly narrow scope of a “streamlined waiver” and certain limits in the new capital investment allowance; and

· clarify the ongoing duties of RLECs in areas where no more USF support is provided

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   WTA Files Petition for Reconsideration of USF Order    

WTA filed a Petition for Reconsideration of the FCC’s March 2016 USF Reform Report and Order, seeking reconsideration on four areas:

  • the Commission should reconsider and strengthen its requirements for qualifications as “unsubsidized competitors" to ensure that customers in affected “competitive” areas do not suffer loss or degradation of service;
  • the Commission should clarify and expand its rules regarding the treatment of transactions after the ACAM and Rate of Return paths are implemented;
  • the Order’s build-out obligations do not consider virtually certain price increases and delays regarding fiber optic cable and construction contractors; and
  • the Order’s benchmark and budgetary controls render it unlikely that retail broadband rates can comply with reasonably comparability ceilings.

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

IUB Filings  

FCC Compliance Filings due June 1st


On Monday, May 9th, the Alliance distributed a Special Report summarizing the IUB’s Order on Access Tariff Filings.  All members are required to make a filing by June 1st to show compliance with the FCC’s intercarrier compensation rate step downs.  Those step downs require a reduction in terminating access rates to $0.005 per minute as of July 1, 2015. Click here to read the IUB’s Order.  Click here to read our Special Report and to see a template that members may consider using for their filing.  Over 100 LECs have made their filings already. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

FCC News      
   FCC to Revise Network Outage Reporting Rules    

The FCC approved an Order and is seeking comment on additional rules related to network outage reporting requirements for landline voice, and interconnected VoIP providers.  The text of the Order is not yet available, but it is understood that the rule changes impact reporting requirement for simplex events, wherein a circuit loses one of its many redundant pathways and proposals to update its reporting requirements to address disruptions to broadband, including outages and degradation of service. 

As per recent custom, the Order was adopted on split vote.  Commissioner Pai issued a strong dissent lamenting the additional burden these rules will place on providers, stating:  This proceeding is not about actual outages that impact actual consumers. Nor is it about gathering targeted and useful information. It is about regulation for its own sake.”  Commissioner O’Reilly states:  “Yet again, the Commission predictably continues its power grab over the Internet by extending the outage reporting to so-called “Broadband Internet Access Services” (BIAS).  From a statutory authority perspective this item represents quite an epic work of fiction.”  The Order, requests for further comment and statements of the Commissioners is available here.  

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

  FCC Launches Online Consumer Complaint Data Center    

The FCC launched its new online Consumer Complaint Data Center to provide the public with more information about consumer complaints received by the Commission.  It also added informal complaints submitted to the FCC to the database, which is updated on a daily basis. The database includes the service the consumer is complaining about (phone, TV, Internet, radio, emergency, or accessibility), the method by which the consumer receives the service (such as wireless vs. VoIP phone), the issue the consumer is complaining about and the consumer’s general location information. The Consumer Complaint Data Center can be found on this page of the FCC’s website

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

Statehouse News     

Revenue Submits Final Broadband Rules for Adoption


This week the Iowa Department of Revenue (DOR) submitted their final rulemaking document to the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee (ARRC) for adoption by the body. On June 14th the ARRC will take up the rulemaking for final action and if approved, the rules will go into effect later in the month on June 29th, nearly a full year after the bill became law. The rulemaking pertains to the broadband property tax exemption created during the 2015 legislative session. The Alliance has been deeply involved in the stakeholder process and when given the opportunity, has registered guidance and other comments as to how the DOR could maximize the benefit of the exemption for rural carriers.

Unfortunately, the DOR chose to make very few revisions from the initial draft documents released to the public in March including the Alliance’s suggestion to clarify that the exemption would include infrastructure costs such as conduit, pedestals, enclosures, electronics and other supporting equipment. While the advancement and finalizing of the rulemaking would otherwise be a positive step in the process, Alliance members have yet to achieve a level of confidence in how the DOR will carry out the calculation of the exemption for rural carriers applying for the tax incentive. Because of a continued lack of clarity over reporting of income streams from telephony versus broadband being applied to the “three-pronged approach” of cost, income and stock and debt, it is possible the final outcome may not be known until October when DOR issues property tax assessments for communications companies. This would mean that two construction seasons will have passed before rural carriers know how to plan for the new exemption. This will leave only three and a half constructions seasons remaining to utilize the exemption as the Legislature and Governor sunset the program for July 1st, 2020.

The Alliance will continue to engage the DOR, the Iowa Chief Information Officer, the Legislature and Governor’s Office on the tax exemption. Please continue to monitor your inbox and the Communicator for additional details as they become available.

To view the proposed rules for adoption by DOR, please click here.

To view the comments the Alliance submitted in response to the draft rules, please click here.

To view a timeline of activity on the rules by the Alliance, please click here

(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)

Compliance News    
  FCC Provides Guidance for Open Internet Transparency Requirements    

The FCC issued a ten-page Public Notice to “clarify what disclosure practices will satisfy the enhanced transparency requirements in the 2015 Open Internet Order.  This latest FCC guidance includes acceptable methodologies for disclosure of network performance metrics, using the Measuring Broadband America Safe Harbor, guidance for those not using the safe harbor, and compliance with the point of sale disclosure requirement.  Click here to read the Notice. 

Small providers (those with 100,000 or fewer broadband connections) are exempt from the enhanced transparency requirements until December 2016.  The FCC’s Transparency Rule requires broadband internet access service providers (BIAS) to “publicly disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain Internet offerings.”

Small providers must comply with the original transparency requirements, which include the point-of-sale requirement “at a minimum, the prominent display of disclosures on a publicly available website and disclosure of relevant information.”

(contact Dave Duncan for more information).  


Lifeline Modernization Order Effective June 23


The FCC published the Lifeline Modernization Third Report and Order, Further Report and Order, and Order on Reconsideration in the Federal Register on May 24, 2016.  The Order is effective June 23, 2016, except all the provisions which contain information collection requirements and need OMB approval before taking effect.  

·         54.101 -- Supported services for rural, insular and high cost areas

·         54.202(a)(6), (d), and (e) Additional requirements for Commission designation of eligible telecommunications carriers

·         54.205(c) Relinquishment of universal service

·         54.401(a)(2), (b), (c), and (f) Lifeline defined

·         54.403(a) Lifeline support amount

·         54.405(e)(1) and (e)(3) through (5) Carrier obligation to offer Lifeline

·         54.407(a), (c)(2), and (d) Reimbursement for offering Lifeline

·         54.408 Minimum service standards

·         54.409(a)(2) Consumer qualification for Lifeline

·         54.410(b) through (h) Subscriber eligibility determination and certification.

·         54.411 Lifeline benefit portability

·         54.416(a)(3) Annual certifications by eligible telecommunications carriers.

·         54.420(b) Low income program audits

·         54.422(b)(3) Annual reporting for eligible telecommunications carriers that receive low-income support.

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

Broadband News    

G.Fast Technology May Boost Data Speeds


Israeli chipmaker Sckipio announced it has developed technology it calls “G.Fast” that can deliver both upload and download speeds 750 Mbps over copper.  Click here for an article from CNN Money. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

Rural Development News    
  Study Views Impact of “Gig Economy” on Rural Areas    

A study by Mississippi State Professor Robert Gallardo shows that the growth of the “gig economy” is focused on urban areas across the US.  Gallardo used “non-employer establishments” as an approximation of the “gig economy” – meaning the rise of use of contract workers, temps, freelancers and other self-employed workers that likely use broadband services to perform their duties.  Non-employer establishments are identified as a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed, where there are no employees but where federal taxes were paid.

Gallardo found that while non-employer establishments increased 23.4% in the US over a 10-year period, small city and rural counties lost non-employer establishments during that period.  He speculates the rural decline may be due to lack of broadband in rural areas or due to a lack of awareness of the benefits of the “online gig economy.”  Click here to see the map and read the part I of Gallardo’s three-part series.    

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)


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