FCC Eliminates USF Program’s Local Service “Rate Floor” Rule

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At its April 12, 2019 Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) adopted a report and order eliminating the high cost universal service fund (USF) program’s local service “rate floor” rule, which, absent Commission action, would have imposed a nearly 50 percent increase in monthly local telephone rates for many rural consumers beginning July 1, 2019.

Adopted in 2011, the “rate floor” rule was aimed at limiting USF support received by rural carriers whose rates were below a set minimum rate.  According to the Commission, however, “the practical effect of the rate floor has been to artificially raise telephone rates for many rural Americans,” and, without Commission action, the floor would have increased from $18.00 to $26.98 per month beginning July 1, 2019. 

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John focuses his practice on guiding clients through sophisticated and complex telecom and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation disputes. His practice includes representing US and international telecom carriers in both federal and state courts, as well as in regulatory matters before the Federal Communications Commission and state agencies. John also helps defend companies against allegations of TCPA violations and advises brands, marketers, and platform providers on TCPA compliance and risk mitigation strategies. John is also a member of Womble Bond Dickinson's TCPA Defense Force, where he regularly contributes on matters to TCPA litigation and regulatory proceedings.