Wireline Competition Bureau Grants Appeals Related to USF Disbursements Under Old Identical Support Rule

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The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) has granted five “appeals” related to universal service fund (USF) support disbursements made under the old “identical support” rule and a related waiver petition and request for guidance that were filed by mobile wireless providers.  Under the identical support rule, mobile wireless competitive eligible telecommunications carriers (CETCs) received the same per-line amount of high-cost USF support as the incumbent local exchange carrier serving the same area.  The rule required CETCs to file monthly line counts reports, along with each customer’s billing address for the purpose of identifying the location where service was provided and to calculate the amount of USF support for each line.

The Bureau’s Order clarifies how CETCs “should report line counts in situations when the customer’s billing address is either unavailable or does not accurately represent the location of service” by granting the following requests: The Bureau granted requests for review of Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) decisions filed by ACS Wireless, AT&T, and PR Wireless; The Bureau granted Cordova Wireless Communications, LLC’s request for review, but did not address its request for review of a USAC decision to withhold USF support for certain lines on the ground that the lines had no usage; The Bureau granted ACS Wireless, Inc.’s petition for waiver of the customer billing address requirement; The Bureau granted Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative’s petition for waiver of the customer billing address requirement; The Bureau granted General Communication, Inc.’s request for a declaratory ruling that its practices related to the use of customer billing addresses are consistent with the FCC’s rules; and The Bureau granted Mobi PCS, Inc.’s and Cricket Communications Inc.’s request to provide guidance to USAC regarding the billing address requirement.

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