Wireline Competition Bureau Dismisses Two Rate Floor Recon Petitions

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The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) has dismissed two petitions that sought reconsideration of various aspects of the FCC’s rate floor rule. The first petition was filed jointly by the National Exchange Carrier Association, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, the Eastern Rural Telecom Association, and WTA – Advocates for Rural Broadband (Rural Associations). In their petition, the Rural Associations sought reconsideration of the methodology the Bureau used to establish the rate floor, arguing that the rate floor should be set at least one standard deviation below the national urban average. The Bureau dismissed the petition as untimely, explaining that the decision to base the rate floor on the national urban average rather than some standard deviation below that average was made by the FCC in the 2011 USF/ICC Transformation Order, and the window for requesting reconsideration of that order closed over two years ago. The United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) filed the other petition. It requested that the FCC refrain from conducting its annual urban rate survey until the phase-in of support reductions is complete, which the Bureau dismissed as untimely. USTelecom also requested that the FCC waive application of the rate floor rule to “vacation lines” and “warm lines” because such lines provide lower-priced services that are not reasonably comparable to local service. The Bureau dismissed this request because the issues were not raised in the record and the FCC has had no opportunity to address the arguments.

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