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Title 47 – Telecommunication–Volume 3

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Title 47 – Telecommunication–Volume 3


Part


chapter i – Federal Communications Commission (Continued)

42

CHAPTER I – FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (CONTINUED)

SUBCHAPTER B – COMMON CARRIER SERVICES (CONTINUED)

PARTS 40-41 [RESERVED]

PART 42 – PRESERVATION OF RECORDS OF COMMUNICATION COMMON CARRIERS


Authority:47 U.S.C. 154(i), 219, 220.


Source:51 FR 32653, Sept. 15, 1986, unless otherwise noted.

Applicability

§ 42.01 Applicability.

This part prescribes the regulations governing the preservation of records of communication common carriers that are fully subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.


General Instructions

§ 42.1 Scope of the regulations in this part.

(a) The regulations in this part apply to all accounts, records, memoranda, documents, papers, and correspondence prepared by or on behalf of the carrier as well as those which come into its possession in connection with the acquisition of property, such as by purchase, consolidation, merger, etc.


(b) The regulations in this part shall not be construed as requiring the preparation of accounts, records, or memoranda not required to be prepared by other regulations, such as the Uniform System of Accounts, except as provided hereinafter.


(c) The regulations in this part shall not be construed as excusing compliance with any other lawful requirement for the preservation of records.


§ 42.2 Designation of a supervisory official.

Each carrier subject to the regulations in this part shall designate one or more officials to supervise the preservation of its records.


§ 42.3 Protection and storage of records.

The carrier shall protect records subject to the regulations in this part from damage from fires, and other hazards and, in the selection of storage spaces, safeguard the records from unnecessary exposure to deterioration.


§ 42.6 Retention of telephone toll records.

Each carrier that offers or bills toll telephone service shall retain for a period of 18 months such records as are necessary to provide the following billing information about telephone toll calls: the name, address, and telephone number of the caller, telephone number called, date, time and length of the call. Each carrier shall retain this information for toll calls that it bills whether it is billing its own toll service customers for toll calls or billing customers for another carrier.


[51 FR 39536, Oct. 29, 1986]


Specific Instructions for Carriers Offering Interexchange Services

§ 42.10 Public availability of information concerning interexchange services.

(a) A nondominant interexchange carrier (IXC) shall make available to any member of the public, in at least one location, during regular business hours, information concerning its current rates, terms and conditions for all of its international and interstate, domestic, interexchange services. Such information shall be made available in an easy to understand format and in a timely manner. Following an inquiry or complaint from the public concerning rates, terms and conditions for such services, a carrier shall specify that such information is available and the manner in which the public may obtain the information.


(b) In addition, a nondominant IXC that maintains an Internet website shall make such rate and service information specified in paragraph (a) of this section available on-line at its Internet website in a timely and easily accessible manner, and shall update this information regularly.


[64 FR 19725, Apr. 22, 1999, as amended at 66 FR 16879, Mar. 28, 2001]


§ 42.11 Retention of information concerning detariffed interexchange services.

(a) A nondominant IXC shall maintain, for submission to the Commission and to state regulatory commissions upon request, price and service information regarding all of the carrier’s international and interstate, domestic, interexchange service offerings. A commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) provider shall maintain such price and service information only about its international common carrier service offerings and only for those routes on which the CMRS provider is classified as dominant under § 63.10 of this Chapter due to an affiliation with a foreign carrier that collects settlement payments from U.S. carriers for terminating U.S. international switched traffic at the foreign end of the route. Such a CMRS provider is not required to maintain its price and service information, however, on any such affiliated route if it provides service on that route solely through the resale of an unaffiliated facilities-based provider’s international switched services. The price and service information maintained for purposes of this paragraph shall include documents supporting the rates, terms, and conditions of the carrier’s international and interstate, domestic, interexchange offerings. The information maintained pursuant to this section shall be maintained in a manner that allows the carrier to produce such records within ten business days. For purposes of this paragraph, affiliated and foreign carrier are defined in § 63.09 of this chapter.


(b) The price and service information maintained pursuant to this section shall be retained for a period of at least two years and six months following the date the carrier ceases to provide services pursuant to such rates, terms and conditions.


[61 FR 59366, Nov. 22, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 59604, Nov. 4, 1997; 64 FR 19725, Apr. 22, 1999; 66 FR 16879, Mar. 28, 2001]


PART 43 – REPORTS OF COMMUNICATION COMMON CARRIERS, PROVIDERS OF INTERNATIONAL SERVICES AND CERTAIN AFFILIATES


Authority:47 U.S.C. 35-39, 154, 211, 219, 220; sec. 402(b)(2)(B), (c), Pub. L. 104-104, 110 Stat. 129.



Source:28 FR 13214, Dec. 5, 1963, unless otherwise noted.

§ 43.01 Applicability.

(a) The sections in this part include requirements which have been promulgated under authority of sections 211 and 219 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, with respect to the filing by communication common carriers and certain of their affiliates of periodic reports and certain other data, but do not include certain requirements relating to the filing of information with respect to specific services, accounting systems and other matters incorporated in other parts of this chapter.


(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, carriers becoming subject to the provisions of the several sections of this part for the first time, shall, within thirty (30) days of becoming subject, file the required data as set forth in the various sections of this part.


(c) Carriers becoming subject to the provisions of §§ 43.21 and 43.43 for the first time, because their annual operating revenues equal or exceed the indexed revenue threshold for a given year, shall begin collecting data pursuant to such provisions in the calendar year following the publication of that indexed revenue threshold in the Federal Register. With respect to such initial filing of reports by any carrier, pursuant to the provisions of § 43.21 (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), and (k), the carrier is to begin filing data for the calendar year following the publication of that indexed revenue threshold in the Federal Register by April 1 of the second calendar year following publication of that indexed revenue threshold in the Federal Register.


[28 FR 13214, Dec. 5, 1963, as amended at 62 FR 39778, July 24, 1997; 65 FR 19685, Apr. 12, 2000; 78 FR 49149, Aug. 13, 2013; 85 FR 838, Jan. 8, 2020]


§ 43.21 Transactions with affiliates.

(a) Communication common carriers having annual operating revenues in excess of the indexed revenue threshold, as defined in § 32.9000, and certain companies (as indicated in paragraph (b) of this section) directly or indirectly controlling such carriers shall file with the Commission annual reports or an annual letter as provided in this section. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, each annual report required by this section shall be filed no later than April 1 of each year, covering the preceding calendar year. It shall be filed on the appropriate report form prescribed by the Commission (see § 1.785 of this chapter) and shall contain full and specific answers to all questions propounded and information requested in the currently effective report forms. The number of copies to be filed shall be specified in the applicable report form. At least one copy of this report shall be signed on the signature page by the responsible accounting officer. A copy of each annual report shall be as retained in the principal office of the respondent and shall be filed in such manner to be readily available for reference and inspection.


(b) Each company, not itself a communication common carrier, that directly or indirectly controls any communication common carrier that has annual operating revenues equal to or above the indexed revenue threshold, as defined in § 32.9000, shall file annually with the Commission, not later than the date prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Commission for its purposes, two complete copies of any annual report Forms 10-K (or any superseding form) filed with that Commission.


(c) Each miscellaneous common carrier (as defined by § 21.2 of this chapter) with operating revenues for a calendar year in excess of the indexed revenue threshold, as defined in § 32.9000, shall file with the Common Carrier Bureau Chief a letter showing its operating revenues for that year and the value of its total communications plant at the end of that year. This letter must be filed no later than April 1 of the following year. Those miscellaneous common carriers with annual operating revenues that equal or surpass the indexed revenue threshold for the first time may file the letter up to one month after publication of the adjusted revenue threshold in the Federal Register, but in no event shall such carriers be required to file the letter prior to April 1.


(d) Each communications common carrier required by order to file a manual allocating its costs between regulated and nonregulated operations shall file, on or before April 1:


(1) A three-year forecast of regulated and nonregulated use of network plant for the current calendar year and the two calendar years following, and investment pool projections and allocations for the current calendar year; and


(2) A report of the actual use of network plant investment for the prior calendar year.


(e) Each incumbent local exchange carrier, except mid-sized incumbent local exchange carriers, as defined by § 32.9000 with annual operating revenues equal to or above the indexed revenue threshold shall file, no later than April 1 of each year:


(1) Its revenues, expenses and investment for all accounts established in part 32 of this chapter, on an operating company basis,


(2) The same part 32 of this chapter, on a study area basis, with data for regulated and nonregulated operations for those accounts which are related to the carrier’s revenue requirement, and


(3) The separations categories on a study area basis, with each category further divided into access elements and a nonaccess interstate category.


(f) Each incumbent local exchange carrier with operating revenues for the preceding year that equal or exceed the indexed revenue threshold shall file, no later than April 1 of each year, a report showing for the previous calendar year its revenues, expenses, taxes, plant in service, other investment and depreciation reserves, and other such data as are required by the Commission, on computer media prescribed by the Commission. The total operating results shall be allocated between regulated and nonregulated operations, and the regulated data shall be further divided into the following categories: State and interstate, and the interstate will be further divided into common line, traffic sensitive access, special access, and nonaccess.


(g) Each incumbent local exchange carrier for whom price cap regulation is mandatory and every incumbent local exchange carrier that elects to be covered by the price cap rules shall file, by April 1 of each year, a report designed to capture trends in service quality under price cap regulation. The report shall contain data relative to network measures of service quality, as defined by the Wireline Competition Bureau, from the previous calendar year on a study area basis.


(h) Each incumbent local exchange carrier for whom price cap regulation is mandatory shall file, by April 1 of each year, a report designed to capture trends in service quality under price cap regulation. The report shall contain data relative to customer measures of service quality, as defined by the Wireline Competition Bureau, from the previous calendar year a study area basis.


(i) Each incumbent local exchange carrier for whom price regulation is mandatory shall file, by April 1 of each year, a report containing data from the previous calendar year on a study area basis that are designed to capture trends in telephone industry infrastructure development under price cap regulation.


(j) Each incumbent local exchange carrier with annual operating revenues that equal or exceed the indexed revenue threshold shall file, no later than April 1 of each year, a report containing data from the previous calendar year on an operating company basis. Such report shall combine statistical data designed to monitor network growth, usage, and reliability.


(k) Each designated interstate carrier with operating revenues for the preceding year that equal or exceed the indexed revenue threshold shall file, no later than April 1 of each year, a report showing for the previous calendar year its revenues, expenses, taxes, plant in service, other investments and depreciation reserves, and such other data as are required by the Commission, on computer media prescribed by the Commission. The total operating results shall be allocated between regulated and nonregulated operations, and the regulated data shall be further divided into the following categories: State and interstate, and the interstate will be further divided into common line, traffic sensitive access, special access, and nonaccess.


[28 FR 13214, Dec. 5, 1963, as amended at 49 FR 10122, Mar. 19, 1984; 50 FR 41153, Oct. 9, 1985; 51 FR 37024, Oct. 17, 1986; 52 FR 35918, Sept. 24, 1987; 58 FR 36143, July 6, 1993; 61 FR 50245, Sept. 25, 1996; 62 FR 39778, July 24, 1997; 67 FR 5700, Feb. 6, 2002; 67 FR 13225, Mar. 21, 2002]


§ 43.41 [Reserved]

§ 43.43 Reports of proposed changes in depreciation rates.

(a) Each communication common carrier with annual operating expenses that equal or exceed the indexed revenue threshold, as defined in § 32.9000, and that has been found by this Commission to be a dominant carrier with respect to any communications service shall, before making any changes in the depreciation rates applicable to its operated plant, file with the Commission a report furnishing the data described in the subsequent paragraphs of this section, and also comply with the other requirements thereof.


(b) Each such report shall contain the following:


(1) A schedule showing for each class and subclass of plant (whether or not the depreciation rate is proposed to be changed) an appropriate designation therefor, the depreciation rate currently in effect, the proposed rate, and the service-life and net-salvage estimates underlying both the current and proposed depreciation rates;


(2) An additional schedule showing for each class and subclass, as well as the totals for all depreciable plant, (i) the book cost of plant at the most recent date available, (ii) the estimated amount of depreciation accruals determined by applying the currently effective rate to the amount of such book cost, (iii) the estimated amount of depreciation accruals determined by applying the rate proposed to be used to the amount of such book cost, and (iv) the difference between the amounts determined in paragraphs (b)(2) (ii) and (iii) of this section;


(3) A statement giving the reasons for the proposed change in each rate;


(4) A statement describing the method or methods employed in the development of the service-life and salvage estimates underlying each proposed change in a depreciation rate; and


(5) The date as of which the revised rates are proposed to be made effective in the accounts.


(c) Except as specified in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(3) of this section, when the change in the depreciation rate proposed for any class or subclass of plant (other than one occasioned solely by a shift in the relative investment in the several subclasses of the class of plant) amounts to twenty percent (20%) or more of the rate currently applied thereto, or when the proposed change will produce an increase or decrease of one percent (1%) or more of the aggregate depreciation charges for all depreciable plant (based on the amounts determined in compliance with paragraph (b)(2) of this section) the carrier shall supplement the data required by paragraph (b) of this section) with copies of the underlying studies, including calculations and charts, developed by the carrier to support service-life and net-salvage estimates. If a carrier must submit data of a repetitive nature to comply with this requirement, the carrier need only submit a fully illustrative portion thereof.


(1) A Local Exchange Carrier regulated under price caps, pursuant to §§ 61.41 through 61.49 of this chapter, is not required to submit the supplemental information described in paragraph (c) introductory text of this section for a specific account if: The carrier’s currently prescribed depreciation rate for the specific accounts derived from basic factors that fall within the basic factor ranges established for that same account; and the carrier’s proposed depreciation rate for the specific account would also be derived from basic factors that fall within the basic factor ranges for the same account.


(2) Local Exchange Carriers that are regulated under price caps, pursuant to §§ 61.41 through 61.49 of this chapter, and have selected basic factors that fall within the basic factor ranges for all accounts are exempt from paragraphs (b)(3), (b)(4), and (c) introductory text of this section. They shall instead comply with paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(2) and (b)(5) of this section and provide a book and theoretical reserve summary and a summary of basic factors underlying proposed rates by account.


(3) Interexchange carriers regulated under price caps, pursuant to §§ 61.41 through 61.49 of this chapter, are exempted from submitting the supplemental information as described in paragraph (c) introductory text of this section. They shall instead submit: Generation data, a summary of basic factors underlying proposed depreciation rates by account and a short narrative supporting those basic factors, including company plans of forecasted retirements and additions, recent annual retirements, salvage and cost of removal.


(d) Each report shall be filed in duplicate and the original shall be signed by the responsible official to whom correspondence related thereto should be addressed.


(e) Unless otherwise directed or approved by the Commission, the following shall be observed: Proposed changes in depreciation rates shall be filed at least ninety (90) days prior to the last day of the month with respect to which the revised rates are first to be applied in the accounts (e.g., if the new rates are to be first applied in the depreciation accounts for September, they must be filed on or before July 1). Such rates may be made retroactive to a date not prior to the beginning of the year in which the filing is made: Provided however, that in no event shall a carrier for which the Commission has prescribed depreciation rates make any changes in such rates unless the changes are prescribed by the Commission. Carriers who select basic factors that fall within the basic factor ranges for all accounts are exempt from depreciation rate prescription by the Commission.


(f) Any changes in depreciation rates that are made under the provisions of paragraph (e) of this section shall not be construed as having been approved by the Commission unless the carrier has been specifically so informed.


[28 FR 13214, Dec. 5, 1963, as amended at 30 FR 3223, Mar. 9, 1965; 53 FR 49987, Dec. 13, 1988; 58 FR 58790, Nov. 4, 1993; 61 FR 50246, Sept. 25, 1996; 62 FR 39779, July 24, 1997; 65 FR 18931, Apr. 10, 2000]


§ 43.51 Contracts and concessions.

(a)(1) Any communication common carrier described in paragraph (b) of this section must file with the Commission, within thirty (30) days of execution, a copy of each contract, agreement, concession, license, authorization, operating agreement or other arrangement to which it is a party and amendments thereto (collectively hereinafter referred to as “agreement” for purposes of this rule) with respect to the following:


(i) The exchange of services; and,


(ii) The interchange or routing of traffic and matters concerning rates, accounting rates, division of tolls, or the basis of settlement of traffic balances, except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section.


(2) If the contract, agreement, concession, license, authorization, operating agreement or other arrangement and amendments thereto is made other than in writing, a certified statement covering all details thereof must be filed by at least one of the parties to the agreement. Each other party to the agreement which is also subject to these provisions may, in lieu of also filing a copy of the agreement, file a certified statement referencing the filed document. The Commission may, at any time and upon reasonable request, require any communication common carrier not subject to the provisions of this section to submit the documents referenced in this section.


(b) The following communication common carriers must comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section:


(1) A carrier that is engaged in domestic communications and has not been classified as non-dominant pursuant to § 61.3 of this Chapter; or


(2) A carrier that is engaged in foreign communications and that has been classified as dominant for any service on any of the U.S.-international routes included in the contract, except for a carrier classified as dominant on a particular route due only to a foreign carrier affiliation under § 63.10 of this chapter.


(c) With respect to contracts coming within the scope of paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section between subject telephone carriers and connecting carriers, except those contracts related to communications with foreign or overseas points, such documents shall not be filed with the Commission; but each subject telephone carrier shall maintain a copy of such contracts to which it is a party in appropriate files at a central location upon its premises, copies of which shall be readily accessible to Commission staff and members of the public upon reasonable request therefor; and upon request by the Commission, a subject telephone carrier shall promptly forward individual contracts to the Commission.


(d) Any U.S. carrier, other than a provider of commercial mobile radio services, that is engaged in foreign communications, and enters into an agreement with a foreign carrier, is subject to the Commission’s authority to require the U.S. carrier providing service on any U.S.-international routes to file, on an as-needed basis, a copy of each agreement to which it is a party.



Note 1 to § 43.51:

For purposes of this section, affiliated and foreign carrier are defined in § 63.09 of this chapter.



Note 2 to § 43.51:

To the extent that a foreign government provides telecommunications services directly through a governmental organization, body or agency, it shall be treated as a foreign carrier for the purposes of this section.


[66 FR 16879, Mar. 28, 2001, as amended at 69 FR 23153, Apr. 28, 2004; 78 FR 11112, Feb. 15, 2013]


§ 43.62 [Reserved]

§ 43.72 [Reserved]

§ 43.82 Circuit capacity reports.

(a) International submarine cable capacity. Not later than March 31 of each year:


(1) The licensee(s) of a submarine cable between the United States and any foreign point shall file a report showing the capacity of the submarine cable as of December 31 of the preceding calendar year. The licensee(s) shall also file a report showing the planned capacity of the submarine cable (the intended capacity of the submarine cable two years from December 31 of the preceding calendar year).


(2) Each cable landing licensee and common carrier shall file a report showing its capacity on submarine cables between the United States and any foreign point as of December 31 of the preceding calendar year.



Note to paragraph (a):

United States is defined in Section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 153.


(b) Registration Form. A Registration Form, containing information about the filer, such as address, phone number, email address, etc., shall be filed with each report. The Registration Form shall include a certification enabling the filer to check a box to indicate that the filer requests that its circuit capacity data be treated as confidential consistent with Section 0.459(a)(4) of the Commission’s rules.


(c) Filing Manual. Authority is delegated to the Chief of the International Bureau to prepare instructions and reporting requirements for the filing of these reports prepared and published as a Filing Manual. The information required under this Section shall be filed electronically in conformance with the instructions and reporting requirements in the Filing Manual.


[82 FR 55331, Nov. 21, 2017]


PART 51 – INTERCONNECTION


Authority:47 U.S.C. 151-55, 201-05, 207-09, 218, 225-27, 251-52, 271, 332 unless otherwise noted.



Source:61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – General Information

§ 51.1 Basis and purpose.

(a) Basis. These rules are issued pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.


(b) Purpose. The purpose of these rules is to implement sections 251 and 252 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 251 and 252.


§ 51.3 Applicability to negotiated agreements.

To the extent provided in section 252(e)(2)(A) of the Act, a state commission shall have authority to approve an interconnection agreement adopted by negotiation even if the terms of the agreement do not comply with the requirements of this part.


§ 51.5 Terms and definitions.

Terms used in this part have the following meanings:


Act. The Communications Act of 1934, as amended.


Advanced intelligent network. Advanced intelligent network is a telecommunications network architecture in which call processing, call routing, and network management are provided by means of centralized databases located at points in an incumbent local exchange carrier’s network.


Advanced services. The term “advanced services” is defined as high speed, switched, broadband, wireline telecommunications capability that enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics or video telecommunications using any technology.


Arbitration, final offer. Final offer arbitration is a procedure under which each party submits a final offer concerning the issues subject to arbitration, and the arbitrator selects, without modification, one of the final offers by the parties to the arbitration or portions of both such offers. “Entire package final offer arbitration,” is a procedure under which the arbitrator must select, without modification, the entire proposal submitted by one of the parties to the arbitration. “Issue-by-issue final offer arbitration,” is a procedure under which the arbitrator must select, without modification, on an issue-by-issue basis, one of the proposals submitted by the parties to the arbitration.


Billing. Billing involves the provision of appropriate usage data by one telecommunications carrier to another to facilitate customer billing with attendant acknowledgements and status reports. It also involves the exchange of information between telecommunications carriers to process claims and adjustments.


Binder or binder group. Copper pairs bundled together, generally in groups of 25, 50 or 100.


Business line. A business line is an incumbent LEC-owned switched access line used to serve a business customer, whether by the incumbent LEC itself or by a competitive LEC that leases the line from the incumbent LEC. The number of business lines in a wire center shall equal the sum of all incumbent LEC business switched access lines, plus the sum of all UNE loops connected to that wire center, including UNE loops provisioned in combination with other unbundled elements. Among these requirements, business line tallies:


(1) Shall include only those access lines connecting end-user customers with incumbent LEC end-offices for switched services,


(2) Shall not include non-switched special access lines,


(3) Shall account for ISDN and other digital access lines by counting each 64 kbps-equivalent as one line. For example, a DS1 line corresponds to 24 64 kbps-equivalents, and therefore to 24 “business lines.”


Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS). CMRS has the same meaning as that term is defined in § 20.3 of this chapter.


Commingling. Commingling means the connecting, attaching, or otherwise linking of an unbundled network element, or a combination of unbundled network elements, to one or more facilities or services that a requesting telecommunications carrier has obtained at wholesale from an incumbent LEC, or the combining of an unbundled network element, or a combination of unbundled network elements, with one or more such facilities or services. Commingle means the act of commingling.


Commission. Commission refers to the Federal Communications Commission.


Day. Day means calendar day.


Dialing parity. The term dialing parity means that a person that is not an affiliate of a local exchange carrier is able to provide telecommunications services in such a manner that customers have the ability to route automatically, without the use of any access code, their telecommunications to the telecommunications service provider of the customer’s designation from among 2 or more telecommunications service providers (including such local exchange carrier).


Directory assistance service. Directory assistance service includes, but is not limited to, making available to customers, upon request, information contained in directory listings.


Directory listings. Directory listings are any information:


(1) Identifying the listed names of subscribers of a telecommunications carrier and such subscriber’s telephone numbers, addresses, or primary advertising classifications (as such classifications are assigned at the time of the establishment of such service), or any combination of such listed names, numbers, addresses or classifications; and


(2) That the telecommunications carrier or an affiliate has published, caused to be published, or accepted for publication in any directory format.


Downstream database. A downstream database is a database owned and operated by an individual carrier for the purpose of providing number portability in conjunction with other functions and services.


Enhanced extended link. An enhanced extended link or EEL consists of a combination of an unbundled loop and unbundled dedicated transport, together with any facilities, equipment, or functions necessary to combine those network elements.


Equipment necessary for interconnection or access to unbundled network elements. For purposes of section 251(c)(2) of the Act, the equipment used to interconnect with an incumbent local exchange carrier’s network for the transmission and routing of telephone exchange service, exchange access service, or both. For the purposes of section 251(c)(3) of the Act, the equipment used to gain access to an incumbent local exchange carrier’s unbundled network elements for the provision of a telecommunications service.


Fiber-based collocator. A fiber-based collocator is any carrier, unaffiliated with the incumbent LEC, that maintains a collocation arrangement in an incumbent LEC wire center, with active electrical power supply, and operates a fiber-optic cable or comparable transmission facility that


(1) Terminates at a collocation arrangement within the wire center;


(2) Leaves the incumbent LEC wire center premises; and


(3) Is owned by a party other than the incumbent LEC or any affiliate of the incumbent LEC, except as set forth in this paragraph. Dark fiber obtained from an incumbent LEC on an indefeasible right of use basis shall be treated as non-incumbent LEC fiber-optic cable. Two or more affiliated fiber-based collocators in a single wire center shall collectively be counted as a single fiber-based collocator. For purposes of this paragraph, the term affiliate is defined by 47 U.S.C. 153(1) and any relevant interpretation in this Title.


Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (Incumbent LEC). With respect to an area, the local exchange carrier that:


(1) On February 8, 1996, provided telephone exchange service in such area; and


(2)(i) On February 8, 1996, was deemed to be a member of the exchange carrier association pursuant to § 69.601(b) of this chapter; or


(ii) Is a person or entity that, on or after February 8, 1996, became a successor or assign of a member described in paragraph (2)(i) of this section.


Information services. The term information services means the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information via telecommunications, and includes electronic publishing, but does not include any use of any such capability for the management, control, or operation of a telecommunications system or the management of a telecommunications service.


Interconnection. Interconnection is the linking of two networks for the mutual exchange of traffic. This term does not include the transport and termination of traffic.


Known disturber. An advanced services technology that is prone to cause significant interference with other services deployed in the network.


Intermodal. The term intermodal refers to facilities or technologies other than those found in traditional telephone networks, but that are utilized to provide competing services. Intermodal facilities or technologies include, but are not limited to, traditional or new cable plant, wireless technologies, and power line technologies.


Local Access and Transport Area (LATA). A Local Access and Transport Area is a contiguous geographic area –


(1) Established before February 8, 1996 by a Bell operating company such that no exchange area includes points within more than 1 metropolitan statistical area, consolidated metropolitan statistical area, or State, except as expressly permitted under the AT&T Consent Decree; or


(2) Established or modified by a Bell operating company after February 8, 1996 and approved by the Commission.


Local Exchange Carrier (LEC). A LEC is any person that is engaged in the provision of telephone exchange service or exchange access. Such term does not include a person insofar as such person is engaged in the provision of a commercial mobile service under section 332(c) of the Act, except to the extent that the Commission finds that such service should be included in the definition of the such term.


Maintenance and repair. Maintenance and repair involves the exchange of information between telecommunications carriers where one initiates a request for maintenance or repair of existing products and services or unbundled network elements or combination thereof from the other with attendant acknowledgements and status reports.


Meet point. A meet point is a point of interconnection between two networks, designated by two telecommunications carriers, at which one carrier’s responsibility for service begins and the other carrier’s responsibility ends.


Meet point interconnection arrangement. A meet point interconnection arrangement is an arrangement by which each telecommunications carrier builds and maintains its network to a meet point.


Mobile wireless service. A mobile wireless service is any mobile wireless telecommunications service, including any commercial mobile radio service.


Multi-functional equipment. Multi-functional equipment is equipment that combines one or more functions that are necessary for interconnection or access to unbundled network elements with one or more functions that would not meet that standard as stand-alone functions.


Network element. A network element is a facility or equipment used in the provision of a telecommunications service. Such term also includes, but is not limited to, features, functions, and capabilities that are provided by means of such facility or equipment, including but not limited to, subscriber numbers, databases, signaling systems, and information sufficient for billing and collection or used in the transmission, routing, or other provision of a telecommunications service.


Operator services. Operator services are any automatic or live assistance to a consumer to arrange for billing or completion of a telephone call. Such services include, but are not limited to, busy line verification, emergency interrupt, and operator-assisted directory assistance services.


Physical collocation. Physical collocation is an offering by an incumbent LEC that enables a requesting telecommunications carrier to:


(1) Place its own equipment to be used for interconnection or access to unbundled network elements within or upon an incumbent LEC’s premises;


(2) Use such equipment to interconnect with an incumbent LEC’s network facilities for the transmission and routing of telephone exchange service, exchange access service, or both, or to gain access to an incumbent LEC’s unbundled network elements for the provision of a telecommunications service;


(3) Enter those premises, subject to reasonable terms and conditions, to install, maintain, and repair equipment necessary for interconnection or access to unbundled elements; and


(4) Obtain reasonable amounts of space in an incumbent LEC’s premises, as provided in this part, for the equipment necessary for interconnection or access to unbundled elements, allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


Premises. Premises refers to an incumbent LEC’s central offices and serving wire centers; all buildings or similar structures owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by an incumbent LEC that house its network facilities; all structures that house incumbent LEC facilities on public rights-of-way, including but not limited to vaults containing loop concentrators or similar structures; and all land owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by an incumbent LEC that is adjacent to these central offices, wire centers, buildings, and structures.


Pre-ordering and ordering. Pre-ordering and ordering includes the exchange of information between telecommunications carriers about: current or proposed customer products and services; or unbundled network elements, or some combination thereof. This information includes loop qualification information, such as the composition of the loop material, including but not limited to: fiber optics or copper; the existence, location and type of any electronic or other equipment on the loop, including but not limited to, digital loop carrier or other remote concentration devices, feeder/distribution interfaces, bridge taps, load coils, pair-gain devices, disturbers in the same or adjacent binder groups; the loop length, including the length and location of each type of transmission media; the wire gauge(s) of the loop; and the electrical parameters of the loop, which may determine the suitability of the loop for various technologies.


Provisioning. Provisioning involves the exchange of information between telecommunications carriers where one executes a request for a set of products and services or unbundled network elements or combination thereof from the other with attendant acknowledgements and status reports.


Rural telephone company. A rural telephone company is a LEC operating entity to the extent that such entity:


(1) Provides common carrier service to any local exchange carrier study area that does not include either:


(i) Any incorporated place of 10,000 inhabitants or more, or any part thereof, based on the most recently available population statistics of the Bureau of the Census; or


(ii) Any territory, incorporated or unincorporated, included in an urbanized area, as defined by the Bureau of the Census as of August 10, 1993;


(2) Provides telephone exchange service, including exchange access, to fewer than 50,000 access lines;


(3) Provides telephone exchange service to any local exchange carrier study area with fewer than 100,000 access lines; or


(4) Has less than 15 percent of its access lines in communities of more than 50,000 on February 8, 1996.


Service control point. A service control point is a computer database in the public switched network which contains information and call processing instructions needed to process and complete a telephone call.


Service creation environment. A service creation environment is a computer containing generic call processing software that can be programmed to create new advanced intelligent network call processing services.


Service provider. A service provider is a provider of telecommunications services or a provider of information services.


Signal transfer point. A signal transfer point is a packet switch that acts as a routing hub for a signaling network and transfers messages between various points in and among signaling networks.


State. The term state includes the District of Columbia and the Territories and possessions.


State commission. A state commission means the commission, board, or official (by whatever name designated) which under the laws of any state has regulatory jurisdiction with respect to intrastate operations of carriers. As referenced in this part, this term may include the Commission if it assumes responsibility for a proceeding or matter, pursuant to section 252(e)(5) of the Act or § 51.320. This term shall also include any person or persons to whom the state commission has delegated its authority under sections 251 and 252 of the Act and this part.


State proceeding. A state proceeding is any administrative proceeding in which a state commission may approve or prescribe rates, terms, and conditions including, but not limited to, compulsory arbitration pursuant to section 252(b) of the Act, review of a Bell operating company statement of generally available terms pursuant to section 252(f) of the Act, and a proceeding to determine whether to approve or reject an agreement adopted by arbitration pursuant to section 252(e) of the Act.


Technically feasible. Interconnection, access to unbundled network elements, collocation, and other methods of achieving interconnection or access to unbundled network elements at a point in the network shall be deemed technically feasible absent technical or operational concerns that prevent the fulfillment of a request by a telecommunications carrier for such interconnection, access, or methods. A determination of technical feasibility does not include consideration of economic, accounting, billing, space, or site concerns, except that space and site concerns may be considered in circumstances where there is no possibility of expanding the space available. The fact that an incumbent LEC must modify its facilities or equipment to respond to such request does not determine whether satisfying such request is technically feasible. An incumbent LEC that claims that it cannot satisfy such request because of adverse network reliability impacts must prove to the state commission by clear and convincing evidence that such interconnection, access, or methods would result in specific and significant adverse network reliability impacts.


Telecommunications carrier. A telecommunications carrier is any provider of telecommunications services, except that such term does not include aggregators of telecommunications services (as defined in section 226 of the Act). A telecommunications carrier shall be treated as a common carrier under the Act only to the extent that it is engaged in providing telecommunications services, except that the Commission shall determine whether the provision of fixed and mobile satellite service shall be treated as common carriage. This definition includes CMRS providers, interexchange carriers (IXCs) and, to the extent they are acting as telecommunications carriers, companies that provide both telecommunications and information services. Private Mobile Radio Service providers are telecommunications carriers to the extent they provide domestic or international telecommunications for a fee directly to the public.


Telecommunications service. The term telecommunications service refers to the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to such classes of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used.


Telephone exchange service. A telephone exchange service is:


(1) A service within a telephone exchange, or within a connected system of telephone exchanges within the same exchange area operated to furnish to subscribers intercommunicating service of the character ordinarily furnished by a single exchange, and which is covered by the exchange service charge, or


(2) A comparable service provided through a system of switches, transmission equipment, or other facilities (or combination thereof) by which a subscriber can originate and terminate a telecommunications service.


Telephone toll service. The term telephone toll service refers to telephone service between stations in different exchange areas for which there is made a separate charge not included in contracts with subscribers for exchange service.


Unreasonable dialing delay. For the same type of calls, dialing delay is “unreasonable” when the dialing delay experienced by the customer of a competing provider is greater than that experienced by a customer of the LEC providing dialing parity, or nondiscriminatory access to operator services or directory assistance.


Triennial Review Order. The Triennial Review Order means the Commission’s Report and Order and Order on Remand and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in CC Docket Nos. 01-338, 96-98, and 98-147.


Triennial Review Remand Order. The Triennial Review Remand Order is the Commission’s Order on Remand in CC Docket Nos. 01-338 and 04-313 (released February 4, 2005).


Virtual collocation. Virtual collocation is an offering by an incumbent LEC that enables a requesting telecommunications carrier to:


(1) Designate or specify equipment to be used for interconnection or access to unbundled network elements to be located within or upon an incumbent LEC’s premises, and dedicated to such telecommunications carrier’s use;


(2) Use such equipment to interconnect with an incumbent LEC’s network facilities for the transmission and routing of telephone exchange service, exchange access service, or both, or for access to an incumbent LEC’s unbundled network elements for the provision of a telecommunications service; and


(3) Electronically monitor and control its communications channels terminating in such equipment.


Wire center. A wire center is the location of an incumbent LEC local switching facility containing one or more central offices, as defined in the Appendix to part 36 of this chapter. The wire center boundaries define the area in which all customers served by a given wire center are located.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 61 FR 47348, Sept. 6, 1996; 64 FR 23241, Apr. 30, 1999; 65 FR 1344, Jan. 10, 2000; 65 FR 2550, Jan. 18, 2000; 65 FR 54438, Sept. 8, 2000; 66 FR 43521, Aug. 20, 2001; 68 FR 52293, Sept. 2, 2003; 70 FR 8952, Feb. 24, 2005]


Subpart B – Telecommunications Carriers

§ 51.100 General duty.

(a) Each telecommunications carrier has the duty:


(1) To interconnect directly or indirectly with the facilities and equipment of other telecommunications carriers; and


(2) To not install network features, functions, or capabilities that do not comply with the guidelines and standards as provided in the Commission’s rules or section 255 or 256 of the Act.


(b) A telecommunication carrier that has interconnected or gained access under sections 251(a)(1), 251(c)(2), or 251(c)(3) of the Act, may offer information services through the same arrangement, so long as it is offering telecommunications services through the same arrangement as well.


Subpart C – Obligations of All Local Exchange Carriers

§ 51.201 Resale.

The rules governing resale of services by an incumbent LEC are set forth in subpart G of this part.


§ 51.203 Number portability.

The rules governing number portability are set forth in part 52, subpart C of this chapter.


§ 51.205 Dialing parity: General.

A local exchange carrier (LEC) shall provide local dialing parity to competing providers of telephone exchange service, with no unreasonable dialing delays. Dialing parity shall be provided for originating telecommunications services that require dialing to route a call.


[83 FR 42052, Aug. 20, 2018]


§ 51.207 Local dialing parity.

A LEC shall permit telephone exchange service customers within a local calling area to dial the same number of digits to make a local telephone call notwithstanding the identity of the customer’s or the called party’s telecommunications service provider.


[61 FR 47349, Sept. 6, 1996]


§ 51.217 Nondiscriminatory access: Telephone numbers, operator services, directory assistance services, and directory listings.

(a) Definitions. As used in this section, the following definitions apply:


(1) Competing provider. A “competing provider” is a provider of telephone exchange or telephone toll services that seeks nondiscriminatory access from a local exchange carrier (LEC) in that LEC’s service area.


(2) Nondiscriminatory access. “Nondiscriminatory access” refers to access to telephone numbers, operator services, directory assistance and directory listings that is at least equal to the access that the providing local exchange carrier (LEC) itself receives. Nondiscriminatory access includes, but is not limited to:


(i) Nondiscrimination between and among carriers in the rates, terms, and conditions of the access provided; and


(ii) The ability of the competing provider to obtain access that is at least equal in quality to that of the providing LEC.


(3) Providing local exchange carrier (LEC). A “providing local exchange carrier” is a local exchange carrier (LEC) that is required to permit nondiscriminatory access to a competing provider.


(b) General rule. A local exchange carrier (LEC) that provides operator services, directory assistance services or directory listings to its customers, or provides telephone numbers, shall permit competing providers of telephone exchange service or telephone toll service to have nondiscriminatory access to that service or feature, with no unreasonable dialing delays.


(c) Specific requirements. A LEC subject to paragraph (b) of this section must also comply with the following requirements:


(1) Telephone numbers. A LEC shall permit competing providers to have access to telephone numbers that is identical to the access that the LEC provides to itself.


(2) Operator services. A LEC must permit telephone service customers to connect to the operator services offered by that customer’s chosen local service provider by dialing “0,” or “0” plus the desired telephone number, regardless of the identity of the customer’s local telephone service provider.


(3) Directory assistance services and directory listings – (i) Access to directory assistance. A LEC shall permit competing providers to have access to its directory assistance services, including directory assistance databases, so that any customer of a competing provider can obtain directory listings, except as provided in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section, on a nondiscriminatory basis, notwithstanding the identity of the customer’s local service provider, or the identity of the provider for the customer whose listing is requested. A LEC must supply access to directory assistance in the manner specified by the competing provider, including transfer of the LECs’ directory assistance databases in readily accessible magnetic tape, electronic or other convenient format, as provided in paragraph (c)(3)(iii) of this section. Updates to the directory assistance database shall be made in the same format as the initial transfer (unless the requesting LEC requests otherwise), and shall be performed in a timely manner, taking no longer than those made to the providing LEC’s own database. A LEC shall accept the listings of those customers served by competing providers for inclusion in its directory assistance/operator services databases.


(ii) Access to directory listings. A LEC that compiles directory listings shall share directory listings with competing providers in the manner specified by the competing provider, including readily accessible tape or electronic formats, as provided in paragraph (c)(3)(iii) of this section. Such data shall be provided in a timely fashion.


(iii) Format. A LEC shall provide access to its directory assistance services, including directory assistance databases, and to its directory listings in any format the competing provider specifies, if the LEC’s internal systems can accommodate that format.


(A) If a LEC’s internal systems do not permit it provide directory assistance or directory listings in the format the specified by the competing provider, the LEC shall:


(1) Within thirty days of receiving the request, inform the competing provider that the requested format cannot be accommodated and tell the requesting provider which formats can be accommodated; and


(2) Provide the requested directory assistance or directory listings in the format the competing provider chooses from among the available formats.


(B) [Reserved]


(iv) Unlisted numbers. A LEC shall not provide access to unlisted telephone numbers, or other information that its customer has asked the LEC not to make available, with the exception of customer name and address. The LEC shall ensure that access is permitted to the same directory information, including customer name and address, that is available to its own directory assistance customers.


(v) Adjuncts to services. Operator services and directory assistance services must be made available to competing providers in their entirety, including access to any adjunct features (e.g., rating tables or customer information databases) necessary to allow competing providers full use of these services.


(d) Branding of operator services and directory assistance services. The refusal of a providing local exchange carrier (LEC) to comply with the reasonable request of a competing provider that the providing LEC rebrand its operator services and directory assistance, or remove its brand from such services, creates a presumption that the providing LEC is unlawfully restricting access to its operator services and directory assistance. The providing LEC can rebut this presumption by demonstrating that it lacks the capability to comply with the competing provider’s request.


(e) Disputes – (1) Disputes involving nondiscriminatory access. In disputes involving nondiscriminatory access to operator services, directory assistance services, or directory listings, a providing LEC shall bear the burden of demonstrating with specificity:


(i) That it is permitting nondiscriminatory access, and


(ii) That any disparity in access is not caused by factors within its control. “Factors within its control” include, but are not limited to, physical facilities, staffing, the ordering of supplies or equipment, and maintenance.


(2) Disputes involving unreasonable dialing delay. In disputes between providing local exchange carriers (LECs) and competing providers involving unreasonable dialing delay in the provision of access to operator services and directory assistance, the burden of proof is on the providing LEC to demonstrate with specificity that it is processing the calls of the competing provider’s customers on terms equal to that of similar calls from the providing LEC’s own customers.


[61 FR 47350, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 64 FR 51911, Sept. 27, 1999]


§ 51.219 Access to rights of way.

The rules governing access to rights of way are set forth in part 1, subpart J of this chapter.


§ 51.221 Reciprocal compensation.

The rules governing reciprocal compensation are set forth in subpart H of this part.


§ 51.223 Application of additional requirements.

(a) A state may not impose the obligations set forth in section 251(c) of the Act on a LEC that is not classified as an incumbent LEC as defined in section 251(h)(1) of the Act, unless the Commission issues an order declaring that such LECs or classes or categories of LECs should be treated as incumbent LECs.


(b) A state commission, or any other interested party, may request that the Commission issue an order declaring that a particular LEC be treated as an incumbent LEC, or that a class or category of LECs be treated as incumbent LECs, pursuant to section 251(h)(2) of the Act.


§ 51.230 Presumption of acceptability for deployment of an advanced services loop technology.

(a) An advanced services loop technology is presumed acceptable for deployment under any one of the following circumstances, where the technology:


(1) Complies with existing industry standards; or


(2) Is approved by an industry standards body, the Commission, or any state commission; or


(3) Has been successfully deployed by any carrier without significantly degrading the performance of other services.


(b) An incumbent LEC may not deny a carrier’s request to deploy a technology that is presumed acceptable for deployment unless the incumbent LEC demonstrates to the relevant state commission that deployment of the particular technology will significantly degrade the performance of other advanced services or traditional voiceband services.


(c) Where a carrier seeks to establish that deployment of a technology falls within the presumption of acceptability under paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the burden is on the requesting carrier to demonstrate to the state commission that its proposed deployment meets the threshold for a presumption of acceptability and will not, in fact, significantly degrade the performance of other advanced services or traditional voice band services. Upon a successful demonstration by the requesting carrier before a particular state commission, the deployed technology shall be presumed acceptable for deployment in other areas.


[65 FR 1345, Jan. 10, 2000]


§ 51.231 Provision of information on advanced services deployment.

(a) An incumbent LEC must provide to requesting carriers that seek access to a loop or high frequency portion of the loop to provide advanced services:


(1) Uses in determining which services can be deployed; and information with respect to the spectrum management procedures and policies that the incumbent LEC.


(2) Information with respect to the rejection of the requesting carrier’s provision of advanced services, together with the specific reason for the rejection; and


(3) Information with respect to the number of loops using advanced services technology within the binder and type of technology deployed on those loops.


(b) A requesting carrier that seeks access to a loop or a high frequency portion of a loop to provide advanced services must provide to the incumbent LEC information on the type of technology that the requesting carrier seeks to deploy.


(1) Where the requesting carrier asserts that the technology it seeks to deploy fits within a generic power spectral density (PSD) mask, it also must provide Spectrum Class information for the technology.


(2) Where a requesting carrier relies on a calculation-based approach to support deployment of a particular technology, it must provide the incumbent LEC with information on the speed and power at which the signal will be transmitted.


(c) The requesting carrier also must provide the information required under paragraph (b) of this section when notifying the incumbent LEC of any proposed change in advanced services technology that the carrier uses on the loop.


[65 FR 1345, Jan. 10, 2000]


§ 51.232 Binder group management.

(a) With the exception of loops on which a known disturber is deployed, the incumbent LEC shall be prohibited from designating, segregating or reserving particular loops or binder groups for use solely by any particular advanced services loop technology.


(b) Any party seeking designation of a technology as a known disturber should file a petition for declaratory ruling with the Commission seeking such designation, pursuant to § 1.2 of this chapter.


[65 FR 1346, Jan. 10, 2000]


§ 51.233 Significant degradation of services caused by deployment of advanced services.

(a) Where a carrier claims that a deployed advanced service is significantly degrading the performance of other advanced services or traditional voiceband services, that carrier must notify the deploying carrier and allow the deploying carrier a reasonable opportunity to correct the problem. Where the carrier whose services are being degraded does not know the precise cause of the degradation, it must notify each carrier that may have caused or contributed to the degradation.


(b) Where the degradation asserted under paragraph (a) of this section remains unresolved by the deploying carrier(s) after a reasonable opportunity to correct the problem, the carrier whose services are being degraded must establish before the relevant state commission that a particular technology deployment is causing the significant degradation.


(c) Any claims of network harm presented to the deploying carrier(s) or, if subsequently necessary, the relevant state commission, must be supported with specific and verifiable information.


(d) Where a carrier demonstrates that a deployed technology is significantly degrading the performance of other advanced services or traditional voice band services, the carrier deploying the technology shall discontinue deployment of that technology and migrate its customers to technologies that will not significantly degrade the performance of other such services.


(e) Where the only degraded service itself is a known disturber, and the newly deployed technology satisfies at least one of the criteria for a presumption that it is acceptable for deployment under § 51.230, the degraded service shall not prevail against the newly-deployed technology.


[65 FR 1346, Jan. 10, 2000]


Subpart D – Additional Obligations of Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers

§ 51.301 Duty to negotiate.

(a) An incumbent LEC shall negotiate in good faith the terms and conditions of agreements to fulfill the duties established by sections 251 (b) and (c) of the Act.


(b) A requesting telecommunications carrier shall negotiate in good faith the terms and conditions of agreements described in paragraph (a) of this section.


(c) If proven to the Commission, an appropriate state commission, or a court of competent jurisdiction, the following actions or practices, among others, violate the duty to negotiate in good faith:


(1) Demanding that another party sign a nondisclosure agreement that precludes such party from providing information requested by the Commission, or a state commission, or in support of a request for arbitration under section 252(b)(2)(B) of the Act;


(2) Demanding that a requesting telecommunications carrier attest that an agreement complies with all provisions of the Act, federal regulations, or state law;


(3) Refusing to include in an arbitrated or negotiated agreement a provision that permits the agreement to be amended in the future to take into account changes in Commission or state rules;


(4) Conditioning negotiation on a requesting telecommunications carrier first obtaining state certifications;


(5) Intentionally misleading or coercing another party into reaching an agreement that it would not otherwise have made;


(6) Intentionally obstructing or delaying negotiations or resolutions of disputes;


(7) Refusing throughout the negotiation process to designate a representative with authority to make binding representations, if such refusal significantly delays resolution of issues; and


(8) Refusing to provide information necessary to reach agreement. Such refusal includes, but is not limited to:


(i) Refusal by an incumbent LEC to furnish information about its network that a requesting telecommunications carrier reasonably requires to identify the network elements that it needs in order to serve a particular customer; and


(ii) Refusal by an incumbent LEC to furnish cost data that would be relevant to setting rates if the parties were in arbitration.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 68 FR 52294, Sept. 2, 2003]


§ 51.303 Preexisting agreements.

(a) All interconnection agreements between an incumbent LEC and a telecommunications carrier, including those negotiated before February 8, 1996, shall be submitted by the parties to the appropriate state commission for approval pursuant to section 252(e) of the Act.


(b) Interconnection agreements negotiated before February 8, 1996, between Class A carriers, as defined by § 32.11(a)(1) of this chapter, shall be filed by the parties with the appropriate state commission no later than June 30, 1997, or such earlier date as the state commission may require.


(c) If a state commission approves a preexisting agreement, it shall be made available to other parties in accordance with section 252(i) of the Act and § 51.809 of this part. A state commission may reject a preexisting agreement on the grounds that it is inconsistent with the public interest, or for other reasons set forth in section 252(e)(2)(A) of the Act.


§ 51.305 Interconnection.

(a) An incumbent LEC shall provide, for the facilities and equipment of any requesting telecommunications carrier, interconnection with the incumbent LEC’s network:


(1) For the transmission and routing of telephone exchange traffic, exchange access traffic, or both;


(2) At any technically feasible point within the incumbent LEC’s network including, at a minimum:


(i) The line-side of a local switch;


(ii) The trunk-side of a local switch;


(iii) The trunk interconnection points for a tandem switch;


(iv) Central office cross-connect points;


(v) Out-of-band signaling transfer points necessary to exchange traffic at these points and access call-related databases; and


(vi) The points of access to unbundled network elements as described in § 51.319;


(3) That is at a level of quality that is equal to that which the incumbent LEC provides itself, a subsidiary, an affiliate, or any other party. At a minimum, this requires an incumbent LEC to design interconnection facilities to meet the same technical criteria and service standards that are used within the incumbent LEC’s network. This obligation is not limited to a consideration of service quality as perceived by end users, and includes, but is not limited to, service quality as perceived by the requesting telecommunications carrier; and


(4) On terms and conditions that are just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory in accordance with the terms and conditions of any agreement, the requirements of sections 251 and 252 of the Act, and the Commission’s rules including, but not limited to, offering such terms and conditions equally to all requesting telecommunications carriers, and offering such terms and conditions that are no less favorable than the terms and conditions upon which the incumbent LEC provides such interconnection to itself. This includes, but is not limited to, the time within which the incumbent LEC provides such interconnection.


(b) A carrier that requests interconnection solely for the purpose of originating or terminating its interexchange traffic on an incumbent LEC’s network and not for the purpose of providing to others telephone exchange service, exchange access service, or both, is not entitled to receive interconnection pursuant to section 251(c)(2) of the Act.


(c) Previous successful interconnection at a particular point in a network, using particular facilities, constitutes substantial evidence that interconnection is technically feasible at that point, or at substantially similar points, in networks employing substantially similar facilities. Adherence to the same interface or protocol standards shall constitute evidence of the substantial similarity of network facilities.


(d) Previous successful interconnection at a particular point in a network at a particular level of quality constitutes substantial evidence that interconnection is technically feasible at that point, or at substantially similar points, at that level of quality.


(e) An incumbent LEC that denies a request for interconnection at a particular point must prove to the state commission that interconnection at that point is not technically feasible.


(f) If technically feasible, an incumbent LEC shall provide two-way trunking upon request.


(g) An incumbent LEC shall provide to a requesting telecommunications carrier technical information about the incumbent LEC’s network facilities sufficient to allow the requesting carrier to achieve interconnection consistent with the requirements of this section.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 61 FR 47351, Sept. 6, 1996; 68 FR 52294, Sept. 2, 2003]


§ 51.307 Duty to provide access on an unbundled basis to network elements.

(a) An incumbent LEC shall provide, to a requesting telecommunications carrier for the provision of a telecommunications service, nondiscriminatory access to network elements on an unbundled basis at any technically feasible point on terms and conditions that are just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory in accordance with the terms and conditions of any agreement, the requirements of sections 251 and 252 of the Act, and the Commission’s rules.


(b) The duty to provide access to unbundled network elements pursuant to section 251(c)(3) of the Act includes a duty to provide a connection to an unbundled network element independent of any duty to provide interconnection pursuant to this part and section 251(c)(2) of the Act.


(c) An incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier access to an unbundled network element, along with all of the unbundled network element’s features, functions, and capabilities, in a manner that allows the requesting telecommunications carrier to provide any telecommunications service that can be offered by means of that network element.


(d) An incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier access to the facility or functionality of a requested network element separate from access to the facility or functionality of other network elements, for a separate charge.


(e) An incumbent LEC shall provide to a requesting telecommunications carrier technical information about the incumbent LEC’s network facilities sufficient to allow the requesting carrier to achieve access to unbundled network elements consistent with the requirements of this section.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 61 FR 47351, Sept. 6, 1996]


§ 51.309 Use of unbundled network elements.

(a) Except as provided in § 51.318, an incumbent LEC shall not impose limitations, restrictions, or requirements on requests for, or the use of, unbundled network elements for the service a requesting telecommunications carrier seeks to offer.


(b) A requesting telecommunications carrier may not access an unbundled network element for the exclusive provision of mobile wireless services or interexchange services.


(c) A telecommunications carrier purchasing access to an unbundled network facility is entitled to exclusive use of that facility for a period of time, or when purchasing access to a feature, function, or capability of a facility, a telecommunications carrier is entitled to use of that feature, function, or capability for a period of time. A telecommunications carrier’s purchase of access to an unbundled network element does not relieve the incumbent LEC of the duty to maintain, repair, or replace the unbundled network element.


(d) A requesting telecommunications carrier that accesses and uses an unbundled network element consistent with paragraph (b) of this section may provide any telecommunications services over the same unbundled network element.


(e) Except as provided in § 51.318, an incumbent LEC shall permit a requesting telecommunications carrier to commingle an unbundled network element or a combination of unbundled network elements with wholesale services obtained from an incumbent LEC.


(f) Upon request, an incumbent LEC shall perform the functions necessary to commingle an unbundled network element or a combination of unbundled network elements with one or more facilities or services that a requesting telecommunications carrier has obtained at wholesale from an incumbent LEC.


(g) An incumbent LEC shall not deny access to an unbundled network element or a combination of unbundled network elements on the grounds that one or more of the elements:


(1) Is connected to, attached to, linked to, or combined with, a facility or service obtained from an incumbent LEC; or


(2) Shares part of the incumbent LEC’s network with access services or inputs for mobile wireless services and/or interexchange services.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 68 FR 52294, Sept. 2, 2003; 70 FR 8952, Feb. 24, 2005]


§ 51.311 Nondiscriminatory access to unbundled network elements.

(a) The quality of an unbundled network element, as well as the quality of the access to the unbundled network element, that an incumbent LEC provides to a requesting telecommunications carrier shall be the same for all telecommunications carriers requesting access to that network element.


(b) To the extent technically feasible, the quality of an unbundled network element, as well as the quality of the access to such unbundled network element, that an incumbent LEC provides to a requesting telecommunications carrier shall be at least equal in quality to that which the incumbent LEC provides to itself. If an incumbent LEC fails to meet this requirement, the incumbent LEC must prove to the state commission that it is not technically feasible to provide the requested unbundled network element, or to provide access to the requested unbundled network element, at a level of quality that is equal to that which the incumbent LEC provides to itself.


(c) Previous successful access to an unbundled element at a particular point in a network, using particular facilities, is substantial evidence that access is technically feasible at that point, or at substantially similar points, in networks employing substantially similar facilities. Adherence to the same interface or protocol standards shall constitute evidence of the substantial similarity of network facilities.


(d) Previous successful provision of access to an unbundled element at a particular point in a network at a particular level of quality is substantial evidence that access is technically feasible at that point, or at substantially similar points, at that level of quality.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 68 FR 52294, Sept. 2, 2003]


§ 51.313 Just, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions for the provision of unbundled network elements.

(a) The terms and conditions pursuant to which an incumbent LEC provides access to unbundled network elements shall be offered equally to all requesting telecommunications carriers.


(b) Where applicable, the terms and conditions pursuant to which an incumbent LEC offers to provide access to unbundled network elements, including but not limited to, the time within which the incumbent LEC provisions such access to unbundled network elements, shall, at a minimum, be no less favorable to the requesting carrier than the terms and conditions under which the incumbent LEC provides such elements to itself.


(c) An incumbent LEC must provide a carrier purchasing access to unbundled network elements with the pre-ordering, ordering, provisioning, maintenance and repair, and billing functions of the incumbent LEC’s operations support systems.


§ 51.315 Combination of unbundled network elements.

(a) An incumbent LEC shall provide unbundled network elements in a manner that allows requesting telecommunications carriers to combine such network elements in order to provide a telecommunications service.


(b) Except upon request, an incumbent LEC shall not separate requested network elements that the incumbent LEC currently combines.


(c) Upon request, an incumbent LEC shall perform the functions necessary to combine unbundled network elements in any manner, even if those elements are not ordinarily combined in the incumbent LEC’s network, provided that such combination:


(1) Is technically feasible; and


(2) Would not undermine the ability of other carriers to obtain access to unbundled network elements or to interconnect with the incumbent LEC’s network.


(d) Upon request, an incumbent LEC shall perform the functions necessary to combine unbundled network elements with elements possessed by the requesting telecommunications carrier in any technically feasible manner.


(e) An incumbent LEC that denies a request to combine elements pursuant to paragraph (c)(1) or paragraph (d) of this section must prove to the state commission that the requested combination is not technically feasible.


(f) An incumbent LEC that denies a request to combine unbundled network elements pursuant to paragraph (c)(2) of this section must demonstrate to the state commission that the requested combination would undermine the ability of other carriers to obtain access to unbundled network elements or to interconnect with the incumbent LEC’s network.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 68 FR 52294, Sept. 2, 2003]


§ 51.316 Conversion of unbundled network elements and services.

(a) Upon request, an incumbent LEC shall convert a wholesale service, or group of wholesale services, to the equivalent unbundled network element, or combination of unbundled network elements, that is available to the requesting telecommunications carrier under section 251(c)(3) of the Act and this part.


(b) An incumbent LEC shall perform any conversion from a wholesale service or group of wholesale services to an unbundled network element or combination of unbundled network elements without adversely affecting the service quality perceived by the requesting telecommunications carrier’s end-user customer.


(c) Except as agreed to by the parties, an incumbent LEC shall not impose any untariffed termination charges, or any disconnect fees, re-connect fees, or charges associated with establishing a service for the first time, in connection with any conversion between a wholesale service or group of wholesale services and an unbundled network element or combination of unbundled network elements.


[68 FR 52294, Sept. 2, 2003]


§ 51.317 Standards for requiring the unbundling of network elements.

(a) Proprietary network elements. A network element shall be considered to be proprietary if an incumbent LEC can demonstrate that it has invested resources to develop proprietary information or functionalities that are protected by patent, copyright or trade secret law. The Commission shall undertake the following analysis to determine whether a proprietary network element should be made available for purposes of section 251(c)(3) of the Act:


(1) Determine whether access to the proprietary network element is “necessary.” A network element is “necessary” if, taking into consideration the availability of alternative elements outside the incumbent LEC’s network, including self-provisioning by a requesting telecommunications carrier or acquiring an alternative from a third-party supplier, lack of access to the network element precludes a requesting telecommunications carrier from providing the services that it seeks to offer. If access is “necessary,” the Commission may require the unbundling of such proprietary network element.


(2) In the event that such access is not “necessary,” the Commission may require unbundling if it is determined that:


(i) The incumbent LEC has implemented only a minor modification to the network element in order to qualify for proprietary treatment;


(ii) The information or functionality that is proprietary in nature does not differentiate the incumbent LEC’s services from the requesting telecommunications carrier’s services; or


(iii) Lack of access to such element would jeopardize the goals of the Act.


(b) Non-proprietary network elements. The Commission shall determine whether a non-proprietary network element should be made available for purposes of section 251(c)(3) of the Act by analyzing, at a minimum, whether lack of access to a non-proprietary network element “impairs” a requesting carrier’s ability to provide the service it seeks to offer. A requesting carrier’s ability to provide service is “impaired” if, taking into consideration the availability of alternative elements outside the incumbent LEC’s network, including elements self-provisioned by the requesting carrier or acquired as an alternative from a third-party supplier, lack of access to that element poses a barrier or barriers to entry, including operational and economic barriers, that are likely to make entry into a market by a reasonably efficient competitor uneconomic.


[70 FR 8952, Feb. 24, 2005]


§ 51.318 Eligibility criteria for access to certain unbundled network elements.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an incumbent LEC shall provide access to unbundled network elements and combinations of unbundled network elements without regard to whether the requesting telecommunications carrier seeks access to the elements to establish a new circuit or to convert an existing circuit from a service to unbundled network elements.


(b) An incumbent LEC need not provide access to an unbundled DS1 loop in combination, or commingled, with a dedicated DS1 transport or dedicated DS3 transport facility or service, or to an unbundled DS3 loop in combination, or commingled, with a dedicated DS3 transport facility or service, or an unbundled dedicated DS1 transport facility in combination, or commingled, with an unbundled DS1 loop or a DS1 channel termination service, or to an unbundled dedicated DS3 transport facility in combination, or commingled, with an unbundled DS1 loop or a DS1 channel termination service, or to an unbundled DS3 loop or a DS3 channel termination service, unless the requesting telecommunications carrier certifies that all of the following conditions are met:


(1) The requesting telecommunications carrier has received state certification to provide local voice service in the area being served or, in the absence of a state certification requirement, has complied with registration, tariffing, filing fee, or other regulatory requirements applicable to the provision of local voice service in that area.


(2) The following criteria are satisfied for each combined circuit, including each DS1 circuit, each DS1 enhanced extended link, and each DS1-equivalent circuit on a DS3 enhanced extended link:


(i) Each circuit to be provided to each customer will be assigned a local number prior to the provision of service over that circuit;


(ii) Each DS1-equivalent circuit on a DS3 enhanced extended link must have its own local number assignment, so that each DS3 must have at least 28 local voice numbers assigned to it;


(iii) Each circuit to be provided to each customer will have 911 or E911 capability prior to the provision of service over that circuit;


(iv) Each circuit to be provided to each customer will terminate in a collocation arrangement that meets the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section;


(v) Each circuit to be provided to each customer will be served by an interconnection trunk that meets the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section;


(vi) For each 24 DS1 enhanced extended links or other facilities having equivalent capacity, the requesting telecommunications carrier will have at least one active DS1 local service interconnection trunk that meets the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section; and


(vii) Each circuit to be provided to each customer will be served by a switch capable of switching local voice traffic.


(c) A collocation arrangement meets the requirements of this paragraph if it is:


(1) Established pursuant to section 251(c)(6) of the Act and located at an incumbent LEC premises within the same LATA as the customer’s premises, when the incumbent LEC is not the collocator; and


(2) Located at a third party’s premises within the same LATA as the customer’s premises, when the incumbent LEC is the collocator.


(d) An interconnection trunk meets the requirements of this paragraph if the requesting telecommunications carrier will transmit the calling party’s number in connection with calls exchanged over the trunk.


[68 FR 52295, Sept. 2, 2003, as amended at 68 FR 64000, Nov. 12, 2003]


§ 51.319 Specific unbundling requirements.

(a) Local loops. An incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to the local loop on an unbundled basis, in accordance with section 251(c)(3) of the Act and this part and as set forth in paragraphs (a)(1) through (8) of this section. The local loop network element is defined as a transmission facility between a distribution frame (or its equivalent) in an incumbent LEC central office and the loop demarcation point at an end-user customer premises. This element includes all features, functions, and capabilities of such transmission facility, including the network interface device. It also includes all electronics, optronics, and intermediate devices (including repeaters and load coils) used to establish the transmission path to the end-user customer premises as well as any inside wire owned or controlled by the incumbent LEC that is part of that transmission path.


(1) Copper loops. An incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to the copper on an unbundled basis in census blocks defined as rural or urban cluster by the Census Bureau. A copper loop is a stand-alone local loop comprised entirely of copper wire or cable. For purposes of this section, copper loops include only digital copper loops (e.g., DS0s and integrated services digital network lines) as well as two-wire and four-wire copper loops conditioned to transmit the digital signals needed to provide digital subscriber line services, regardless of whether the copper loops are in service or held as spares. The copper loop does not include packet switching capabilities as defined in paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section. The availability of DS1 and DS3 copper loops is subject to the requirements of paragraphs (a)(4) and (5) of this section.


(i) Line splitting. An incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier that obtains an unbundled copper loop from the incumbent LEC with the ability to engage in line splitting arrangements with another competitive LEC using a splitter collocated at the central office where the loop terminates into a distribution frame or its equivalent. Line splitting is the process in which one competitive LEC provides narrowband voice service over the low frequency portion of a copper loop and a second competitive LEC provides digital subscriber line service over the high frequency portion of that same loop. The high frequency portion of the loop consists of the frequency range on the copper loop above the range that carries analog circuit-switched voice transmissions. This portion of the loop includes the features, functions, and capabilities of the loop that are used to establish a complete transmission path on the high frequency range between the incumbent LEC’s distribution frame (or its equivalent) in its central office and the demarcation point at the end-user customer premises, and includes the high frequency portion of any inside wire owned or controlled by the incumbent LEC.


(A) An incumbent LEC’s obligation, under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, to provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with the ability to engage in line splitting applies regardless of whether the carrier providing voice service provides its own switching or obtains local circuit switching from the incumbent LEC.


(B) An incumbent LEC must make all necessary network modifications, including providing nondiscriminatory access to operations support systems necessary for pre-ordering, ordering, provisioning, maintenance and repair, and billing for loops used in line splitting arrangements.


(ii) Line conditioning. The incumbent LEC shall condition a copper loop at the request of the carrier seeking access to a copper loop under paragraph (a)(1) of this section or a copper subloop under paragraph (b) of this section to ensure that the copper loop or copper subloop is suitable for providing digital subscriber line services, whether or not the incumbent LEC offers advanced services to the end-user customer on that copper loop or copper subloop. If the incumbent LEC seeks compensation from the requesting telecommunications carrier for line conditioning, the requesting telecommunications carrier has the option of refusing, in whole or in part, to have the line conditioned; and a requesting telecommunications carrier’s refusal of some or all aspects of line conditioning will not diminish any right it may have, under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, to access the copper loop or the copper subloop.


(A) Line conditioning is defined as the removal from a copper loop or copper subloop of any device that could diminish the capability of the loop or subloop to deliver high-speed switched wireline telecommunications capability, including digital subscriber line service. Such devices include, but are not limited to, bridge taps, load coils, low pass filters, and range extenders.


(B) Incumbent LECs shall recover the costs of line conditioning from the requesting telecommunications carrier in accordance with the Commission’s forward-looking pricing principles promulgated pursuant to section 252(d)(1) of the Act and in compliance with rules governing nonrecurring costs in § 51.507(e).


(C) Insofar as it is technically feasible, the incumbent LEC shall test and report troubles for all the features, functions, and capabilities of conditioned copper lines, and may not restrict its testing to voice transmission only.


(iii) Maintenance, repair, and testing. (A) An incumbent LEC shall provide, on a nondiscriminatory basis, physical loop test access points to a requesting telecommunications carrier at the splitter, through a cross-connection to the requesting telecommunications carrier’s collocation space, or through a standardized interface, such as an intermediate distribution frame or a test access server, for the purpose of testing, maintaining, and repairing copper loops and copper subloops.


(B) An incumbent LEC seeking to utilize an alternative physical access methodology may request approval to do so from the state commission, but must show that the proposed alternative method is reasonable and nondiscriminatory, and will not disadvantage a requesting telecommunications carrier’s ability to perform loop or service testing, maintenance, or repair.


(iv) Control of the loop and splitter functionality. In situations where a requesting telecommunications carrier is obtaining access to the high frequency portion of a copper loop through a line splitting arrangement, the incumbent LEC may maintain control over the loop and splitter equipment and functions, and shall provide to the requesting telecommunications carrier loop and splitter functionality that is compatible with any transmission technology that the requesting telecommunications carrier seeks to deploy using the high frequency portion of the loop, as defined in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, provided that such transmission technology is presumed to be deployable pursuant to § 51.230.


(v) Transition period for narrowband loops. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules in this part, an incumbent LEC shall continue to provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to two-wire and four-wire analog voice grade copper loops, the TDM-features, functions, and capabilities of hybrid loops, or to a 64 kilobits per second transmission path capable of voice grade service over the fiber-to-the-home loop or fiber-to-the-curb loop for 36 months until February 8, 2024, provided such loop was being provided before February 8, 2021.


(vi) Transition period for digital copper loops and two-wire and four-wire copper loops conditioned to transmit digital signals. Notwithstanding the remainder of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, an incumbent LEC shall continue to provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to copper loops as defined in this section for 48 months until February 10, 2025, provided that the incumbent LEC began providing such loop no later than February 8, 2023. Incumbent LECs may raise the rates charged for such loops by no more than 25 percent during months 37 to 48 of this transition period and may charge market-based rates after month 48.


(2) Hybrid loops. A hybrid loop is a local loop composed of both fiber optic cable, usually in the feeder plant, and copper wire or cable, usually in the distribution plant.

(i) Packet switching facilities, features, functions, and capabilities. An incumbent LEC is not required to provide unbundled access to the packet switched features, functions and capabilities of its hybrid loops. Packet switching capability is the routing or forwarding of packets, frames, cells, or other data units based on address or other routing information contained in the packets, frames, cells or other data units, and the functions that are performed by the digital subscriber line access multiplexers, including but not limited to the ability to terminate an end-user customer’s copper loop (which includes both a low-band voice channel and a high-band data channel, or solely a data channel); the ability to forward the voice channels, if present, to a circuit switch or multiple circuit switches; the ability to extract data units from the data channels on the loops; and the ability to combine data units from multiple loops onto one or more trunks connecting to a packet switch or packet switches.


(ii) [Reserved]


(3) Fiber loops – (i) Definitions – (A) Fiber-to-the-home loops. A fiber-to-the-home loop is a local loop consisting entirely of fiber optic cable, whether dark or lit, serving an end user’s customer premises or, in the case of predominantly residential multiple dwelling units (MDUs), a fiber optic cable, whether dark or lit, that extends to the multiunit premises’ minimum point of entry (MPOE).


(B) Fiber-to-the-curb loops. A fiber-to-the-curb loop is a local loop consisting of fiber optic cable connecting to a copper distribution plant that is not more than 500 feet from the customer’s premises or, in the case of predominantly residential MDUs, not more than 500 feet from the MDU’s MPOE. The fiber optic cable in a fiber-to-the-curb loop must connect to a copper distribution plant at a serving area interface from which every other copper distribution subloop also is not more than 500 feet from the respective customer’s premises.


(ii) New builds. An incumbent LEC is not required to provide nondiscriminatory access to a fiber-to-the-home loop or a fiber-to-the-curb loop on an unbundled basis when the incumbent LEC deploys such a loop to an end user’s customer premises that previously has not been served by any loop facility.


(iii) Overbuilds. An incumbent LEC is not required to provide nondiscriminatory access to a fiber-to-the-home loop or a fiber-to-the-curb loop on an unbundled basis when the incumbent LEC has deployed such a loop parallel to, or in replacement of, an existing copper loop facility, except that:


(A) The incumbent LEC must maintain the existing copper loop connected to the particular customer premises after deploying the fiber-to-the-home loop or the fiber-to-the-curb loop and provide nondiscriminatory access to that copper loop on an unbundled basis unless the incumbent LEC retires the copper loops pursuant to paragraph (a)(3)(iv) of this section.


(B) An incumbent LEC that maintains the existing copper loops pursuant to paragraph (a)(3)(iii)(A) of this section need not incur any expenses to ensure that the existing copper loop remains capable of transmitting signals prior to receiving a request for access pursuant to that paragraph, in which case the incumbent LEC shall restore the copper loop to serviceable condition upon request.


(iv) Retirement of copper loops or copper subloops. Prior to retiring any copper loop or copper subloop that has been replaced with a fiber-to-the-home loop or a fiber-to-the-curb loop, an incumbent LEC must comply with:


(A) The network disclosure requirements set forth in section 251(c)(5) of the Act and in § 51.325 through § 51.335; and


(B) Any applicable state requirements.


(4) DS1 loops. (i) Availability of DS1 loops. (A) Subject to the cap described in paragraph (a)(4)(ii) of this section, an incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to a DS1 loop on an unbundled basis to any building not served by a wire center with at least 60,000 business lines and at least four fiber-based collocators, but only if that building is located in:


(1) Any county or portion of a county served by a price cap incumbent LEC that is not included on the list of counties that have been deemed competitive pursuant to the competitive market test established under § 69.803 of this chapter; or


(2) Any study area served by a rate-of-return incumbent LEC provided that study area is not included on the list of competitive study areas pursuant to the competitive market test established under § 61.50 of this chapter.


(B) Once a wire center exceeds both the business line and fiber-based collocator thresholds, no future DS1 loop unbundling will be required in that wire center. A DS1 loop is a digital local loop having a total digital signal speed of 1.544 megabytes per second. DS1 loops include, but are not limited to, two-wire and four-wire copper loops capable of providing high-bit rate digital subscriber line services, including T1 services.


(ii) Cap on unbundled DS1 loop circuits. A requesting telecommunications carrier may obtain a maximum of ten unbundled DS1 loops to any single building in which DS1 loops are available as unbundled loops.


(iii) Transition period. Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section, an incumbent LEC shall continue to provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to DS1 loops for 42 months until August 8, 2024, provided the incumbent LEC began providing such loop no later than February 8, 2023.


(5) DS3 loops. (i) Availability of DS3 loops. (A) Subject to the cap described in paragraph (a)(5)(ii) of this section, an incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to a DS3 loop on an unbundled basis to any building not served by a wire center with at least 38,000 business lines and at least four fiber-based collocators, but only if that building is located in one of the following:


(1) Any county or portion of a county served by a price cap incumbent LEC that is not included on the list of counties that have been deemed competitive pursuant to the competitive market test established under § 69.803 of this chapter; or


(2) Any study area served by a rate-of-return incumbent LEC provided that study area is not included on the list of competitive study areas pursuant to the competitive market test established under § 61.50 of this chapter.


(B) Once a wire center exceeds the business line and fiber-based collocator thresholds, no future DS3 loop unbundling will be required in that wire center. A DS3 loop is a digital local loop having a total digital signal speed of 44.736 megabytes per second.


(ii) Cap on unbundled DS3 loop circuits. A requesting telecommunications carrier may obtain a maximum of a single unbundled DS3 loop to any single building in which DS3 loops are available as unbundled loops.


(iii) Transition period. Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section, an incumbent LEC shall continue to provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to DS3 loops for 36 months after until February 8, 2024, provided such loop was being provided before February 8, 2021.


(6) Dark fiber loops. An incumbent LEC is not required to provide requesting telecommunications carriers with access to a dark fiber loop on an unbundled basis. Dark fiber is fiber within an existing fiber optic cable that has not yet been activated through optronics to render it capable of carrying communications services.


(7) Routine network modifications. (i) An incumbent LEC shall make all routine network modifications to unbundled loop facilities used by requesting telecommunications carriers where the requested loop facility has already been constructed. An incumbent LEC shall perform these routine network modifications to unbundled loop facilities in a nondiscriminatory fashion, without regard to whether the loop facility being accessed was constructed on behalf, or in accordance with the specifications, of any carrier.


(ii) A routine network modification is an activity that the incumbent LEC regularly undertakes for its own customers. Routine network modifications include, but are not limited to, rearranging or splicing of cable; adding an equipment case; adding a doubler or repeater; adding a smart jack; installing a repeater shelf; adding a line card; deploying a new multiplexer or reconfiguring an existing multiplexer; and attaching electronic and other equipment that the incumbent LEC ordinarily attaches to a DS1 loop to activate such loop for its own customer. Routine network modifications may entail activities such as accessing manholes, deploying bucket trucks to reach aerial cable, and installing equipment casings. Routine network modifications do not include the construction of a new loop, or the installation of new aerial or buried cable for a requesting telecommunications carrier.


(8) Engineering policies, practices, and procedures. An incumbent LEC shall not engineer the transmission capabilities of its network in a manner, or engage in any policy, practice, or procedure, that disrupts or degrades access to a local loop or subloop, including the time division multiplexing-based features, functions, and capabilities of a hybrid loop, for which a requesting telecommunications carrier may obtain or has obtained access pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section.


(b) Subloops and network interface devices. An incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to subloops on an unbundled basis in accordance with section 251(c)(3) of the Act and this part and as set forth in this paragraph (b), provided that the underlying loop is available as set forth in paragraph (a) of this section. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules in this part, an incumbent LEC shall continue to provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to the subloop for access to multiunit premises wiring and network interface devices on an unbundled basis for 36 months until February 8, 2024, provided such subloop or network interface device was being provided before February 8, 2021.


(1) Copper subloops. An incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to a copper subloop on an unbundled basis. A copper subloop is a portion of a copper loop, or hybrid loop, comprised entirely of copper wire or copper cable that acts as a transmission facility between any point of technically feasible access in an incumbent LEC’s outside plant, including inside wire owned or controlled by the incumbent LEC, and the end-user customer premises. A copper subloop includes all intermediate devices (including repeaters and load coils) used to establish a transmission path between a point of technically feasible access and the demarcation point at the end-user customer premises, and includes the features, functions, and capabilities of the copper loop. Copper subloops include two-wire and four-wire analog voice-grade subloops as well as two-wire and four-wire subloops conditioned to transmit the digital signals needed to provide digital subscriber line services, regardless of whether the subloops are in service or held as spares.


(i) Point of technically feasible access. A point of technically feasible access is any point in the incumbent LEC’s outside plant where a technician can access the copper wire within a cable without removing a splice case. Such points include, but are not limited to, a pole or pedestal, the serving area interface, the network interface device, the minimum point of entry, any remote terminal, and the feeder/distribution interface. An incumbent LEC shall, upon a site-specific request, provide access to a copper subloop at a splice near a remote terminal. The incumbent LEC shall be compensated for providing this access in accordance with §§ 51.501 through 51.515.


(ii) Rules for collocation. Access to the copper subloop is subject to the Commission’s collocation rules at §§ 51.321 and 51.323.


(2) [Reserved]


(3) Other subloop provisions – (i) Technical feasibility. If parties are unable to reach agreement through voluntary negotiations as to whether it is technically feasible, or whether sufficient space is available, to unbundle a copper subloop at the point where a telecommunications carrier requests, the incumbent LEC shall have the burden of demonstrating to the state commission, in state proceedings under section 252 of the Act, that there is not sufficient space available, or that it is not technically feasible to unbundle the subloop at the point requested.


(ii) Best practices. Once one state commission has determined that it is technically feasible to unbundle subloops at a designated point, an incumbent LEC in any state shall have the burden of demonstrating to the state commission, in state proceedings under section 252 of the Act, that it is not technically feasible, or that sufficient space is not available, to unbundle its own loops at such a point.


(c) Dedicated transport. An incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to dedicated transport on an unbundled basis, in accordance with section 251(c)(3) of the Act and this part, as set forth in paragraphs (d) through (d)(4) of this section. A “route” is a transmission path between one of an incumbent LEC’s wire centers or switches and another of the incumbent LEC’s wire centers or switches. A route between two points (e.g., wire center or switch “A” and wire center or switch “Z”) may pass through one or more intermediate wire centers or switches (e.g., wire center or switch “X”). Transmission paths between identical end points (e.g., wire center or switch “A” and wire center or switch “Z”) are the same “route,” irrespective of whether they pass through the same intermediate wire centers or switches, if any.


(1) Definition. For purposes of this section, dedicated transport includes incumbent LEC transmission facilities between wire centers or switches owned by incumbent LECs, or between wire centers or switches owned by incumbent LECs and switches owned by requesting telecommunications carriers, including, but not limited to, DS1-, DS3-, and OCn-capacity level services, as well as dark fiber, dedicated to a particular customer or carrier.


(2) Availability. (i) Entrance facilities. An incumbent LEC is not obligated to provide a requesting carrier with unbundled access to dedicated transport that does not connect a pair of incumbent LEC wire centers.


(ii) Dedicated DS1 transport. Dedicated DS1 transport shall be made available to requesting carriers on an unbundled basis as set forth in paragraphs (d)(2)(ii)(A) and (B) of this section. Dedicated DS1 transport consists of incumbent LEC interoffice transmission facilities that have a total digital signal speed of 1.544 megabytes per second and are dedicated to a particular customer or carrier.


(A) General availability of DS1 transport. Incumbent LECs shall unbundle DS1 transport between any pair of incumbent LEC wire centers except where, through application of tier classifications described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, both wire centers defining the route are Tier 1 wire centers. As such, an incumbent LEC must unbundle DS1 transport if a wire center at either end of a requested route is not a Tier 1 wire center, or if neither is a Tier 1 wire center.


(B) Cap on unbundled DS1 transport circuits. A requesting telecommunications carrier may obtain a maximum of ten unbundled DS1 dedicated transport circuits on each route where DS1 dedicated transport is available on an unbundled basis.


(iii) Dedicated DS3 transport. Dedicated DS3 transport shall be made available to requesting carriers on an unbundled basis as set forth in paragraphs (d)(2)(iii)(A) and(B) of this section. Dedicated DS3 transport consists of incumbent LEC interoffice transmission facilities that have a total digital signal speed of 44.736 megabytes per second and are dedicated to a particular customer or carrier.


(A) General availability of DS3 transport. Incumbent LECs shall unbundle DS3 transport between any pair of incumbent LEC wire centers except where, through application of tier classifications described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, both wire centers defining the route are either Tier 1 or Tier 2 wire centers. As such, an incumbent LEC must unbundle DS3 transport if a wire center on either end of a requested route is a Tier 3 wire center.


(B) Cap on unbundled DS3 transport circuits. A requesting telecommunications carrier may obtain a maximum of 12 unbundled DS3 dedicated transport circuits on each route where DS3 dedicated transport is available on an unbundled basis.


(iv) Dark fiber transport. Dark fiber transport consists of unactivated optical interoffice transmission facilities. Incumbent LECs shall unbundle dark fiber transport between any pair of incumbent LEC wire centers except where, through application of tier classifications described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, both wire centers defining the route are either Tier 1, Tier 2, or a Tier 3 wire center identified on the list of wire centers that has been found to be within a half mile of alternative fiber pursuant to the Report and Order on Remand and Memorandum Opinion and Order in WC Docket No. 18-14, FCC 19-66 (released July 12, 2019). An incumbent LEC must unbundle dark fiber transport only if a wire center on either end of a requested route is a Tier 3 wire center that is not on the published list of wire centers. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules in this part, an incumbent LEC shall continue to provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to dark fiber transport for eight years until February 8, 2029, provided such dark fiber transport was being provided before February 8, 2021.


(3) Wire center tier structure. For purposes of this section, incumbent LEC wire centers shall be classified into three tiers, defined as follows:


(i) Tier 1 wire centers are those incumbent LEC wire centers that contain at least four fiber-based collocators, at least 38,000 business lines, or both. Tier 1 wire centers also are those incumbent LEC tandem switching locations that have no line-side switching facilities, but nevertheless serve as a point of traffic aggregation accessible by competitive LECs. Once a wire center is determined to be a Tier 1 wire center, that wire center is not subject to later reclassification as a Tier 2 or Tier 3 wire center.


(ii) Tier 2 wire centers are those incumbent LEC wire centers that are not Tier 1 wire centers, but contain at least 3 fiber-based collocators, at least 24,000 business lines, or both. Once a wire center is determined to be a Tier 2 wire center, that wire center is not subject to later reclassification as a Tier 3 wire center.


(iii) Tier 3 wire centers are those incumbent LEC wire centers that do not meet the criteria for Tier 1 or Tier 2 wire centers.


(4) Routine network modifications. (i) An incumbent LEC shall make all routine network modifications to unbundled dedicated transport facilities used by requesting telecommunications carriers where the requested dedicated transport facilities have already been constructed. An incumbent LEC shall perform all routine network modifications to unbundled dedicated transport facilities in a nondiscriminatory fashion, without regard to whether the facility being accessed was constructed on behalf, or in accordance with the specifications, of any carrier.


(ii) A routine network modification is an activity that the incumbent LEC regularly undertakes for its own customers. Routine network modifications include, but are not limited to, rearranging or splicing of cable; adding an equipment case; adding a doubler or repeater; installing a repeater shelf; and deploying a new multiplexer or reconfiguring an existing multiplexer. They also include activities needed to enable a requesting telecommunications carrier to light a dark fiber transport facility. Routine network modifications may entail activities such as accessing manholes, deploying bucket trucks to reach aerial cable, and installing equipment casings. Routine network modifications do not include the installation of new aerial or buried cable for a requesting telecommunications carrier.


(d) 911 and E911 databases. An incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to 911 and E911 databases on an unbundled basis, in accordance with section 251(c)(3) of the Act and this part.


(e) Operations support systems. An incumbent LEC shall provide a requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to operations support systems on an unbundled basis only when it is used to manage other unbundled network elements, local interconnection, or local number portability, in accordance with section 251(c)(3) of the Act and this part. Operations support system functions consist of pre-ordering, ordering, provisioning, maintenance and repair, and billing functions supported by an incumbent LEC’s databases and information. An incumbent LEC, as part of its duty to provide access to the pre-ordering function, shall provide the requesting telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to the same detailed information about the loop that is available to the incumbent LEC.


[68 FR 52295, Sept. 4, 2003, as amended at 68 FR 64000, Nov. 12, 2003; 69 FR 54591, Sept. 9, 2004; 69 FR 77953, Dec. 29, 2004; 70 FR 8953, Feb. 24, 2005: 78 FR 5746, Jan. 28, 2013; 86 FR 1673, Jan. 8, 2021; 86 FR 8872, Feb. 10, 2021]


§ 51.320 Assumption of responsibility by the Commission.

If a state commission fails to exercise its authority under § 51.319, any party seeking that the Commission step into the role of the state commission shall file with the Commission and serve on the state commission a petition that explains with specificity the bases for the petition and information that supports the claim that the state commission has failed to act. Subsequent to the Commission’s issuing a public notice and soliciting comments on the petition from interested parties, the Commission will rule on the petition within 90 days of the date of the public notice. If it agrees that the state commission has failed to act, the Commission will assume responsibility for the proceeding, and within nine months from the date it assumed responsibility for the proceeding, make any findings in accordance with the Commission’s rules.


[68 FR 52305, Sept. 2, 2003]


§ 51.321 Methods of obtaining interconnection and access to unbundled elements under section 251 of the Act.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, an incumbent LEC shall provide, on terms and conditions that are just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory in accordance with the requirements of this part, any technically feasible method of obtaining interconnection or access to unbundled network elements at a particular point upon a request by a telecommunications carrier.


(b) Technically feasible methods of obtaining interconnection or access to unbundled network elements include, but are not limited to:


(1) Physical collocation and virtual collocation at the premises of an incumbent LEC; and


(2) Meet point interconnection arrangements.


(c) A previously successful method of obtaining interconnection or access to unbundled network elements at a particular premises or point on any incumbent LEC’s network is substantial evidence that such method is technically feasible in the case of substantially similar network premises or points. A requesting telecommunications carrier seeking a particular collocation arrangement, either physical or virtual, is entitled to a presumption that such arrangement is technically feasible if any LEC has deployed such collocation arrangement in any incumbent LEC premises.


(d) An incumbent LEC that denies a request for a particular method of obtaining interconnection or access to unbundled network elements on the incumbent LEC’s network must prove to the state commission that the requested method of obtaining interconnection or access to unbundled network elements at that point is not technically feasible.


(e) An incumbent LEC shall not be required to provide for physical collocation of equipment necessary for interconnection or access to unbundled network elements at the incumbent LEC’s premises if it demonstrates to the state commission that physical collocation is not practical for technical reasons or because of space limitations. In such cases, the incumbent LEC shall be required to provide virtual collocation, except at points where the incumbent LEC proves to the state commission that virtual collocation is not technically feasible. If virtual collocation is not technically feasible, the incumbent LEC shall provide other methods of interconnection and access to unbundled network elements to the extent technically feasible.


(f) An incumbent LEC shall submit to the state commission, subject to any protective order as the state commission may deem necessary, detailed floor plans or diagrams of any premises where the incumbent LEC claims that physical collocation is not practical because of space limitations. These floor plans or diagrams must show what space, if any, the incumbent LEC or any of its affiliates has reserved for future use, and must describe in detail the specific future uses for which the space has been reserved and the length of time for each reservation. An incumbent LEC that contends space for physical collocation is not available in an incumbent LEC premises must also allow the requesting carrier to tour the entire premises in question, not only the area in which space was denied, without charge, within ten days of the receipt of the incumbent’s denial of space. An incumbent LEC must allow a requesting telecommunications carrier reasonable access to its selected collocation space during construction.


(g) An incumbent LEC that is classified as a Class A company under § 32.11 of this chapter and that is not a National Exchange Carrier Association interstate tariff participant as provided in part 69, subpart G, shall continue to provide expanded interconnection service pursuant to interstate tariff in accordance with §§ 64.1401, 64.1402, 69.121 of this chapter, and the Commission’s other requirements.


(h) Upon request, an incumbent LEC must submit to the requesting carrier within ten days of the submission of the request a report describing in detail the space that is available for collocation in a particular incumbent LEC premises. This report must specify the amount of collocation space available at each requested premises, the number of collocators, and any modifications in the use of the space since the last report. This report must also include measures that the incumbent LEC is taking to make additional space available for collocation. The incumbent LEC must maintain a publicly available document, posted for viewing on the incumbent LEC’s publicly available Internet site, indicating all premises that are full, and must update such a document within ten days of the date at which a premises runs out of physical collocation space.


(i) An incumbent LEC must, upon request, remove obsolete unused equipment from their premises to increase the amount of space available for collocation.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 28, 1996, as amended at 64 FR 23241, Apr. 30, 1999; 65 FR 54438, Sept. 8, 2000; 66 FR 43521, Aug. 20, 2001]


§ 51.323 Standards for physical collocation and virtual collocation.

(a) An incumbent LEC shall provide physical collocation and virtual collocation to requesting telecommunications carriers.


(b) An incumbent LEC shall permit the collocation and use of any equipment necessary for interconnection or access to unbundled network elements.


(1) Equipment is necessary for interconnection if an inability to deploy that equipment would, as a practical, economic, or operational matter, preclude the requesting carrier from obtaining interconnection with the incumbent LEC at a level equal in quality to that which the incumbent obtains within its own network or the incumbent provides to any affiliate, subsidiary, or other party.


(2) Equipment is necessary for access to an unbundled network element if an inability to deploy that equipment would, as a practical, economic, or operational matter, preclude the requesting carrier from obtaining nondiscriminatory access to that unbundled network element, including any of its features, functions, or capabilities.


(3) Multi-functional equipment shall be deemed necessary for interconnection or access to an unbundled network element if and only if the primary purpose and function of the equipment, as the requesting carrier seeks to deploy it, meets either or both of the standards set forth in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section. For a piece of equipment to be utilized primarily to obtain equal in quality interconnection or nondiscriminatory access to one or more unbundled network elements, there also must be a logical nexus between the additional functions the equipment would perform and the telecommunication services the requesting carrier seeks to provide to its customers by means of the interconnection or unbundled network element. The collocation of those functions of the equipment that, as stand-alone functions, do not meet either of the standards set forth in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section must not cause the equipment to significantly increase the burden on the incumbent’s property.


(c) Whenever an incumbent LEC objects to collocation of equipment by a requesting telecommunications carrier for purposes within the scope of section 251(c)(6) of the Act, the incumbent LEC shall prove to the state commission that the equipment is not necessary for interconnection or access to unbundled network elements under the standards set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. An incumbent LEC may not object to the collocation of equipment on the grounds that the equipment does not comply with safety or engineering standards that are more stringent than the safety or engineering standards that the incumbent LEC applies to its own equipment. An incumbent LEC may not object to the collocation of equipment on the ground that the equipment fails to comply with Network Equipment and Building Specifications performance standards or any other performance standards. An incumbent LEC that denies collocation of a competitor’s equipment, citing safety standards, must provide to the competitive LEC within five business days of the denial a list of all equipment that the incumbent LEC locates at the premises in question, together with an affidavit attesting that all of that equipment meets or exceeds the safety standard that the incumbent LEC contends the competitor’s equipment fails to meet. This affidavit must set forth in detail: the exact safety requirement that the requesting carrier’s equipment does not satisfy; the incumbent LEC’s basis for concluding that the requesting carrier’s equipment does not meet this safety requirement; and the incumbent LEC’s basis for concluding why collocation of equipment not meeting this safety requirement would compromise network safety.


(d) When an incumbent LEC provides physical collocation, virtual collocation, or both, the incumbent LEC shall:


(1) Provide an interconnection point or points, physically accessible by both the incumbent LEC and the collocating telecommunications carrier, at which the fiber optic cable carrying an interconnector’s circuits can enter the incumbent LEC’s premises, provided that the incumbent LEC shall designate interconnection points as close as reasonably possible to its premises;


(2) Provide at least two such interconnection points at each incumbent LEC premises at which there are at least two entry points for the incumbent LEC’s cable facilities, and at which space is available for new facilities in at least two of those entry points;


(3) Permit interconnection of copper or coaxial cable if such interconnection is first approved by the state commission; and


(4) Permit physical collocation of microwave transmission facilities except where such collocation is not practical for technical reasons or because of space limitations, in which case virtual collocation of such facilities is required where technically feasible.


(e) When providing virtual collocation, an incumbent LEC shall, at a minimum, install, maintain, and repair collocated equipment meeting the standards set forth in paragraph (b) of this section within the same time periods and with failure rates that are no greater than those that apply to the performance of similar functions for comparable equipment of the incumbent LEC itself.


(f) An incumbent LEC shall provide space for the collocation of equipment meeting the standards set forth in paragraph (b) of this section in accordance with the following requirements:


(1) An incumbent LEC shall make space available within or on its premises to requesting telecommunications carriers on a first-come, first-served basis, provided, however, that the incumbent LEC shall not be required to lease or construct additional space to provide for physical collocation when existing space has been exhausted;


(2) To the extent possible, an incumbent LEC shall make contiguous space available to requesting telecommunications carriers that seek to expand their existing collocation space;


(3) When planning renovations of existing facilities or constructing or leasing new facilities, an incumbent LEC shall take into account projected demand for collocation of equipment;


(4) An incumbent LEC may retain a limited amount of floor space for its own specific future uses, provided, however, that neither the incumbent LEC nor any of its affiliates may reserve space for future use on terms more favorable than those that apply to other telecommunications carriers seeking to reserve collocation space for their own future use;


(5) An incumbent LEC shall relinquish any space held for future use before denying a request for virtual collocation on the grounds of space limitations, unless the incumbent LEC proves to the state commission that virtual collocation at that point is not technically feasible; and


(6) An incumbent LEC may impose reasonable restrictions on the warehousing of unused space by collocating telecommunications carriers, provided, however, that the incumbent LEC shall not set maximum space limitations applicable to such carriers unless the incumbent LEC proves to the state commission that space constraints make such restrictions necessary.


(7) An incumbent LEC must assign collocation space to requesting carriers in a just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory manner. An incumbent LEC must allow each carrier requesting physical collocation to submit space preferences prior to assigning physical collocation space to that carrier. At a minimum, an incumbent LEC’s space assignment policies and practices must meet the following principles:


(A) An incumbent LEC’s space assignment policies and practices must not materially increase a requesting carrier’s collocation costs.


(B) An incumbent LEC’s space assignment policies and practices must not materially delay a requesting carrier occupation and use of the incumbent LEC’s premises.


(C) An incumbent LEC must not assign physical collocation space that will impair the quality of service or impose other limitations on the service a requesting carrier wishes to offer.


(D) An incumbent LEC’s space assignment policies and practices must not reduce unreasonably the total space available for physical collocation or preclude unreasonably physical collocation within the incumbent’s premises.


(g) An incumbent LEC shall permit collocating telecommunications carriers to collocate equipment and connect such equipment to unbundled network transmission elements obtained from the incumbent LEC, and shall not require such telecommunications carriers to bring their own transmission facilities to the incumbent LEC’s premises in which they seek to collocate equipment.


(h) As described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this section, an incumbent LEC shall permit a collocating telecommunications carrier to interconnect its network with that of another collocating telecommunications carrier at the incumbent LEC’s premises and to connect its collocated equipment to the collocated equipment of another telecommunications carrier within the same premises, provided that the collocated equipment is also used for interconnection with the incumbent LEC or for access to the incumbent LEC’s unbundled network elements.


(1) An incumbent LEC shall provide, at the request of a collocating telecommunications carrier, a connection between the equipment in the collocated spaces of two or more telecommunications carriers, except to the extent the incumbent LEC permits the collocating parties to provide the requested connection for themselves or a connection is not required under paragraph (h)(2) of this section. Where technically feasible, the incumbent LEC shall provide the connection using copper, dark fiber, lit fiber, or other transmission medium, as requested by the collocating telecommunications carrier.


(2) An incumbent LEC is not required to provide a connection between the equipment in the collocated spaces of two or more telecommunications carriers if the connection is requested pursuant to section 201 of the Act, unless the requesting carrier submits to the incumbent LEC a certification that more than 10 percent of the amount of traffic to be transmitted through the connection will be interstate. The incumbent LEC cannot refuse to accept the certification, but instead must provision the service promptly. Any incumbent LEC may file a section 208 complaint with the Commission challenging the certification if it believes that the certification is deficient. No such certification is required for a request for such connection under section 251 of the Act.


(i) As provided herein, an incumbent LEC may require reasonable security arrangements to protect its equipment and ensure network reliability. An incumbent LEC may only impose security arrangements that are as stringent as the security arrangements that the incumbent LEC maintains at its own premises for its own employees or authorized contractors. An incumbent LEC must allow collocating parties to access their collocated equipment 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without requiring either a security escort of any kind or delaying a competitor’s employees’ entry into the incumbent LEC’s premises. An incumbent LEC may require a collocating carrier to pay only for the least expensive, effective security option that is viable for the physical collocation space assigned. Reasonable security measures that the incumbent LEC may adopt include:


(1) Installing security cameras or other monitoring systems; or


(2) Requiring competitive LEC personnel to use badges with computerized tracking systems; or


(3) Requiring competitive LEC employees to undergo the same level of security training, or its equivalent, that the incumbent’s own employees, or third party contractors providing similar functions, must undergo; provided, however, that the incumbent LEC may not require competitive LEC employees to receive such training from the incumbent LEC itself, but must provide information to the competitive LEC on the specific type of training required so the competitive LEC’s employees can conduct their own training.


(4) Restricting physical collocation to space separated from space housing the incumbent LEC’s equipment, provided that each of the following conditions is met:


(i) Either legitimate security concerns, or operational constraints unrelated to the incumbent’s or any of its affiliates’ or subsidiaries competitive concerns, warrant such separation;


(ii) Any physical collocation space assigned to an affiliate or subsidiary of the incumbent LEC is separated from space housing the incumbent LEC’s equipment;


(iii) The separated space will be available in the same time frame as, or a shorter time frame than, non-separated space;


(iv) The cost of the separated space to the requesting carrier will not be materially higher than the cost of non-separated space; and


(v) The separated space is comparable, from a technical and engineering standpoint, to non-separated space.


(5) Requiring the employees and contractors of collocating carriers to use a central or separate entrance to the incumbent’s building, provided, however, that where an incumbent LEC requires that the employees or contractors of collocating carriers access collocated equipment only through a separate entrance, employees and contractors of the incumbent LEC’s affiliates and subsidiaries must be subject to the same restriction.


(6) Constructing or requiring the construction of a separate entrance to access physical collocation space, provided that each of the following conditions is met:


(i) Construction of a separate entrance is technically feasible;


(ii) Either legitimate security concerns, or operational constraints unrelated to the incumbent’s or any of its affiliates’ or subsidiaries competitive concerns, warrant such separation;


(iii) Construction of a separate entrance will not artificially delay collocation provisioning; and


(iv) Construction of a separate entrance will not materially increase the requesting carrier’s costs.


(j) An incumbent LEC shall permit a collocating telecommunications carrier to subcontract the construction of physical collocation arrangements with contractors approved by the incumbent LEC, provided, however, that the incumbent LEC shall not unreasonably withhold approval of contractors. Approval by an incumbent LEC shall be based on the same criteria it uses in approving contractors for its own purposes.


(k) An incumbent LEC’s physical collocation offering must include the following:


(1) Shared collocation cages. A shared collocation cage is a caged collocation space shared by two or more competitive LECs pursuant to terms and conditions agreed to by the competitive LECs. In making shared cage arrangements available, an incumbent LEC may not increase the cost of site preparation or nonrecurring charges above the cost for provisioning such a cage of similar dimensions and material to a single collocating party. In addition, the incumbent must prorate the charge for site conditioning and preparation undertaken by the incumbent to construct the shared collocation cage or condition the space for collocation use, regardless of how many carriers actually collocate in that cage, by determining the total charge for site preparation and allocating that charge to a collocating carrier based on the percentage of the total space utilized by that carrier. An incumbent LEC must make shared collocation space available in single-bay increments or their equivalent, i.e., a competing carrier can purchase space in increments small enough to collocate a single rack, or bay, of equipment.


(2) Cageless collocation. Incumbent LECs must allow competitors to collocate without requiring the construction of a cage or similar structure. Incumbent LECs must permit collocating carriers to have direct access to their equipment. An incumbent LEC may not require competitors to use an intermediate interconnection arrangement in lieu of direct connection to the incumbent’s network if technically feasible. An incumbent LEC must make cageless collocation space available in single-bay increments, meaning that a competing carrier can purchase space in increments small enough to collocate a single rack, or bay, of equipment.


(3) Adjacent space collocation. An incumbent LEC must make available, where physical collocation space is legitimately exhausted in a particular incumbent LEC structure, collocation in adjacent controlled environmental vaults, controlled environmental huts, or similar structures located at the incumbent LEC premises to the extent technically feasible. The incumbent LEC must permit a requesting telecommunications carrier to construct or otherwise procure such an adjacent structure, subject only to reasonable safety and maintenance requirements. The incumbent must provide power and physical collocation services and facilities, subject to the same nondiscrimination requirements as applicable to any other physical collocation arrangement. The incumbent LEC must permit the requesting carrier to place its own equipment, including, but not limited to, copper cables, coaxial cables, fiber cables, and telecommunications equipment, in adjacent facilities constructed by the incumbent LEC, the requesting carrier, or a third-party. If physical collocation space becomes available in a previously exhausted incumbent LEC structure, the incumbent LEC must not require a carrier to move, or prohibit a competitive LEC from moving, a collocation arrangement into that structure. Instead, the incumbent LEC must continue to allow the carrier to collocate in any adjacent controlled environmental vault, controlled environmental vault, or similar structure that the carrier has constructed or otherwise procured.


(l) An incumbent LEC must offer to provide and provide all forms of physical collocation (i.e., caged, cageless, shared, and adjacent) within the following deadlines, except to the extent a state sets its own deadlines or the incumbent LEC has demonstrated to the state commission that physical collocation is not practical for technical reasons or because of space limitations.


(1) Within ten days after receiving an application for physical collocation, an incumbent LEC must inform the requesting carrier whether the application meets each of the incumbent LEC’s established collocation standards. A requesting carrier that resubmits a revised application curing any deficiencies in an application for physical collocation within ten days after being informed of them retains its position within any collocation queue that the incumbent LEC maintains pursuant to paragraph (f)(1) of this section.


(2) Except as stated in paragraphs (l)(3) and (l)(4) of this section, an incumbent LEC must complete provisioning of a requested physical collocation arrangement within 90 days after receiving an application that meets the incumbent LEC’s established collocation application standards.


(3) An incumbent LEC need not meet the deadline set forth in paragraph (l)(2) of this section if, after receipt of any price quotation provided by the incumbent LEC, the telecommunications carrier requesting collocation does not notify the incumbent LEC that physical collocation should proceed.


(4) If, within seven days of the requesting carrier’s receipt of any price quotation provided by the incumbent LEC, the telecommunications carrier requesting collocation does not notify the incumbent LEC that physical collocation should proceed, then the incumbent LEC need not complete provisioning of a requested physical collocation arrangement until 90 days after receiving such notification from the requesting telecommunications carrier.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 28, 1996, as amended at 64 FR 23242, Apr. 30, 1999; 65 FR 54439, Sept. 8, 2000; 66 FR 43521, Aug. 20, 2001]


§ 51.325 Notice of network changes: Public notice requirement.

(a) An incumbent local exchange carrier (“LEC”) must provide public notice regarding any network change that:


(1) Will affect a competing service provider’s performance or ability to provide service;


(2) Will affect the incumbent LEC’s interoperability with other service providers; or


(3) Will result in a copper retirement, which is defined for purposes of this subpart as:


(i) The removal or disabling of copper loops, subloops, or the feeder portion of such loops or subloops; or


(ii) The replacement of such loops with fiber-to-the-home loops or fiber-to-the-curb loops, as those terms are defined in § 51.319(a)(3).


(b) For purposes of this section, interoperability means the ability of two or more facilities, or networks, to be connected, to exchange information, and to use the information that has been exchanged.


(c) For the purposes of §§ 51.325 through 51.335, the term services means telecommunications services or information services.


[61 FR 47351, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 64 FR 14148, Mar. 24, 1999; 68 FR 52305, Sept. 2, 2003; 69 FR 77954, Dec. 29, 2004; 80 FR 63371, Oct. 19, 2015; 82 FR 61477, Dec. 28, 2017; 83 FR 31675, July 9, 2018]


§ 51.327 Notice of network changes: Content of notice.

(a) Public notice of planned network changes must, at a minimum, include:


(1) The carrier’s name and address;


(2) The name and telephone number of a contact person who can supply additional information regarding the planned changes;


(3) The implementation date of the planned changes;


(4) The location(s) at which the changes will occur;


(5) A description of the type of changes planned (Information provided to satisfy this requirement must include, as applicable, but is not limited to, references to technical specifications, protocols, and standards regarding transmission, signaling, routing, and facility assignment as well as references to technical standards that would be applicable to any new technologies or equipment, or that may otherwise affect interconnection); and


(6) A description of the reasonably foreseeable impact of the planned changes.


(b) The incumbent LEC also shall follow, as necessary, procedures relating to confidential or proprietary information contained in § 51.335.


[61 FR 47351, Sept. 6, 1996]


§ 51.329 Notice of network changes: Methods for providing notice.

(a) In providing the required notice to the public of network changes, an incumbent LEC may use one of the following methods:


(1) Filing a public notice with the Commission; or


(2) Providing public notice through industry fora, industry publications, or the carrier’s publicly accessible Internet site. If an incumbent LEC uses any of the methods specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, it also must file a certification with the Commission that includes:


(i) A statement that identifies the proposed changes;


(ii) A statement that public notice has been given in compliance with §§ 51.325 through 51.335; and


(iii) A statement identifying the location of the change information and describing how this information can be obtained.


(b) Until the planned change is implemented, an incumbent LEC must keep the notice available for public inspection, and amend the notice to keep the information complete, accurate and up-to-date.


(c) Specific filing requirements. Commission filings under this section must be made as follows:


(1) The public notice or certification must be labeled with one of the following titles, as appropriate: “Public Notice of Network Change Under Rule 51.329(a),” “Certification of Public Notice of Network Change Under Rule 51.329(a),” “Short Term Public Notice Under Rule 51.333(a),” “Certification of Short Term Public Notice Under Rule 51.333(a),” “Public Notice of Copper Retirement Under Rule 51.333,” or “Certification of Public Notice of Copper Retirement Under Rule 51.333.”


(2) The incumbent LEC’s public notice and any associated certifications shall be filed through the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), using the “Submit a Non-Docketed Filing” module. All subsequent filings responsive to a notice may be filed using the Commission’s ECFS under the docket number set forth in the Commission’s public notice for the proceeding. If necessary, subsequent filings responsive to a notice also may be filed by sending one paper copy of the filing to “Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC 20554” and one paper copy of the filing to “Federal Communications Commission, Wireline Competition Bureau, Competition Policy Division, Washington, DC 20554.” For notices filed using the Commission’s ECFS, the date on which the filing is received by that system will be considered the official filing date. For notices filed via paper copy, the date on which the filing is received by the Secretary or the FCC Mailroom is considered the official filing date. All subsequent filings responsive to a notice shall refer to the ECFS docket number assigned to the notice.


[61 FR 47351, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 67 FR 13225, Mar. 21, 2002; 71 FR 65750, Nov. 9, 2006; 80 FR 1588, Jan. 13, 2015; 81 FR 62655, Sept. 12, 2016; 82 FR 61477, Dec. 28, 2017; 83 FR 2557, Jan. 18, 2018]


§ 51.331 Notice of network changes: Timing of notice.

(a) An incumbent LEC shall give public notice of planned changes at the make/buy point, as defined in paragraph (b) of this section, but at least 12 months before implementation, except as provided below:


(1) If the changes can be implemented within twelve months of the make/buy point, public notice must be given at the make/buy point, but at least six months before implementation.


(2) If the changes can be implemented within six months of the make/buy point, public notice may be given pursuant to the short term notice procedures provided in § 51.333.


(b) For purposes of this section, the make/buy point is the time at which an incumbent LEC decides to make for itself, or to procure from another entity, any product the design of which affects or relies on a new or changed network interface. If an incumbent LEC’s planned changes do not require it to make or to procure a product, then the make/buy point is the point at which the incumbent LEC makes a definite decision to implement a network change.


(1) For purposes of this section, a product is any hardware r software for use in an incumbent LEC’s network or in conjunction with its facilities that, when installed, could affect the compatibility of an interconnected service provider’s network, facilities or services with an incumbent LEC’s existing telephone network, facilities or services, or with any of an incumbent carrier’s services or capabilities.


(2) For purposes of this section a definite decision is reached when an incumbent LEC determines that the change is warranted, establishes a timetable for anticipated implementation, and takes any action toward implementation of the change within its network.


[61 FR 47352, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 68 FR 52305, Sept. 2, 2003; 69 FR 77954, Dec. 29, 2004; 80 FR 63371, Oct. 19, 2015]


§ 51.333 Notice of network changes: Short term notice, objections thereto and objections to copper retirement notices.

(a) Certificate of service. If an incumbent LEC wishes to provide less than six months’ notice of planned network changes, or provide notice of a planned copper retirement, the public notice or certification that it files with the Commission must include a certificate of service in addition to the information required by § 51.327(a) or § 51.329(a)(2), as applicable. The certificate of service shall include:


(1) A statement that, at least five business days in advance of its filing with the Commission, the incumbent LEC served a copy of its public notice upon each telephone exchange service provider that directly interconnects with the incumbent LEC’s network, provided that, with respect to copper retirement notices, such service may be made by postings on the incumbent LEC’s website if the directly interconnecting telephone exchange service provider has agreed to receive notice by website postings; and


(2) The name and address of each such telephone exchange service provider upon which the notice was served.


(b) Implementation date. The Commission will release a public notice of filings of such short term notices or copper retirement notices. The effective date of the network changes referenced in those filings shall be subject to the following requirements:


(1) Short term notice. Short term notices shall be deemed final on the tenth business day after the release of the Commission’s public notice, unless an objection is filed pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.


(2) Copper retirement notice. Notices of copper retirement, as defined in § 51.325(a)(3), shall be deemed final on the 90th day after the release of the Commission’s public notice of the filing, unless an objection is filed pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, except that notices of copper retirement involving copper facilities not being used to provision services to any customers shall be deemed final on the 15th day after the release of the Commission’s public notice of the filing. Incumbent LEC copper retirement notices shall be subject to the short-term notice provisions of this section, but under no circumstances may an incumbent LEC provide less than 90 days’ notice of such a change except where the copper facilities are not being used to provision services to any customers.


(c) Objection procedures for short term notice and copper retirement notices. An objection to an incumbent LEC’s short term notice or to its copper retirement notice may be filed by an information service provider or telecommunications service provider that directly interconnects with the incumbent LEC’s network. Such objections must be filed with the Commission, and served on the incumbent LEC, no later than the ninth business day following the release of the Commission’s public notice. All objections filed under this section must:


(1) State specific reasons why the objector cannot accommodate the incumbent LEC’s changes by the date stated in the incumbent LEC’s public notice and must indicate any specific technical information or other assistance required that would enable the objector to accommodate those changes;


(2) List steps the objector is taking to accommodate the incumbent LEC’s changes on an expedited basis;


(3) State the earliest possible date (not to exceed six months from the date the incumbent LEC gave its original public notice under this section) by which the objector anticipates that it can accommodate the incumbent LEC’s changes, assuming it receives the technical information or other assistance requested under paragraph (c)(1) of this section;


(4) Provide any other information relevant to the objection; and


(5) Provide the following affidavit, executed by the objector’s president, chief executive officer, or other corporate officer or official, who has appropriate authority to bind the corporation, and knowledge of the details of the objector’s inability to adjust its network on a timely basis:


“I, (name and title), under oath and subject to penalty for perjury, certify that I have read this objection, that the statements contained in it are true, that there is good ground to support the objection, and that it is not interposed for purposes of delay. I have appropriate authority to make this certification on behalf of (objector) and I agree to provide any information the Commission may request to allow the Commission to evaluate the truthfulness and validity of the statements contained in this objection.”


(d) Response to objections. If an objection is filed, an incumbent LEC shall have until no later than the fourteenth business day following the release of the Commission’s public notice to file with the Commission a response to the objection and to serve the response on all parties that filed objections. An incumbent LEC’s response must:


(1) Provide information responsive to the allegations and concerns identified by the objectors;


(2) State whether the implementation date(s) proposed by the objector(s) are acceptable;


(3) Indicate any specific technical assistance that the incumbent LEC is willing to give to the objectors; and


(4) Provide any other relevant information.


(e) Resolution. If an objection is filed pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, then the Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau, will issue an order determining a reasonable public notice period, provided however, that if an incumbent LEC does not file a response within the time period allotted, or if the incumbent LEC’s response accepts the latest implementation date stated by an objector, then the incumbent LEC’s public notice shall be deemed amended to specify the implementation date requested by the objector, without further Commission action. An incumbent LEC must amend its public notice to reflect any change in the applicable implementation date pursuant to § 51.329(b).


(f) Resolution of objections to copper retirement notices. An objection to a notice that an incumbent LEC intends to retire copper, as defined in § 51.325(a)(3) shall be deemed denied 90 days after the date on which the Commission releases public notice of the incumbent LEC filing, unless the Commission rules otherwise within that time. Until the Commission has either ruled on an objection or the 90-day period for the Commission’s consideration has expired, an incumbent LEC may not retire those copper facilities at issue.


(g) Limited exemption from advance notice and timing requirements – (1) Force majeure events. (i) Notwithstanding the requirements of this section, if in response to a force majeure event, an incumbent LEC invokes its disaster recovery plan, the incumbent LEC will be exempted during the period when the plan is invoked (up to a maximum 180 days) from all advanced notice and waiting period requirements under this section associated with network changes that result from or are necessitated as a direct result of the force majeure event.


(ii) As soon as practicable, during the exemption period, the incumbent LEC must continue to comply with § 51.325(a), include in its public notice the date on which the carrier invoked its disaster recovery plan, and must communicate with other directly interconnected telephone exchange service providers to ensure that such carriers are aware of any changes being made to their networks that may impact those carriers’ operations.


(iii) If an incumbent LEC requires relief from the notice requirements under this section longer than 180 days after it invokes the disaster recovery plan, the incumbent LEC must request such authority from the Commission. Any such request must be accompanied by a status report describing the incumbent LEC’s progress and providing an estimate of when the incumbent LEC expects to be able to resume compliance with the notice requirements under this section.


(iv) For purposes of this section, “force majeure” means a highly disruptive event beyond the control of the incumbent LEC, such as a natural disaster or a terrorist attack.


(v) For purposes of this section, “disaster recovery plan” means a disaster response plan developed by the incumbent LEC for the purpose of responding to a force majeure event.


(2) Other events outside an incumbent LEC’s control. (i) Notwithstanding the requirements of this section, if in response to circumstances outside of its control other than a force majeure event addressed in paragraph (g)(1) of this section, an incumbent LEC cannot comply with the timing requirement set forth in paragraphs (b)(1) or (2) of this section, hereinafter referred to as the waiting period, the incumbent LEC must give notice of the network change as soon as practicable and will be entitled to a reduced waiting period commensurate with the circumstances at issue.


(ii) A short term network change or copper retirement notice subject to paragraph (g)(2) of this section must include a brief explanation of the circumstances necessitating the reduced waiting period and how the incumbent LEC intends to minimize the impact of the reduced waiting period on directly interconnected telephone exchange service providers.


(iii) For purposes of this section, circumstances outside of the incumbent LEC’s control include federal, state, or local municipal mandates and unintentional damage to the incumbent LEC’s network facilities not caused by the incumbent LEC.


[61 FR 47352, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 67 FR 13226, Mar. 21, 2002; 68 FR 52305, Sept. 2, 2003; 69 FR 77954; Dec. 29, 2004; 80 FR 63371, Oct. 19, 2015; 82 FR 61477, Dec. 28, 2017; 83 FR 31675, July 9, 2018]


§ 51.335 Notice of network changes: Confidential or proprietary information.

(a) If an incumbent LEC claims that information otherwise required to be disclosed is confidential or proprietary, the incumbent LEC’s public notice must include, in addition to the information identified in § 51.327(a), a statement that the incumbent LEC will make further information available to those signing a nondisclosure agreement.


(b) Tolling the public notice period. Upon receipt by an incumbent LEC of a competing service provider’s request for disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, the applicable public notice period will be tolled until the parties agree on the terms of a nondisclosure agreement. An incumbent LEC receiving such a request must amend its public notice as follows:


(1) On the date it receives a request from a competing service provider for disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, to state that the notice period is tolled; and


(2) On the date the nondisclosure agreement is finalized, to specify a new implementation date.


[61 FR 47352, Sept. 6, 1996]


Subpart E – Exemptions, Suspensions, and Modifications of Requirements of Section 251 of the Act

§ 51.401 State authority.

A state commission shall determine whether a telephone company is entitled, pursuant to section 251(f) of the Act, to exemption from, or suspension or modification of, the requirements of section 251 of the Act. Such determinations shall be made on a case-by-case basis.


§ 51.403 Carriers eligible for suspension or modification under section 251(f)(2) of the Act.

A LEC is not eligible for a suspension or modification of the requirements of section 251(b) or section 251(c) of the Act pursuant to section 251(f)(2) of the Act if such LEC, at the holding company level, has two percent or more of the subscriber lines installed in the aggregate nationwide.


§ 51.405 Burden of proof.

(a) Upon receipt of a bona fide request for interconnection, services, or access to unbundled network elements, a rural telephone company must prove to the state commission that the rural telephone company should be entitled, pursuant to section 251(f)(1) of the Act, to continued exemption from the requirements of section 251(c) of the Act.


(b) A LEC with fewer than two percent of the nation’s subscriber lines installed in the aggregate nationwide must prove to the state commission, pursuant to section 251(f)(2) of the Act, that it is entitled to a suspension or modification of the application of a requirement or requirements of section 251(b) or 251(c) of the Act.


(c) In order to justify continued exemption under section 251(f)(1) of the Act once a bona fide request has been made, an incumbent LEC must offer evidence that the application of the requirements of section 251(c) of the Act would be likely to cause undue economic burden beyond the economic burden that is typically associated with efficient competitive entry.


(d) In order to justify a suspension or modification under section 251(f)(2) of the Act, a LEC must offer evidence that the application of section 251(b) or section 251(c) of the Act would be likely to cause undue economic burden beyond the economic burden that is typically associated with efficient competitive entry.


Subpart F – Pricing of Elements

§ 51.501 Scope.

(a) The rules in this subpart apply to the pricing of network elements, interconnection, and methods of obtaining access to unbundled elements, including physical collocation and virtual collocation.


(b) As used in this subpart, the term “element” includes network elements, interconnection, and methods of obtaining interconnection and access to unbundled elements.


§ 51.503 General pricing standard.

(a) An incumbent LEC shall offer elements to requesting telecommunications carriers at rates, terms, and conditions that are just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory.


(b) An incumbent LEC’s rates for each element it offers shall comply with the rate structure rules set forth in §§ 51.507 and 51.509, and shall be established, at the election of the state commission –


(1) Pursuant to the forward-looking economic cost-based pricing methodology set forth in §§ 51.505 and 51.511; or


(2) Consistent with the proxy ceilings and ranges set forth in § 51.513.


(c) The rates that an incumbent LEC assesses for elements shall not vary on the basis of the class of customers served by the requesting carrier, or on the type of services that the requesting carrier purchasing such elements uses them to provide.


§ 51.505 Forward-looking economic cost.

(a) In general. The forward-looking economic cost of an element equals the sum of:


(1) The total element long-run incremental cost of the element, as described in paragraph (b); and


(2) A reasonable allocation of forward-looking common costs, as described in paragraph (c).


(b) Total element long-run incremental cost. The total element long-run incremental cost of an element is the forward-looking cost over the long run of the total quantity of the facilities and functions that are directly attributable to, or reasonably identifiable as incremental to, such element, calculated taking as a given the incumbent LEC’s provision of other elements.


(1) Efficient network configuration. The total element long-run incremental cost of an element should be measured based on the use of the most efficient telecommunications technology currently available and the lowest cost network configuration, given the existing location of the incumbent LEC’s wire centers.


(2) Forward-looking cost of capital. The forward-looking cost of capital shall be used in calculating the total element long-run incremental cost of an element.


(3) Depreciation rates. The depreciation rates used in calculating forward-looking economic costs of elements shall be economic depreciation rates.


(c) Reasonable allocation of forward-looking common costs – (1) Forward-looking common costs. Forward-looking common costs are economic costs efficiently incurred in providing a group of elements or services (which may include all elements or services provided by the incumbent LEC) that cannot be attributed directly to individual elements or services.


(2) Reasonable allocation. (i) The sum of a reasonable allocation of forward-looking common costs and the total element long-run incremental cost of an element shall not exceed the stand-alone costs associated with the element. In this context, stand-alone costs are the total forward-looking costs, including corporate costs, that would be incurred to produce a given element if that element were provided by an efficient firm that produced nothing but the given element.


(ii) The sum of the allocation of forward-looking common costs for all elements and services shall equal the total forward-looking common costs, exclusive of retail costs, attributable to operating the incumbent LEC’s total network, so as to provide all the elements and services offered.


(d) Factors that may not be considered. The following factors shall not be considered in a calculation of the forward-looking economic cost of an element:


(1) Embedded costs. Embedded costs are the costs that the incumbent LEC incurred in the past and that are recorded in the incumbent LEC’s books of accounts;


(2) Retail costs. Retail costs include the costs of marketing, billing, collection, and other costs associated with offering retail telecommunications services to subscribers who are not telecommunications carriers, described in § 51.609;


(3) Opportunity costs. Opportunity costs include the revenues that the incumbent LEC would have received for the sale of telecommunications services, in the absence of competition from telecommunications carriers that purchase elements; and


(4) Revenues to subsidize other services. Revenues to subsidize other services include revenues associated with elements or telecommunications service offerings other than the element for which a rate is being established.


(e) Cost study requirements. An incumbent LEC must prove to the state commission that the rates for each element it offers do not exceed the forward-looking economic cost per unit of providing the element, using a cost study that complies with the methodology set forth in this section and § 51.511.


(1) A state commission may set a rate outside the proxy ranges or above the proxy ceilings described in § 51.513 only if that commission has given full and fair effect to the economic cost based pricing methodology described in this section and § 51.511 in a state proceeding that meets the requirements of paragraph (e)(2) of this section.


(2) Any state proceeding conducted pursuant to this section shall provide notice and an opportunity for comment to affected parties and shall result in the creation of a written factual record that is sufficient for purposes of review. The record of any state proceeding in which a state commission considers a cost study for purposes of establishing rates under this section shall include any such cost study.


§ 51.507 General rate structure standard.

(a) Element rates shall be structured consistently with the manner in which the costs of providing the elements are incurred.


(b) The costs of dedicated facilities shall be recovered through flat-rated charges.


(c) The costs of shared facilities shall be recovered in a manner that efficiently apportions costs among users. Costs of shared facilities may be apportioned either through usage-sensitive charges or capacity-based flat-rated charges, if the state commission finds that such rates reasonably reflect the costs imposed by the various users.


(d) Recurring costs shall be recovered through recurring charges, unless an incumbent LEC proves to a state commission that such recurring costs are de minimis. Recurring costs shall be considered de minimis when the costs of administering the recurring charge would be excessive in relation to the amount of the recurring costs.


(e) State commissions may, where reasonable, require incumbent LECs to recover nonrecurring costs through recurring charges over a reasonable period of time. Nonrecurring charges shall be allocated efficiently among requesting telecommunications carriers, and shall not permit an incumbent LEC to recover more than the total forward-looking economic cost of providing the applicable element.


(f) State commissions shall establish different rates for elements in at least three defined geographic areas within the state to reflect geographic cost differences.


(1) To establish geographically-deaveraged rates, state commissions may use existing density-related zone pricing plans described in § 69.123 of this chapter, or other such cost-related zone plans established pursuant to state law.


(2) In states not using such existing plans, state commissions must create a minimum of three cost-related rate zones.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 64 FR 32207, June 16, 1999; 64 FR 68637, Dec. 8, 1999]


§ 51.509 Rate structure standards for specific elements.

In addition to the general rules set forth in § 51.507, rates for specific elements shall comply with the following rate structure rules.


(a) Local loop and subloop. Loop and subloop costs shall be recovered through flat-rated charges.


(b) Local switching. Local switching costs shall be recovered through a combination of a flat-rated charge for line ports and one or more flat-rated or per-minute usage charges for the switching matrix and for trunk ports.


(c) Dedicated transmission links. Dedicated transmission link costs shall be recovered through flat-rated charges.


(d) Shared transmission facilities between tandem switches and end offices. The costs of shared transmission facilities between tandem switches and end offices may be recovered through usage-sensitive charges, or in another manner consistent with the manner that the incumbent LEC incurs those costs.


(e) Tandem switching. Tandem switching costs may be recovered through usage-sensitive charges, or in another manner consistent with the manner that the incumbent LEC incurs those costs.


(f) Signaling and call-related database services. Signaling and call-related database service costs shall be usage-sensitive, based on either the number of queries or the number of messages, with the exception of the dedicated circuits known as signaling links, the cost of which shall be recovered through flat-rated charges.


(g) Collocation. Collocation costs shall be recovered consistent with the rate structure policies established in the Expanded Interconnection proceeding, CC Docket No. 91-141.


(h) Network interface device. An incumbent LEC must establish a price for the network interface device when that unbundled network element is purchased on a stand-alone basis pursuant to § 51.319(c).


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 68 FR 52306, Sept. 2, 2003]


§ 51.511 Forward-looking economic cost per unit.

(a) The forward-looking economic cost per unit of an element equals the forward-looking economic cost of the element, as defined in § 51.505, divided by a reasonable projection of the sum of the total number of units of the element that the incumbent LEC is likely to provide to requesting telecommunications carriers and the total number of units of the element that the incumbent LEC is likely to use in offering its own services, during a reasonable measuring period.


(b)(1) With respect to elements that an incumbent LEC offers on a flat-rate basis, the number of units is defined as the discrete number of elements (e.g., local loops or local switch ports) that the incumbent LEC uses or provides.


(2) With respect to elements that an incumbent LEC offers on a usage-sensitive basis, the number of units is defined as the unit of measurement of the usage (e.g., minutes of use or call-related database queries) of the element.


§ 51.513 Proxies for forward-looking economic cost.

(a) A state commission may determine that the cost information available to it with respect to one or more elements does not support the adoption of a rate or rates that are consistent with the requirements set forth in §§ 51.505 and 51.511. In that event, the state commission may establish a rate for an element that is consistent with the proxies specified in this section, provided that:


(1) Any rate established through use of such proxies shall be superseded once the state commission has completed review of a cost study that complies with the forward-looking economic cost based pricing methodology described in §§ 51.505 and 51.511, and has concluded that such study is a reasonable basis for establishing element rates; and


(2) The state commission sets forth in writing a reasonable basis for its selection of a particular rate for the element.


(b) The constraints on proxy-based rates described in this section apply on a geographically averaged basis. For purposes of determining whether geographically deaveraged rates for elements comply with the provisions of this section, a geographically averaged proxy-based rate shall be computed based on the weighted average of the actual, geographically deaveraged rates that apply in separate geographic areas in a state.


(c) Proxies for specific elements – (1) Local loops. For each state listed below, the proxy-based monthly rate for unbundled local loops, on a statewide weighted average basis, shall be no greater than the figures listed in the table below. (The Commission has not established a default proxy ceiling for loop rates in Alaska.)


Table

State
Proxy ceiling
Alabama$17.25
Arizona12.85
Arkansas21.18
California11.10
Colorado14.97
Connecticut13.23
Delaware13.24
District of Columbia10.81
Florida13.68
Georgia16.09
Hawaii15.27
Idaho20.16
Illinois13.12
Indiana13.29
Iowa15.94
Kansas19.85
Kentucky16.70
Louisiana16.98
Maine18.69
Maryland13.36
Massachusetts9.83
Michigan15.27
Minnesota14.81
Mississippi21.97
Missouri18.32
Montana25.18
Nebraska18.05
Nevada18.95
New Hampshire16.00
New Jersey12.47
New Mexico18.66
New York11.75
North Carolina16.71
North Dakota25.36
Ohio15.73
Oklahoma17.63
Oregon15.44
Pennsylvania12.30
Puerto Rico12.47
Rhode Island11.48
South Carolina17.07
South Dakota25.33
Tennessee17.41
Texas15.49
Utah15.12
Vermont20.13
Virginia14.13
Washington13.37
West Virginia19.25
Wisconsin15.94
Wyoming25.11

(2) Local switching. (i) The blended proxy-based rate for the usage-sensitive component of the unbundled local switching element, including the switching matrix, the functionalities used to provide vertical features, and the trunk ports, shall be no greater than 0.4 cents ($0.004) per minute, and no less than 0.2 cents ($0.002) per minute, except that, where a state commission has, before August 8, 1996, established a rate less than or equal to 0.5 cents ($0.005) per minute, that rate may be retained pending completion of a forward-looking economic cost study. If a flat-rated charge is established for these components, it shall be converted to a per-minute rate by dividing the projected average minutes of use per flat-rated subelement, for purposes of assessing compliance with this proxy. A weighted average of such flat-rate or usage-sensitive charges shall be used in appropriate circumstances, such as when peak and off-peak charges are used.


(ii) The blended proxy-based rate for the line port component of the local switching element shall be no less than $1.10, and no more than $2.00, per line port per month for ports used in the delivery of basic residential and business exchange services.


(3) Dedicated transmission links. The proxy-based rates for dedicated transmission links shall be no greater than the incumbent LEC’s tariffed interstate charges for comparable entrance facilities or direct-trunked transport offerings, as described in §§ 69.110 and 69.112 of this chapter.


(4) Shared transmission facilities between tandem switches and end offices. The proxy-based rates for shared transmission facilities between tandem switches and end offices shall be no greater than the weighted per-minute equivalent of DS1 and DS3 interoffice dedicated transmission link rates that reflects the relative number of DS1 and DS3 circuits used in the tandem to end office links (or a surrogate based on the proportion of copper and fiber facilities in the interoffice network), calculated using a loading factor of 9,000 minutes per month per voice-grade circuit, as described in § 69.112 of this chapter.


(5) Tandem switching. The proxy-based rate for tandem switching shall be no greater than 0.15 cents ($0.0015) per minute of use.


(6) Collocation. To the extent that the incumbent LEC offers a comparable form of collocation in its interstate expanded interconnection tariffs, as described in §§ 64.1401 and 69.121 of this chapter, the proxy-based rates for collocation shall be no greater than the effective rates for equivalent services in the interstate expanded interconnection tariff. To the extent that the incumbent LEC does not offer a comparable form of collocation in its interstate expanded interconnection tariffs, a state commission may, in its discretion, establish a proxy-based rate, provided that the state commission sets forth in writing a reasonable basis for concluding that its rate would approximate the result of a forward-looking economic cost study, as described in § 51.505.


(7) Signaling, call-related database, and other elements. To the extent that the incumbent LEC has established rates for offerings comparable to other elements in its interstate access tariffs, and has provided cost support for those rates pursuant to § 61.49(h) of this chapter, the proxy-based rates for those elements shall be no greater than the effective rates for equivalent services in the interstate access tariffs. In other cases, the proxy-based rate shall be no greater than a rate based on direct costs plus a reasonable allocation of overhead loadings, pursuant to § 61.49(h) of this chapter.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 61 FR 52709, Oct. 8, 1996]


§ 51.515 Application of access charges.

(a)-(b) [Reserved]


(c) Notwithstanding §§ 51.505, 51.511, and 51.513(d)(2) and paragraph (a) of this section, an incumbent LEC may assess upon telecommunications carriers that purchase unbundled local switching elements, as described in § 51.319(c)(1), for intrastate toll minutes of use traversing such unbundled local switching elements, intrastate access charges comparable to those listed in paragraph (b) and any explicit intrastate universal service mechanism based on access charges, only until the earliest of the following, and not thereafter:


(1) June 30, 1997;


(2) The effective date of a state commission decision that an incumbent LEC may not assess such charges; or


(3) With respect to a Bell operating company only, the date on which that company is authorized to offer in-region interLATA service in the state pursuant to section 271 of the Act. The end date for Bell operating companies that are authorized to offer interLATA service shall apply only to the recovery of access charges in those states in which the Bell operating company is authorized to offer such service.


(d) Interstate access charges described in part 69 shall not be assessed by incumbent LECs on each element purchased by requesting carriers providing both telephone exchange and exchange access services to such requesting carriers’ end users.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 45587, Aug. 28, 1997; 71 FR 65750, Nov. 9, 2006]


Subpart G – Resale

§ 51.601 Scope of resale rules.

The provisions of this subpart govern the terms and conditions under which LECs offer telecommunications services to requesting telecommunications carriers for resale.


§ 51.603 Resale obligation of all local exchange carriers.

(a) A LEC shall make its telecommunications services available for resale to requesting telecommunications carriers on terms and conditions that are reasonable and non-discriminatory.


(b) A LEC must provide services to requesting telecommunications carriers for resale that are equal in quality, subject to the same conditions, and provided within the same provisioning time intervals that the LEC provides these services to others, including end users.


§ 51.605 Additional obligations of incumbent local exchange carriers.

(a) An incumbent LEC shall offer to any requesting telecommunications carrier any telecommunications service that the incumbent LEC offers on a retail basis to subscribers that are not telecommunications carriers for resale at wholesale rates that are, at the election of the state commission –


(1) Consistent with the avoided cost methodology described in §§ 51.607 and 51.609; or


(2) Interim wholesale rates, pursuant to § 51.611.


(b) For purposes of this subpart, exchange access services, as defined in section 3 of the Act, shall not be considered to be telecommunications services that incumbent LECs must make available for resale at wholesale rates to requesting telecommunications carriers.


(c) For purposes of this subpart, advanced telecommunications services sold to Internet Service Providers as an input component to the Internet Service Providers’ retail Internet service offering shall not be considered to be telecommunications services offered on a retail basis that incumbent LECs must make available for resale at wholesale rates to requesting telecommunications carriers.


(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (b) of this section, advanced telecommunications services that are classified as exchange access services are subject to the obligations of paragraph (a) of this section if such services are sold on a retail basis to residential and business end-users that are not telecommunications carriers.


(e) Except as provided in § 51.613, an incumbent LEC shall not impose restrictions on the resale by a requesting carrier of telecommunications services offered by the incumbent LEC.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 65 FR 6915, Feb. 11, 2000]


§ 51.607 Wholesale pricing standard.

The wholesale rate that an incumbent LEC may charge for a telecommunications service provided for resale to other telecommunications carriers shall equal the rate for the telecommunications service, less avoided retail costs, as described in section 51.609. For purposes of this subpart, exchange access services, as defined in section 3 of the Act, shall not be considered to be telecommunications services that incumbent LECs must make available for resale at wholesale rates to requesting telecommunications carriers.


[65 FR 6915, Feb. 11, 2000]


§ 51.609 Determination of avoided retail costs.

(a) Except as provided in § 51.611, the amount of avoided retail costs shall be determined on the basis of a cost study that complies with the requirements of this section.


(b) Avoided retail costs shall be those costs that reasonably can be avoided when an incumbent LEC provides a telecommunications service for resale at wholesale rates to a requesting carrier.


(c) For incumbent LECs that are designated as Class A companies under § 32.11 of this chapter, except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, avoided retail costs shall:


(1) Include as direct costs, the costs recorded in USOA accounts 6611 (product management and sales), 6613 (product advertising), 6621 (call completion services), 6622, (number services), and 6623 (customer services) (§§ 32.6611, 32.6613, 32.6621, 32.6622, and 32.6623 of this chapter);


(2) Include, as indirect costs, a portion of the costs recorded in USOA accounts 6121-6124 (general support expenses), 6720 (corporate operations expenses), and uncollectible telecommunications revenue included in 5300 (uncollectible revenue) (Secs. 32.6121 through 32.6124, 32.6720 and 32.5300 of this chapter); and


(3) Not include plant-specific expenses and plant non-specific expenses, other than general support expenses (§§ 32.6112-6114, 32.6211-6565 of this chapter).


(d) Costs included in accounts 6611, 6613 and 6621-6623 described in paragraph (c) of this section (§§ 32.6611, 32.6613, and 32.6621-6623 of this chapter) may be included in wholesale rates only to the extent that the incumbent LEC proves to a state commission that specific costs in these accounts will be incurred and are not avoidable with respect to services sold at wholesale, or that specific costs in these accounts are not included in the retail prices of resold services. Costs included in accounts 6112-6114 and 6211-6565 described in paragraph (c) of this section (§§ 32.6112-32.6114, 32.6211-32.6565 of this chapter) may be treated as avoided retail costs, and excluded from wholesale rates, only to the extent that a party proves to a state commission that specific costs in these accounts can reasonably be avoided when an incumbent LEC provides a telecommunications service for resale to a requesting carrier.


(e) For incumbent LECs that are designated as Class B companies under § 32.11 of this chapter and that record information in summary accounts instead of specific USOA accounts, the entire relevant summary accounts may be used in lieu of the specific USOA accounts listed in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 67 FR 5700, Feb. 6, 2002; 69 FR 53652, Sept. 2, 2004]


§ 51.611 Interim wholesale rates.

(a) If a state commission cannot, based on the information available to it, establish a wholesale rate using the methodology prescribed in § 51.609, then the state commission may elect to establish an interim wholesale rate as described in paragraph (b) of this section.


(b) The state commission may establish interim wholesale rates that are at least 17 percent, and no more than 25 percent, below the incumbent LEC’s existing retail rates, and shall articulate the basis for selecting a particular discount rate. The same discount percentage rate shall be used to establish interim wholesale rates for each telecommunications service.


(c) A state commission that establishes interim wholesale rates shall, within a reasonable period of time thereafter, establish wholesale rates on the basis of an avoided retail cost study that complies with § 51.609.


§ 51.613 Restrictions on resale.

(a) Notwithstanding § 51.605(b), the following types of restrictions on resale may be imposed:


(1) Cross-class selling. A state commission may permit an incumbent LEC to prohibit a requesting telecommunications carrier that purchases at wholesale rates for resale, telecommunications services that the incumbent LEC makes available only to residential customers or to a limited class of residential customers, from offering such services to classes of customers that are not eligible to subscribe to such services from the incumbent LEC.


(2) Short term promotions. An incumbent LEC shall apply the wholesale discount to the ordinary rate for a retail service rather than a special promotional rate only if:


(i) Such promotions involve rates that will be in effect for no more than 90 days; and


(ii) The incumbent LEC does not use such promotional offerings to evade the wholesale rate obligation, for example by making available a sequential series of 90-day promotional rates.


(b) With respect to any restrictions on resale not permitted under paragraph (a), an incumbent LEC may impose a restriction only if it proves to the state commission that the restriction is reasonable and nondiscriminatory.


(c) Branding. Where operator, call completion, or directory assistance service is part of the service or service package an incumbent LEC offers for resale, failure by an incumbent LEC to comply with reseller unbranding or rebranding requests shall constitute a restriction on resale.


(1) An incumbent LEC may impose such a restriction only if it proves to the state commission that the restriction is reasonable and nondiscriminatory, such as by proving to a state commission that the incumbent LEC lacks the capability to comply with unbranding or rebranding requests.


(2) For purposes of this subpart, unbranding or rebranding shall mean that operator, call completion, or directory assistance services are offered in such a manner that an incumbent LEC’s brand name or other identifying information is not identified to subscribers, or that such services are offered in such a manner that identifies to subscribers the requesting carrier’s brand name or other identifying information.


§ 51.615 Withdrawal of services.

When an incumbent LEC makes a telecommunications service available only to a limited group of customers that have purchased such a service in the past, the incumbent LEC must also make such a service available at wholesale rates to requesting carriers to offer on a resale basis to the same limited group of customers that have purchased such a service in the past.


§ 51.617 Assessment of end user common line charge on resellers.

(a) Notwithstanding the provision in § 69.104(a) of this chapter that the end user common line charge be assessed upon end users, an incumbent LEC shall assess this charge, and the charge for changing the designated primary interexchange carrier, upon requesting carriers that purchase telephone exchange service for resale. The specific end user common line charge to be assessed will depend upon the identity of the end user served by the requesting carrier.


(b) When an incumbent LEC provides telephone exchange service to a requesting carrier at wholesale rates for resale, the incumbent LEC shall continue to assess the interstate access charges provided in part 69 of this chapter, other than the end user common line charge, upon interexchange carriers that use the incumbent LEC’s facilities to provide interstate or international telecommunications services to the interexchange carriers’ subscribers.


Subpart H – Reciprocal Compensation for Transport and Termination of Telecommunications Traffic


Editorial Note:Nomenclature changes to subpart H of part 51 appear at 66 FR 26806, May 15, 2001.

§ 51.700 Purpose of this subpart.

The purpose of this subpart, as revised in 2011 by FCC 11-161 is to establish rules governing the transition of intercarrier compensation from a calling-party’s-network pays system to a default bill-and-keep methodology. Following the transition, the exchange of telecommunications traffic between and among service providers will, by default, be governed by bill-and-keep arrangements.



Note to § 51.700:

See FCC 11-161, figure 9 (chart identifying steps in the transition).


[76 FR 73854, Nov. 29, 2011]


§ 51.701 Scope of transport and termination pricing rules.

(a) Effective December 29, 2011, compensation for telecommunications traffic exchanged between two telecommunications carriers that is interstate or intrastate exchange access, information access, or exchange services for such access, other than special access, is specified in subpart J of this part. The provisions of this subpart apply to Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation for transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic between LECs and other telecommunications carriers.


(b) Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic. For purposes of this subpart, Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic means:


(1) Telecommunications traffic exchanged between a LEC and a telecommunications carrier other than a CMRS provider, except for telecommunications traffic that is interstate or intrastate exchange access, information access, or exchange services for such access (see FCC 01-131, paragraphs 34, 36, 39, 42-43); or


(2) Telecommunications traffic exchanged between a LEC and a CMRS provider that, at the beginning of the call, originates and terminates within the same Major Trading Area, as defined in § 24.202(a) of this chapter.


(3) This definition includes telecommunications traffic exchanged between a LEC and another telecommunications carrier in Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) format that originates and/or terminates in IP format and that otherwise meets the definitions in paragraphs (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section. Telecommunications traffic originates and/or terminates in IP format if it originates from and/or terminates to an end-user customer of a service that requires Internet protocol-compatible customer premises equipment.


(c) Transport. For purposes of this subpart, transport is the transmission and any necessary tandem switching of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic subject to section 251(b)(5) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 251(b)(5), from the interconnection point between the two carriers to the terminating carrier’s end office switch that directly serves the called party, or equivalent facility provided by a carrier other than an incumbent LEC.


(d) Termination. For purposes of this subpart, termination is the switching of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic at the terminating carrier’s end office switch, or equivalent facility, and delivery of such traffic to the called party’s premises.


(e) Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation. For purposes of this subpart, a Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation arrangement between two carriers is either a bill-and-keep arrangement, per § 51.713, or an arrangement in which each carrier receives intercarrier compensation for the transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 66 FR 26806, May 15, 2001; 76 FR 73855, Nov. 29, 2011]


§ 51.703 Non-Access reciprocal compensation obligation of LECs.

(a) Each LEC shall establish Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation arrangements for transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic with any requesting telecommunications carrier.


(b) A LEC may not assess charges on any other telecommunications carrier for Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic that originates on the LEC’s network.


(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, a LEC shall be entitled to assess and collect the full charges for the transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic, regardless of whether the local exchange carrier assessing the applicable charges itself delivers such traffic to the called party’s premises or delivers the call to the called party’s premises via contractual or other arrangements with an affiliated or unaffiliated provider of interconnected VoIP service, as defined in 47 U.S.C. 153(25), or a non-interconnected VoIP service, as defined in 47 U.S.C. 153(36), that does not itself seek to collect Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation charges for the transport and termination of that Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic. In no event may the total charges that a LEC may assess for such service to the called location exceed the applicable transport and termination rate. For purposes of this section, the facilities used by the LEC and affiliated or unaffiliated provider of interconnected VoIP service or a non-interconnected VoIP service for the transport and termination of such traffic shall be deemed an equivalent facility under § 51.701.


[76 FR 73855, Nov. 29, 2011]


§ 51.705 LECs’ rates for transport and termination.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, by default, transport and termination for Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic exchanged between a local exchange carrier and a CMRS provider within the scope of § 51.701(b)(2) shall be pursuant to a bill-and-keep arrangement, as provided in § 51.713.


(b) Establishment of incumbent LECs’ rates for transport and termination:


(1) This provision applies when, in the absence of a negotiated agreement between parties, state commissions establish Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation rates for the exchange of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic between a local exchange carrier and a telecommunications carrier other than a CMRS provider where the incumbent local exchange carriers did not have any such rates as of December 29, 2011. Any rates established pursuant to this provision apply between December 29, 2011 and the date at which they are superseded by the transition specified in paragraphs (c)(2) through (c)(5) of this section.


(2) An incumbent LEC’s rates for transport and termination of telecommunications traffic shall be established, at the election of the state commission, on the basis of:


(i) The forward-looking economic costs of such offerings, using a cost study pursuant to §§ 51.505 and 51.511; or


(ii) A bill-and-keep arrangement, as provided in § 51.713.


(3) In cases where both carriers in a Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation arrangement are incumbent LECs, state commissions shall establish the rates of the smaller carrier on the basis of the larger carrier’s forward-looking costs, pursuant to § 51.711.


(c) Except as provided by paragraph (a) of this section, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, default transitional Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation rates shall be determined as follows:


(1) Effective December 29, 2011, no telecommunications carrier may increase a Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation for transport or termination above the level in effect on December 29, 2011. All Bill-and-Keep Arrangements in effect on December 29, 2011 shall remain in place unless both parties mutually agree to an alternative arrangement.


(2) Beginning July 1, 2012, if any telecommunications carrier’s Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation rates in effect on December 29, 2011 or established pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section subsequent to December 29, 2011, exceed that carrier’s interstate access rates for functionally equivalent services in effect in the same state on December 29, 2011, that carrier shall reduce its reciprocal compensation rate by one half of the difference between the Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation rate and the corresponding functionally equivalent interstate access rate.


(3) Beginning July 1, 2013, no telecommunications carrier’s Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation rates shall exceed that carrier’s tariffed interstate access rate in effect in the same state on January 1 of that same year, for equivalent functionality.


(4) After July 1, 2018, all Price-Cap Local Exchange Carrier’s Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation rates and all non-incumbent LECs that benchmark access rates to Price Cap Carrier shall be set pursuant to Bill-and-Keep arrangements for Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation as defined in this subpart.


(5) After July 1, 2020, all Rate-of-Return Local Exchange Carrier’s Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation rates and all non-incumbent LECs that benchmark access rates to Rate-of-Return Carriers shall be set pursuant to Bill-and-Keep arrangements for Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation as defined in this subpart.


[76 FR 73855, Nov. 29, 2011]


§ 51.707 [Reserved]

§ 51.709 Rate structure for transport and termination.

(a) In state proceedings, where a rate for Non-Access Reciprocal Compensation does not exist as of December 29, 2011, a state commission shall establish initial rates for the transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic that are structured consistently with the manner that carriers incur those costs, and consistently with the principles in this section.


(b) The rate of a carrier providing transmission facilities dedicated to the transmission of non-access traffic between two carriers’ networks shall recover only the costs of the proportion of that trunk capacity used by an interconnecting carrier to send non-access traffic that will terminate on the providing carrier’s network. Such proportions may be measured during peak periods.


(c) For Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic exchanged between a rate-of-return regulated rural telephone company as defined in § 51.5 and a CMRS provider, the rural rate-of-return incumbent local exchange carrier will be responsible for transport to the CMRS provider’s interconnection point when it is located within the rural rate-of-return incumbent local exchange carrier’s service area. When the CMRS provider’s interconnection point is located outside the rural rate-of-return incumbent local exchange carrier’s service area, the rural rate-of-return incumbent local exchange carrier’s transport and provisioning obligation stops at its meet point and the CMRS provider is responsible for the remaining transport to its interconnection point. This paragraph (c) is a default provision and applicable in the absence of an existing agreement or arrangement otherwise.


[76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011]


§ 51.711 Symmetrical reciprocal compensation.

(a) Rates for transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic shall be symmetrical, unless carriers mutually agree otherwise, except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.


(1) For purposes of this subpart, symmetrical rates are rates that a carrier other than an incumbent LEC assesses upon an incumbent LEC for transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic equal to those that the incumbent LEC assesses upon the other carrier for the same services.


(2) In cases where both parties are incumbent LECs, or neither party is an incumbent LEC, a state commission shall establish the symmetrical rates for transport and termination based on the larger carrier’s forward-looking costs.


(3) Where the switch of a carrier other than an incumbent LEC serves a geographic area comparable to the area served by the incumbent LEC’s tandem switch, the appropriate rate for the carrier other than an incumbent LEC is the incumbent LEC’s tandem interconnection rate.


(b) Except as provided in § 51.705, a state commission may establish asymmetrical rates for transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic only if the carrier other than the incumbent LEC (or the smaller of two incumbent LECs) proves to the state commission on the basis of a cost study using the forward-looking economic cost based pricing methodology described in §§ 51.505 and 51.511, that the forward-looking costs for a network efficiently configured and operated by the carrier other than the incumbent LEC (or the smaller of two incumbent LECs), exceed the costs incurred by the incumbent LEC (or the larger incumbent LEC), and, consequently, that such that a higher rate is justified.


(c) Pending further proceedings before the Commission, a state commission shall establish the rates that licensees in the Paging and Radiotelephone Service (defined in part 22, subpart E of this chapter), Narrowband Personal Communications Services (defined in part 24, subpart D of this chapter), and Paging Operations in the Private Land Mobile Radio Services (defined in part 90, subpart P of this chapter) may assess upon other carriers for the transport and termination of telecommunications traffic based on the forward-looking costs that such licensees incur in providing such services, pursuant to §§ 51.505 and 51.511. Such licensees’ rates shall not be set based on the default proxies described in § 51.707.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996 , as amended at 76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011]


§ 51.713 Bill-and-keep arrangements.

Bill-and-keep arrangements are those in which carriers exchanging telecommunications traffic do not charge each other for specific transport and/or termination functions or services.


[76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011]


§ 51.715 Interim transport and termination pricing.

(a) Upon request from a telecommunications carrier without an existing interconnection arrangement with an incumbent LEC, the incumbent LEC shall provide transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic immediately under an interim arrangement, pending resolution of negotiation or arbitration regarding transport and termination rates and approval of such rates by a state commission under sections 251 and 252 of the Act.


(1) This requirement shall not apply when the requesting carrier has an existing interconnection arrangement that provides for the transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic by the incumbent LEC.


(2) A telecommunications carrier may take advantage of such an interim arrangement only after it has requested negotiation with the incumbent LEC pursuant to § 51.301.


(b) Upon receipt of a request as described in paragraph (a) of this section, an incumbent LEC must, without unreasonable delay, establish an interim arrangement for transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic at symmetrical rates.


(1) In a state in which the state commission has established transport and termination rates based on forward-looking economic cost studies, an incumbent LEC shall use these state-determined rates as interim transport and termination rates.


(2) In a state in which the state commission has not established transport and termination rates based on forward-looking economic cost studies, an incumbent LEC shall set interim transport and termination rates either at the default ceilings specified in § 51.705(c) or in accordance with a bill-and-keep methodology as defined in § 51.713.


(3) In a state in which the state commission has neither established transport and termination rates based on forward-looking economic cost studies nor established transport and termination rates consistent with the default price ranges described in § 51.707, an incumbent LEC shall set interim transport and termination rates at the default ceilings for end-office switching (0.4 cents per minute of use), tandem switching (0.15 cents per minute of use), and transport (as described in § 51.707(b)(2)).


(c) An interim arrangement shall cease to be in effect when one of the following occurs with respect to rates for transport and termination of telecommunications traffic subject to the interim arrangement:


(1) A voluntary agreement has been negotiated and approved by a state commission;


(2) An agreement has been arbitrated and approved by a state commission; or


(3) The period for requesting arbitration has passed with no such request.


(d) If the rates for transport and termination of Non-Access Telecommunications Traffic in an interim arrangement differ from the rates established by a state commission pursuant to § 51.705, the state commission shall require carriers to make adjustments to past compensation. Such adjustments to past compensation shall allow each carrier to receive the level of compensation it would have received had the rates in the interim arrangement equalled the rates later established by the state commission pursuant to § 51.705.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011]


§ 51.717 [Reserved]

Subpart I – Procedures for Implementation of Section 252 of the Act

§ 51.801 Commission action upon a state commission’s failure to act to carry out its responsibility under section 252 of the Act.

(a) If a state commission fails to act to carry out its responsibility under section 252 of the Act in any proceeding or other matter under section 252 of the Act, the Commission shall issue an order preempting the state commission’s jurisdiction of that proceeding or matter within 90 days after being notified (or taking notice) of such failure, and shall assume the responsibility of the state commission under section 252 of the Act with respect to the proceeding or matter and shall act for the state commission.


(b) For purposes of this part, a state commission fails to act if the state commission fails to respond, within a reasonable time, to a request for mediation, as provided for in section 252(a)(2) of the Act, or for a request for arbitration, as provided for in section 252(b) of the Act, or fails to complete an arbitration within the time limits established in section 252(b)(4)(C) of the Act.


(c) A state shall not be deemed to have failed to act for purposes of section 252(e)(5) of the Act if an agreement is deemed approved under section 252(e)(4) of the Act.


§ 51.803 Procedures for Commission notification of a state commission’s failure to act.

(a) Any party seeking preemption of a state commission’s jurisdiction, based on the state commission’s failure to act, shall notify the Commission in accordance with following procedures:


(1) Such party shall file with the Secretary of the Commission a petition, supported by an affidavit, that states with specificity the basis for the petition and any information that supports the claim that the state has failed to act, including, but not limited to, the applicable provisions of the Act and the factual circumstances supporting a finding that the state commission has failed to act;


(2) Such party shall ensure that the state commission and the other parties to the proceeding or matter for which preemption is sought are served with the petition required in paragraph (a)(1) of this section on the same date that the petitioning party serves the petition on the Commission; and


(3) Within fifteen days from the date of service of the petition required in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the applicable state commission and parties to the proceeding may file with the Commission a response to the petition.


(b) The party seeking preemption must prove that the state has failed to act to carry out its responsibilities under section 252 of the Act.


(c) The Commission, pursuant to section 252(e)(5) of the Act, may take notice upon its own motion that a state commission has failed to act. In such a case, the Commission shall issue a public notice that the Commission has taken notice of a state commission’s failure to act. The applicable state commission and the parties to a proceeding or matter in which the Commission has taken notice of the state commission’s failure to act may file, within fifteen days of the issuance of the public notice, comments on whether the Commission is required to assume the responsibility of the state commission under section 252 of the Act with respect to the proceeding or matter.


(d) The Commission shall issue an order determining whether it is required to preempt the state commission’s jurisdiction of a proceeding or matter within 90 days after being notified under paragraph (a) of this section or taking notice under paragraph (c) of this section of a state commission’s failure to carry out its responsibilities under section 252 of the Act.


§ 51.805 The Commission’s authority over proceedings and matters.

(a) If the Commission assumes responsibility for a proceeding or matter pursuant to section 252(e)(5) of the Act, the Commission shall retain jurisdiction over such proceeding or matter. At a minimum, the Commission shall approve or reject any interconnection agreement adopted by negotiation, mediation or arbitration for which the Commission, pursuant to section 252(e)(5) of the Act, has assumed the state’s commission’s responsibilities.


(b) Agreements reached pursuant to mediation or arbitration by the Commission pursuant to section 252(e)(5) of the Act are not required to be submitted to the state commission for approval or rejection.


§ 51.807 Arbitration and mediation of agreements by the Commission pursuant to section 252(e)(5) of the Act.

(a) The rules established in this section shall apply only to instances in which the Commission assumes jurisdiction under section 252(e)(5) of the Act.


(b) When the Commission assumes responsibility for a proceeding or matter pursuant to section 252(e)(5) of the Act, it shall not be bound by state laws and standards that would have applied to the state commission in such proceeding or matter.


(c) In resolving, by arbitration under section 252(b) of the Act, any open issues and in imposing conditions upon the parties to the agreement, the Commission shall:


(1) Ensure that such resolution and conditions meet the requirements of section 251 of the Act, including the rules prescribed by the Commission pursuant to that section;


(2) Establish any rates for interconnection, services, or network elements according to section 252(d) of the Act, including the rules prescribed by the Commission pursuant to that section; and


(3) Provide a schedule for implementation of the terms and conditions by the parties to the agreement.


(d) An arbitrator, acting pursuant to the Commission’s authority under section 252(e)(5) of the Act, shall use final offer arbitration, except as otherwise provided in this section:


(1) At the discretion of the arbitrator, final offer arbitration may take the form of either entire package final offer arbitration or issue-by-issue final offer arbitration.


(2) Negotiations among the parties may continue, with or without the assistance of the arbitrator, after final arbitration offers are submitted. Parties may submit subsequent final offers following such negotiations.


(3) To provide an opportunity for final post-offer negotiations, the arbitrator will not issue a decision for at least fifteen days after submission to the arbitrator of the final offers by the parties.


(e) Final offers submitted by the parties to the arbitrator shall be consistent with section 251 of the Act, including the rules prescribed by the Commission pursuant to that section.


(f) Each final offer shall:


(1) Meet the requirements of section 251, including the rules prescribed by the Commission pursuant to that section;


(2) Establish rates for interconnection, services, or access to unbundled network elements according to section 252(d) of the Act, including the rules prescribed by the Commission pursuant to that section; and


(3) Provide a schedule for implementation of the terms and conditions by the parties to the agreement. If a final offer submitted by one or more parties fails to comply with the requirements of this section or if the arbitrator determines in unique circumstances that another result would better implement the Communications Act, the arbitrator has discretion to take steps designed to result in an arbitrated agreement that satisfies the requirements of section 252(c) of the Act, including requiring parties to submit new final offers within a time frame specified by the arbitrator, or adopting a result not submitted by any party that is consistent with the requirements of section 252(c) of the Act, and the rules prescribed by the Commission pursuant to that section.


(g) Participation in the arbitration proceeding will be limited to the requesting telecommunications carrier and the incumbent LEC, except that the Commission will consider requests by third parties to file written pleadings.


(h) Absent mutual consent of the parties to change any terms and conditions adopted by the arbitrator, the decision of the arbitrator shall be binding on the parties.


[61 FR 45619, Aug. 29, 1996, as amended at 66 FR 8520, Feb. 1, 2001]


§ 51.809 Availability of agreements to other telecommunications carriers under section 252(i) of the Act.

(a) An incumbent LEC shall make available without unreasonable delay to any requesting telecommunications carrier any agreement in its entirety to which the incumbent LEC is a party that is approved by a state commission pursuant to section 252 of the Act, upon the same rates, terms, and conditions as those provided in the agreement. An incumbent LEC may not limit the availability of any agreement only to those requesting carriers serving a comparable class of subscribers or providing the same service (i.e., local, access, or interexchange) as the original party to the agreement.


(b) The obligations of paragraph (a) of this section shall not apply where the incumbent LEC proves to the state commission that:


(1) The costs of providing a particular agreement to the requesting telecommunications carrier are greater than the costs of providing it to the telecommunications carrier that originally negotiated the agreement, or


(2) The provision of a particular agreement to the requesting carrier is not technically feasible.


(c) Individual agreements shall remain available for use by telecommunications carriers pursuant to this section for a reasonable period of time after the approved agreement is available for public inspection under section 252(h) of the Act.


[69 FR 43771, July 22, 2004]


Subpart J – Transitional Access Service Pricing


Source:76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011, unless otherwise noted.

§ 51.901 Purpose and scope of transitional access service pricing rules.

(a) The purpose of this section is to establish rules governing the transition of intercarrier compensation from a calling-party’s-network pays system to a default bill-and-keep methodology. Following the transition, the exchange of traffic between and among service providers will, by default, be governed by bill-and-keep arrangements.


(b) Effective December 29, 2011, the provisions of this subpart apply to reciprocal compensation for telecommunications traffic exchanged between telecommunications providers that is interstate or intrastate exchange access, information access, or exchange services for such access, other than special access.



Note to § 51.901:

See FCC 11-161, figure 9 (chart identifying steps in the transition).


§ 51.903 Definitions.

For the purposes of this subpart:


(a) Competitive Local Exchange Carrier. A Competitive Local Exchange Carrier is any local exchange carrier, as defined in § 51.5, that is not an incumbent local exchange carrier .


(b) Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate means terminating End Office Access Service revenue, calculated using demand for a given time period, divided by end office switching minutes for the same time period.


(c) Dedicated Transport Access Service means originating and terminating transport on circuits dedicated to the use of a single carrier or other customer provided by an incumbent local exchange carrier or any functional equivalent of the incumbent local exchange carrier access service provided by a non-incumbent local exchange carrier. Dedicated Transport Access Service rate elements for an incumbent local exchange carrier include the entrance facility rate elements specified in § 69.110 of this chapter, the dedicated transport rate elements specified in § 69.111 of this chapter, the direct-trunked transport rate elements specified in § 69.112 of this chapter, and the intrastate rate elements for functionally equivalent access services. Dedicated Transport Access Service rate elements for a non-incumbent local exchange carrier include any functionally equivalent access services.


(d) End Office Access Service means:


(1) The switching of access traffic at the carrier’s end office switch and the delivery to or from of such traffic to the called party’s premises;


(2) The routing of interexchange telecommunications traffic to or from the called party’s premises, either directly or via contractual or other arrangements with an affiliated or unaffiliated entity, regardless of the specific functions provided or facilities used; or


(3) Any functional equivalent of the incumbent local exchange carrier access service provided by a non-incumbent local exchange carrier. End Office Access Service rate elements for an incumbent local exchange carrier include the local switching rate elements specified in § 69.106 of this chapter, the carrier common line rate elements specified in § 69.154 of this chapter, and the intrastate rate elements for functionally equivalent access services. End Office Access Service rate elements for an incumbent local exchange carrier also include any rate elements assessed on local switching access minutes, including the information surcharge and residual rate elements. End office Access Service rate elements for a non-incumbent local exchange carrier include any functionally equivalent access service.



Note to paragraph (d):

For incumbent local exchange carriers, residual rate elements may include, for example, state Transport Interconnection Charges, Residual Interconnection Charges, and PICCs. For non-incumbent local exchange carriers, residual rate elements may include any functionally equivalent access service.


(e) Fiscal Year 2011 means October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011.


(f) Price Cap Carrier has the same meaning as that term is defined in § 61.3(aa) of this chapter.


(g) Rate-of-Return Carrier is any incumbent local exchange carrier not subject to price cap regulation as that term is defined in § 61.3(bb) of this chapter, but only with respect to the territory in which it operates as an incumbent local exchange carrier.


(h) Access Reciprocal Compensation means telecommunications traffic exchanged between telecommunications service providers that is interstate or intrastate exchange access, information access, or exchange services for such access, other than special access.


(i) Tandem-Switched Transport Access Service means:


(1) Tandem switching and common transport between the tandem switch and end office; or


(2) Any functional equivalent of the incumbent local exchange carrier access service provided by a non-incumbent local exchange carrier via other facilities. Tandem-Switched Transport rate elements for an incumbent local exchange carrier include the rate elements specified in § 69.111 of this chapter, except for the dedicated transport rate elements specified in that section, and intrastate rate elements for functionally equivalent service. Tandem Switched Transport Access Service rate elements for a non-incumbent local exchange carrier include any functionally equivalent access service.


(j) Transitional Intrastate Access Service means terminating End Office Access Service that was subject to intrastate access rates as of December 31, 2011; terminating Tandem-Switched Transport Access Service that was subject to intrastate access rates as of December 31, 2011; and originating and terminating Dedicated Transport Access Service that was subject to intrastate access rates as of December 31, 2011.


(k) Access Stimulation has the same meaning as that term is defined in § 61.3(bbb) of this chapter.


(l) Intermediate Access Provider has the same meaning as that term is defined in § 61.3(ccc) of this chapter.


(m) Interexchange Carrier has the same meaning as that term is defined in § 61.3(ddd) of this chapter.


(n) Toll Free Database Query Charge is a per query charge that is expressed in dollars and cents to access the Toll Free Service Management System Database, as defined in § 52.101(d) of this subchapter.


(o) Toll Free Call means a call to a Toll Free Number, as defined in § 52.101(f) of this subchapter.


(p) Joint Tandem Switched Transport Access Service is the rate element assessible for the transmission of toll free originating access service. The rate element includes both the transport between the end office and the tandem switch and the tandem switching. It does not include transport of traffic over dedicated transport facilities between the serving wire center and the tandem switching office.


[76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 83 FR 67121, Dec. 28, 2018; 84 FR 57650, Oct. 28, 2019; 85 FR 75916, Nov. 27, 2020]


§ 51.905 Implementation.

(a) The rates set forth in this section are default rates. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, telecommunications carriers may agree to rates different from the default rates.


(b) LECs who are otherwise required to file tariffs are required to tariff rates no higher than the default transitional rates specified by this subpart.


(1) With respect to interstate switched access services governed by this subpart, LECs shall tariff rates for those services in their federal tariffs. Except as expressly superseded below, LECs shall follow the procedures specified in part 61 of this chapter when filing such tariffs.


(2) With respect to Transitional Intrastate Access Services, originating access charges for Toll Free Calls, and Toll Free Database Query Charges governed by this subpart, LECs shall follow the procedures specified by relevant state law when filing intrastate tariffs, price lists or other instruments (referred to collectively as “tariffs”).


(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a carrier to file or maintain a tariff or to amend an existing tariff if it is not otherwise required to do so under applicable law.


(d) Beginning July 1, 2021, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules in this chapter, only the originating carrier in the path of the Toll Free Call may assess a Toll Free Database Query Charge for a Toll Free Call. When the originating carrier is unable to transmit the results of the Toll Free Database Query to the next carrier or provider in the call path, that next carrier or provider may instead assess a Toll Free Database Query Charge.


[76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 85 FR 75916, Nov. 27, 2020]


§ 51.907 Transition of price cap carrier access charges.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, on December 29, 2011, a Price Cap Carrier shall cap the rates for all interstate and intrastate rate elements for services contained in the definitions of Interstate End Office Access Services, Tandem Switched Transport Access Services, and Dedicated Transport Access Services. In addition, a Price Cap Carrier shall also cap the rates for any interstate and intrastate rate elements in the traffic sensitive basket” and the “trunking basket” as described in 47 CFR 61.42(d)(2) and (3) to the extent that such rate elements are not contained in the definitions of Interstate End Office Access Services, Tandem Switched Transport Access Services, and Dedicated Transport Access Services. Carriers will remove these services from price cap regulation in their July 1, 2012 annual tariff filing.


(b) Step 1. Beginning July 1, 2012, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) Each Price Cap Carrier shall file tariffs, in accordance with § 51.905(b)(2), with the appropriate state regulatory authority, that set forth the rates applicable to Transitional Intrastate Access Service in each state in which it provides Transitional Intrastate Access Service.


(2) Each Price Cap Carrier shall establish the rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service using the following methodology:


(i) Calculate total revenue from Transitional Intrastate Access Service at the carrier’s interstate access rates in effect on December 29, 2011, using Fiscal Year 2011 intrastate switched access demand for each rate element.


(ii) Calculate total revenue from Transitional Intrastate Access Service at the carrier’s intrastate access rates in effect on December 29, 2011, using Fiscal Year 2011 intrastate switched access demand for each rate element.


(iii) Calculate the Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction. The Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction is equal to one-half of the difference between the amount calculated in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section and the amount calculated in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.


(iv) A Price Cap Carrier may elect to establish rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service using its intrastate access rate structure. Carriers using this option shall establish rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service such that Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenue at the proposed rates is no greater than Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenue at the intrastate rates in effect as of December 29, 2011 less the Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction, using Fiscal Year 2011 demand. Carriers electing to establish rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service in this manner shall notify the appropriate state regulatory authority of their election in the filing required by § 51.907(b)(1).


(v) A Price Cap Carrier may elect to apply its interstate access rate structure and interstate rates to Transitional Intrastate Access Service. In addition to applicable interstate access rates, the carrier may, between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, assess a transitional per-minute charge on Transitional Intrastate Access Service end office switching minutes (previously billed as intrastate access). The transitional per-minute charge shall be no greater than the Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction divided by Fiscal Year 2011 Transitional Intrastate Access Service end office switching minutes. Carriers electing to establish rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service in this manner shall notify the appropriate state regulatory authority of their election in the filing required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section.


(vi) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, nothing in this section obligates or allows a Price Cap Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions to increase such rates.


(3) If a Price Cap Carrier must make an intrastate switched access rate reduction pursuant to paragraph (b)(2) of this section, and that Price Cap Carrier has an intrastate rate for a rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element, the Price Cap Carrier shall:


(i) Increase the rate for any intrastate rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element to the interstate rate no later than July 1, 2013;


(ii) Include any increases made pursuant to paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section in the calculation of its eligible recovery for 2012.


(c) Step 2. Beginning July 1, 2013, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) Transitional Intrastate Access Service rates shall be no higher than the Price Cap Carrier’s interstate access rates. Once the Price Cap Carrier’s Transitional Intrastate Access Service rates are equal to its functionally equivalent interstate access rates, they shall be subject to the same rate structure and all subsequent rate and rate structure modifications. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(4) of this section, nothing in this section obligates or allows a Price Cap Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions to increase such rates.


(2) In cases where a Price Cap Carrier does not have intrastate rates that permit it to determine composite intrastate End Office Access Service rates, the carrier shall establish End Office Access Service rates such that the ratio between its composite intrastate End Office Access Service revenues and its total intrastate switched access revenues may not exceed the ratio between its composite interstate End Office Access Service revenues and its total interstate switched access revenues.


(3) [Reserved]


(4) If a Price Cap Carrier made an intrastate switched access rate reduction in 2012 pursuant to paragraph (b)(2) of this section, and that Price Cap Carrier has an intrastate rate for a rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element, the Price Cap Carrier shall:


(i) Increase the rate for any intrastate rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element to the interstate rate on July 1, 2013; and


(ii) Include any increases made pursuant to paragraph (b)(4)(i) of this section in the calculation of its eligible recovery for 2013.


(d) Step 3. Beginning July 1, 2014, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) A Price Cap Carrier shall establish separate originating and terminating rate elements for all per-minute components within interstate and intrastate End Office Access Service. For fixed charges, the Price Cap Carrier shall divide the rate between originating and terminating rate elements based on relative originating and terminating end office switching minutes. If sufficient originating and terminating end office switching minute data is not available, the carrier shall divide such charges equally between originating and terminating elements.


(2) Each Price Cap Carrier shall establish rates for interstate or intrastate terminating End Office Access Service using the following methodology:


(i) Each Price Cap Carrier shall calculate the 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. The 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate means the Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate calculated using Fiscal Year 2011 interstate demand multiplied by the interstate End Office Access Service rates at the levels in effect on December 29, 2011, and then dividing the result by 2011 Fiscal Year interstate local switching demand.


(ii) Each Price Cap Carrier shall calculate its 2014 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. The 2014 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate means $0.0007 per minute plus two-thirds of any difference between the 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and $0.0007 per minute.


(iii) Beginning July 1, 2014, no Price Cap Carrier’s interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate shall exceed its 2014 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. A price cap carrier shall determine compliance by calculating interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rates using the relevant Fiscal Year 2011 interstate demand multiplied by the respective interstate rates as of July 1, 2014, and then dividing the result by the relevant 2011 Fiscal Year interstate terminating local switching demand. A price cap carrier’s intrastate terminating end office access rates may not exceed the comparable interstate terminating end office access rates. In the alternative, any Price Cap Carrier may elect to implement a single per minute rate element for both interstate and intrastate terminating End Office Access Service no greater than the 2014 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate if its intrastate terminating end office access rates would be at rate parity with its interstate terminating end office access rates.


(e) Step 4. Beginning July 1, 2015, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) Each Price Cap Carrier shall establish interstate or intrastate rates for terminating End Office Access Service using the following methodology:


(i) Each Price Cap Carrier shall calculate its 2015 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. The 2015 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate means $0.0007 per minute plus one-third of any difference between the 2011 Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and $0.0007 per minute.


(ii) Beginning July 1, 2015, no Price Cap Carrier’s interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate shall exceed its 2015 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. A price cap carrier shall determine compliance by calculating interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rates using the relevant Fiscal Year 2011 interstate demand multiplied by the respective interstate rates as of July 1, 2015, and then dividing the result by the relevant 2011 Fiscal Year interstate terminating local switching demand. A price cap carrier’s intrastate terminating end office access rates may not exceed the comparable interstate terminating end office access rates. In the alternative, any Price Cap Carrier may elect to implement a single per minute rate element for both interstate and intrastate terminating End Office Access Service no greater than the 2015 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate if its intrastate terminating end office access rates would be at rate parity with its interstate terminating end office access rates.


(2) Nothing in this section obligates or allows a Price Cap Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions raising such rates.


(f) Step 5. Beginning July 1, 2016, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, each Price Cap Carrier shall establish interstate terminating End Office Access Service rates such that its Composite Terminating End Office Access Service rate does not exceed $0.0007 per minute. A price cap carrier shall determine compliance by calculating interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rates using the relevant Fiscal Year 2011 interstate demand multiplied by the respective interstate rates as of July 1, 2016, and then dividing the result by the relevant 2011 Fiscal Year interstate terminating local switching demand. A price cap carrier’s intrastate terminating end office access rates may not exceed the comparable interstate terminating end office access rates. In the alternative, any Price Cap Carrier may elect to implement a single per-minute rate element for both interstate and intrastate Terminating End Office Access Service no greater than the 2016 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate if its intrastate terminating end office access rates would be at rate parity with its interstate terminating end office access rates. Nothing in this section obligates or allows a Price Cap Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions raising such rates.


(g) Step 6. Beginning July 1, 2017, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) Each Price Cap Carrier shall, in accordance with a bill-and-keep methodology, refile its interstate access tariffs and any state tariffs, in accordance with § 51.905(b)(2), removing any intercarrier charges for terminating End Office Access Service.


(2) Each Price Cap Carrier shall establish, for interstate and intrastate terminating traffic traversing a tandem switch that the terminating carrier or its affiliates owns, Tandem-Switched Transport Access Service rates no greater than $0.0007 per minute.


(3) Nothing in this section obligates or allows a Price Cap Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions raising such rates.


(h) Step 7. Beginning July 1, 2018, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, each Price Cap carrier shall, in accordance with bill-and-keep, as defined in § 51.713, revise and refile its interstate switched access tariffs and any state tariffs to remove any intercarrier charges applicable to terminating tandem-switched access service traversing a tandem switch that the terminating carrier or its affiliate owns.


(i) 8YY Transition – Step 1. Beginning July 1, 2021, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules in this chapter, each Price Cap Carrier shall:


(1) Establish separate rate elements for interstate and intrastate toll free originating end office access service and non-toll free originating end office access service. Rate elements reflecting fixed charges associated with originating End Office Access Service shall be treated as non-toll free charges.


(2) Reduce its intrastate toll free originating end office access service rates to its interstate toll free originating end office access service rates as follows:


(i) Calculate total revenue from End Office Access Service, excluding non-usage-based rate elements, at the carrier’s interstate access rates in effect on June 30, 2020, using intrastate switched access demand for each rate element for the 12 months ending June 30, 2020.


(ii) Calculate total revenue from End Office Access Service, excluding non-usage based rate elements, at the carrier’s intrastate access rates in effect on June 30, 2020, using intrastate switched access demand for each rate element for the 12 months ending June 30, 2020.


(iii) If the value in paragraph (i)(2)(ii) of this section is less than or equal to the value in paragraph (i)(2)(i) of this section, the Price Cap Carrier’s intrastate End Office Access Service rates shall remain unchanged.


(iv) If the value in paragraph (i)(2)(ii) of this section is greater than the value in paragraph (i)(2)(i) of this section, the Price Cap Carrier shall reduce intrastate rates for End Office Access Service so that they are equal to the Price Cap Carrier’s functionally equivalent interstate rates for End Office Access Rates and shall be subject to the interstate rate structure and all subsequent rate and rate structure modifications.


(v) Except as provided in paragraph (i)(2) of this section, nothing in this section allows a Price Cap Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions to increase such rates. If a Price Cap Carrier has an intrastate rate for an End Office Access Service rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element, the Price Cap Carrier may, if necessary as part of a restructuring to reduce its intrastate rates for End Office Access Service down to parity with functionally equivalent interstate rates, increase the rate for an intrastate rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element to the interstate rate in effect on July 1, 2021.


(3) Establish separate rate elements for interstate and intrastate non-toll free originating transport services for service between an end office switch and the tandem switch and remove its rate for intrastate and interstate originating toll free transport services consistent with a bill-and-keep methodology (as defined in § 51.713).


(4) Establish separate rate elements respectively for interstate and intrastate non-toll free originating tandem switching services.


(5) Establish transitional interstate and intrastate Joint Tandem Switched Transport Access Service rate elements for Toll Free Calls that are respectively no more than $0.001 per minute.


(6) Reduce its interstate and intrastate rates for Toll Free Database Query Charges to no more than $0.004248 per query. Nothing in this section obligates or allows a Price Cap Carrier that has Toll Free Database Query Charges lower than this rate to make any intrastate or interstate tariff filing revision to increase such rates.


(j) 8YY Transition – Step 2. Beginning July 1, 2022, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules in this chapter, each Price Cap Carrier shall:


(1) Reduce its interstate and intrastate rates for all originating End Office Access Service rate elements for Toll Free Calls in each state in which it provides such service by one-half of the maximum rate allowed by paragraph (a) of this section; and


(2) Reduce its rates for intrastate and interstate Toll Free Database Query Charges by one-half of the difference between the rate permitted by paragraph (i)(6) of this section and the transitional rate of $0.0002 per query set forth in paragraph (k)(2) of this section.


(k) 8YY Transition – Step 3. Beginning July 1, 2023, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules in this chapter, each Price Cap Carrier shall:


(1) In accordance with a bill-and-keep methodology, refile its interstate switched access tariff and any state tariff to remove any intercarrier charges for intrastate and interstate originating End Office Access Service for Toll Free Calls; and


(2) Reduce its rates for all intrastate and interstate Toll Free Database Query Charges to a transitional rate of no more than $0.0002 per query.


[76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 48452, Aug. 14, 2012; 79 FR 28844, May 20, 2014; 85 FR 75916, Nov. 27, 2020]


§ 51.909 Transition of rate-of-return carrier access charges.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, on December 29, 2011, a Rate-of-Return Carrier shall:


(1) Cap the rates for all rate elements for services contained in the definitions of End Office Access Service, Tandem Switched Transport Access Service, and Dedicated Transport Access Service, as well as all other interstate switched access rate elements, in its interstate switched access tariffs at the rate that was in effect on the December 29, 2011; and


(2) Cap, in accordance with § 51.505(b)(2), the rates for rate all elements in its intrastate switched access tariffs associated with the provision of terminating End Office Access Service and terminating Tandem-Switched Transport Access Service at the rates that were in effect on the December 29, 2011,


(i) Using the terminating rates if specifically identified; or


(ii) Using the rate for the applicable rate element if the tariff does not distinguish between originating and terminating.


(3) Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(6) and (b)(4) of this section, nothing in this section obligates or allows a Rate-of-Return Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions raising such rates.


(4) Notwithstanding the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, if a Rate-of-Return Carrier enters or exits the National Exchange Carrier Association (Association), as defined in § 69.2(d) of this chapter, traffic-sensitive tariff pursuant to the provisions of § 69.3(e)(6) of this chapter, the Association shall adjust its switched access rate caps referenced in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.


(i) For each entering Rate-of-Return Carrier, the Association shall:


(A) Determine each entering Rate-of-Return Carrier’s interstate switched access revenues for the preceding calendar year;


(B) Determine the revenues that would have been realized by the entering Rate-of-Return Carrier in the preceding calendar year if it had used the Association’s switched access rates (employing the rates for the appropriate bands) as of December 31 of the preceding year and the entering Rate-of-Return Carrier’s switched access demand used to determine switched access revenues under paragraph (a)(4)(i)(A) of this section; and


(C) Subtract the sum of the revenues determined pursuant to paragraph (a)(4)(i)(B) of this section from the sum of the revenues determined pursuant to paragraph (a)(4)(i)(A) of this section.


(ii) The Association shall determine the amount by which each exiting Rate-of-Return Carrier is a net contributor or net recipient to or from the switched access segment of the Association pool as follows:


(A) The Association shall calculate the difference between each exiting Rate-of-Return Carrier’s 2011-2012 tariff year projected interstate switched access revenues excluding Local Switching Support and the Rate-of-Return Carrier’s projected switched access pool settlements excluding Local Switching Support for the same period with a net contribution amount being treated as a positive amount and a net recipient amount being treated as a negative amount. The Association shall divide the calculated difference by the Rate-of-Return Carrier’s 2011-2012 tariff year projected interstate switched access revenues excluding Local Switching Support to produce a percent net contribution or net receipt factor.


(B) The Association shall multiply the factor calculated in paragraph (a)(4)(ii)(A) of this section by the Rate-of-Return Carrier’s switched access revenues for the preceding calendar year to yield the amount of the Rate-of-Return Carrier’s net contribution or net receipts for the calendar year.


(iii) To determine the Association’s adjusted switched access rate caps, the Association shall:


(A) Add the amounts calculated under paragraphs (a)(4)(i) and (a)(4)(ii) of this section;


(B) Divide the amount determined in paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(A) of this section by the preceding year’s switched access revenues of the Rate-of-Return Carriers that will participate in the Association traffic-sensitive tariff for the next annual tariff period;


(C) The Association shall proportionately adjust its June 30 switched access rate caps by the percentage amount determined in paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(B) of this section.


(iv) The interstate switched access rate caps determined pursuant to paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(C) of this section shall be the new capped interstate switched access rates for purposes of § 51.909(a). The Association shall provide support in its annual access tariff filing to justify the revised interstate switched access rate caps, the Access Recovery Charges that will be assessed, and the amount of Connect America Fund ICC support each carrier will be eligible to receive.


(5) A Rate-of-Return Carrier exiting the Association traffic-sensitive tariff pursuant to § 69.3(e)(6) of this chapter must establish new switched access rate caps as follows:


(i) The Rate-of-Return Carrier shall multiply the factor determined in paragraph (a)(4)(ii)(A) of this section by negative one and then proportionately adjust the Association’s capped switched access rates as of the date preceding the effective date of the exiting Rate-of-Return Carrier’s next annual tariff filing by this percentage. A Rate-of-Return Carrier that was a net contributor to the pool will have rate caps that are lower than the Association’s switched access rate caps, while a net recipient will have switched access rate caps that are higher than the Association’s switched access rate caps;


(ii) The interstate switched access rate caps determined pursuant to paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section shall be the new capped interstate switched access rates of the exiting Rate-of-Return Carrier for purposes of § 51.909(a). An exiting Rate-of-Return Carrier shall provide support in its annual access tariff filing to justify the revised interstate switched access rate caps, the Access Recovery Charges that will be assessed, and the amount of Connect America Fund ICC support the carrier will be eligible to receive.


(6) If the Association revises its interstate switched access rate caps pursuant to paragraph (a)(4) of this section, each Rate-of-Return Carrier participating in the upcoming annual Association traffic-sensitive tariff shall:


(i) Revise any of its intrastate switched access rates that would have reached parity with its interstate switched access rates in 2013 to parity with the revised interstate switched access rate levels;


(ii) The Association shall provide Rate-of-Return Carriers that are participating in the Association traffic-sensitive pool with notice of any revisions the Association proposes under paragraph (a)(4) of this section no later than May 1.


(b) Step 1. Beginning July 1, 2012, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) Each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall file intrastate access tariff provisions, in accordance with § 51.505(b)(2), that set forth the rates applicable to Transitional Intrastate Access Service in each state in which it provides Transitional Intrastate Access Service.


(2) Each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall establish the rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service using the following methodology:


(i) Calculate total revenue from Transitional Intrastate Access Service at the carrier’s interstate access rates in effect on December 29, 2011, using Fiscal Year 2011 intrastate switched access demand for each rate element.


(ii) Calculate total revenue from Transitional Intrastate Access Service at the carrier’s intrastate access rates in effect on December 29, 2011, using Fiscal Year 2011 intrastate switched access demand for each rate element.


(iii) Calculate the Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction. The Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction is equal to one-half of the difference between the amount calculated in (b)(2)(i) of this section and the amount calculated in (b)(2)(ii) of this section.


(iv) A Rate-of-Return Carrier may elect to establish rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service using its intrastate access rate structure. Carriers using this option shall establish rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service such that Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenue at the proposed rates is no greater than Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenue at the intrastate rates in effect as of December 29, 2011 less the Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction, using Fiscal Year 2011 intrastate switched access demand. Carriers electing to establish rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service in this manner shall notify the appropriate state regulatory authority of their election in the filing required by § 51.907(b)(1).


(v) A Rate-of-Return Carrier may elect to apply its interstate access rate structure and interstate rates to Transitional Intrastate Access Service. In addition to applicable interstate access rates, the carrier may, between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, assess a transitional per-minute charge on Transitional Intrastate Access Service end office switching minutes (previously billed as intrastate access). The transitional per-minute charge shall be no greater than the Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction divided by Fiscal Year 2011 Transitional Intrastate Access Service end office switching minutes. Carriers electing to establish rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service in this manner shall notify the appropriate state regulatory authority of their election in the filing required by § 51.907(b)(1).


(3) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, nothing in this section obligates or allows a Rate-of-Return carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions raising such rates.


(4) If a Rate-of-Return Carrier must make an intrastate switched access rate reduction pursuant to paragraph (b)(2) of this section, and that Rate-of-Return Carrier has an intrastate rate for a rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element, the Rate-of-Return Carrier shall:


(i) Increase the rate for any intrastate rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element to the interstate rate no later than July 1, 2013;


(ii) Include any increases made pursuant to paragraph (b)(4)(i) of this section in the calculation of its eligible recovery for 2012.


(c) Step 2. Beginning July 1, 2013, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) Transitional Intrastate Access Service rates shall be no higher than the Rate-of-Return Carrier’s interstate Terminating End Office Access Service, Terminating Tandem-Switched Transport Access Service, and Originating and Terminating Dedicated Transport Access Service rates and subject to the same rate structure and all subsequent rate and rate structure modifications. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, nothing in this section obligates or allows a Rate-of-Return Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions to increase such rates.


(2) If a Rate-of-Return Carrier made an intrastate switched access rate reduction in 2012 pursuant to paragraph (b)(2) of this section, and that Rate-of-Return Carrier has an intrastate rate for a rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element, the Rate-of-Return Carrier shall:


(i) Increase any intrastate rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate to the interstate rate by July 1, 2013; and


(ii) Include any increases made pursuant to paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section in the calculation of its eligible recovery for 2013.


(d) Step 3. Beginning July 1, 2014, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) Notwithstanding the rate structure rules set forth in § 69.106 of this chapter or anything else in the Commission’s rules, a Rate-of-Return Carrier shall establish separate originating and terminating interstate and intrastate rate elements for all components within interstate End Office Access Service. For fixed charges, the Rate-of-Return Carrier shall divide the amount based on relative originating and terminating end office switching minutes. If sufficient originating and terminating end office switching minute data is not available, the carrier shall divide such charges equally between originating and terminating elements.


(2) Nothing in this Step shall affect Tandem-Switched Transport Access Service or Dedicated Transport Access Service.


(3) Each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall establish rates for interstate and intrastate terminating End Office Access Service using the following methodology:


(i) Each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall calculate the 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. The 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate means the Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate calculated using Fiscal Year 2011 interstate demand and the interstate End Office Access Service rates at the levels in effect on December 29, 2011.


(ii) Each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall calculate its 2014 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. The 2014 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate means $0.005 per minute plus two-thirds of any difference between the 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and $0.005 per minute.


(iii) Beginning July 1, 2014, no Rate-of-Return Carrier’s interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate shall exceed its 2014 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. A rate-of-return carrier shall determine compliance by calculating interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rates using the relevant projected interstate demand for the tariff period multiplied by the respective interstate rates as of July 1, 2014, and then dividing by the projected interstate terminating end office local switching demand for the tariff period. A rate-of-return carrier’s intrastate terminating end office access rates may not exceed the comparable interstate terminating end office access rates. In the alternative, any Rate-of-Return Carrier may elect to implement a single per minute rate element for both interstate and intrastate terminating End Office Access Service no greater than the 2014 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate if its intrastate terminating end office access rates would be at rate parity with its interstate terminating end office access rates.


(4) Nothing in this section obligates or allows a Rate-of-Return Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions raising such rates.


(e) Step 4. Beginning July 1, 2015, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) Each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall establish rates for interstate and intrastate terminating End Office Access Service using the following methodology:


(i) Each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall calculate its 2015 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. The 2015 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate means $0.005 per minute plus one-third of any difference between the 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and $0.005 per minute.


(ii) Beginning July 1, 2015, no Rate-of-Return Carrier’s interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate shall exceed its 2015 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. A rate-of-return carrier shall determine compliance by calculating interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rates using the relevant projected interstate demand for the tariff period multiplied by the respective interstate rates as of July 1, 2015, and then dividing by the projected interstate terminating end office local switching demand for the tariff period. A rate-of-return carrier’s intrastate terminating end office access rates may not exceed the comparable interstate terminating end office access rates. In the alternative, any Rate-of-Return Carrier may elect to implement a single per minute rate element for both interstate and intrastate terminating End Office Access Service no greater than the 2015 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate if its intrastate terminating end office access rates would be at rate parity with its interstate terminating end office access rates. Nothing in this section obligates or allows a Rate-of-Return Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions raising such rates.


(2) [Reserved]


(f) Step 5. Beginning July 1, 2016, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall establish interstate terminating End Office Access Service rates such that its interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Service rate does not exceed $0.005 per minute. A rate-of-return carrier shall determine compliance by calculating interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rates using the relevant projected interstate demand for the tariff period multiplied by the respective interstate rates as of July 1, 2016, and then dividing by the projected interstate terminating end office local switching demand for the tariff period. A rate-of-return carrier’s intrastate terminating end office access rates may not exceed the comparable interstate terminating end office access rates. In the alternative, any Rate-of-Return Carrier may elect to implement a single per minute rate element for both interstate and intrastate terminating End Office Access Service no greater than the 2016 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate if its intrastate terminating end office access rates would be at rate parity with its interstate terminating end office access rates. Nothing in this section obligates or allows a Rate-of-Return Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions raising such rates.


(g) Step 6. Beginning July 1, 2017, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) Each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall establish interstate and intrastate rates for terminating End Office Access Service using the following methodology:


(i) Each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall calculate its 2017 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. The 2017 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate means $0.0007 per minute plus two-thirds of any difference between that carrier’s 2016 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and $0.0007 per minute.


(ii) Beginning July 1, 2017, no Rate-of-Return Carrier’s interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate shall exceed its 2017 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. A rate-of-return carrier shall determine compliance by calculating interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rates using the relevant projected interstate demand for the tariff period multiplied by the respective interstate rates as of July 1, 2017, and then dividing by the projected interstate terminating end office local switching demand for the tariff period. A rate-of-return carrier’s intrastate terminating end office access rates may not exceed the comparable interstate terminating end office access rates. In the alternative, any Rate-of-Return Carrier may elect to implement a single per minute rate element for both interstate and intrastate terminating End Office Access Service no greater than the 2017 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate if its intrastate terminating end office access rates would be at rate parity with its interstate terminating end office access rates. Nothing in this section obligates or allows a Rate-of-Return Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions raising such rates.


(2) [Reserved]


(h) Step 7. Beginning July 1, 2018, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) Each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall establish interstate and intrastate rates for terminating End Office Access Service using the following methodology:


(i) Each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall calculate its 2018 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. The 2018 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate means $0.0007 per minute plus one-third of any difference between that carrier’s 2016 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and $0.0007 per minute.


(ii) Beginning July 1, 2018, no Rate-of-Return Carrier’s interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate shall exceed its 2018 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. A rate-of-return carrier shall determine compliance by calculating interstate Composite Terminating End Office Access Rates using the relevant projected interstate demand for the tariff period multiplied by the respective interstate rates as of July 1, 2018 and then dividing by the projected interstate terminating end office local switching demand for the tariff period. A rate-of-return carrier’s intrastate terminating end office access rates may not exceed the comparable interstate terminating end office access rates. In the alternative, any Rate-of-Return Carrier may elect to implement a single per minute rate element for both interstate and intrastate terminating End Office Access Service no greater than the 2018 interstate Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate if its intrastate terminating end office access rates would be at rate parity with its interstate terminating end office access rates. Nothing in this section obligates or allows a Rate-of-Return Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions raising such rates.


(2) [Reserved]


(i) Step 8. Beginning July 1, 2019, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall establish interstate and intrastate rates for terminating End Office Access Service that do not exceed $0.0007 per minute.


(j) Step 9. Beginning July 1, 2020, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall, in accordance with a bill-and-keep methodology, revise and refile its federal access tariffs and any state tariffs to remove any intercarrier charges for terminating End Office Access Service.


(k) As set forth in FCC 11-161, states will facilitate implementation of changes to intrastate access rates to ensure compliance with the Order. Nothing in this section shall alter the authority of a state to monitor and oversee filing of intrastate tariffs.


(l) 8YY Transition – Step 1. As of December 28, 2020, each rate-of-return carrier shall cap the rate for all intrastate originating access charge rate elements for Toll Free Calls, including for Toll Free Database Query Charges.


(m) 8YY Transition – Step 2. Beginning July 1, 2021, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules in this chapter, each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall:


(1) Establish separate rate elements for interstate and intrastate toll free originating end office access service and non-toll free originating end office access service. Rate elements reflecting fixed charges associated with originating End Office Access Service shall be treated as non-toll free charges.


(2) Reduce its intrastate toll free originating end office access service rates to its interstate toll free originating end office access service rates as follows:


(i) Calculate total revenue from End Office Access Service, excluding non-usage-based rate elements, at the carrier’s interstate access rates in effect on June 30, 2020, using intrastate switched access demand for each rate element for the 12 months ending June 30, 2020.


(ii) Calculate total revenue from End Office Access Service, excluding non-usage based rate elements, at the carrier’s intrastate access rates in effect on June 30, 2020, using intrastate switched access demand for each rate element for the 12 months ending June 30, 2020.


(iii) If the value in paragraph (m)(2)(ii) of this section is less than or equal to the value in paragraph (m)(2)(i) of this section, the Rate-of-Return Carrier’s intrastate End Office Access Service rates shall remain unchanged.


(iv) If the value in paragraph (m)(2)(ii) of this section is greater than the value in paragraph (m)(2)(i) of this section, the Rate-of-Return Carrier shall reduce intrastate rates for End Office Access Service so that they are equal to the Rate-of-Return Carrier’s functionally equivalent interstate rates for End Office Access Rates and shall be subject to the interstate rate structure and all subsequent rate and rate structure modifications.


(v) Except as provided in paragraph (m)(2) of this section, nothing in this section allows a Rate-of-Return Carrier that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions to increase such rates. If a Rate-of-Return Carrier has an intrastate rate for an End Office Access Service rate element that less than the comparable interstate rate for that element, the Rate-of-Return Carrier may, if necessary as part of a restructuring to reduce its intrastate rates for End Office Access Service down to parity with functionally equivalent interstate rates, increase the rate for an intrastate rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element to the interstate rate on July 1, 2021.


(3) Establish separate rate elements for interstate and intrastate non-toll free originating transport services for service between an end office switch and the tandem switch and remove its rate for intrastate and interstate originating toll free transport services consistent with a bill-and-keep methodology (as defined in § 51.713).


(4) Establish separate rate elements respectively for interstate and intrastate non-toll free originating tandem switching services.


(5) Establish transitional interstate and intrastate Joint Tandem Switched Transport Access rate elements for Toll Free Calls that are respectively no more than $0.001 per minute.


(6) Reduce its interstate and intrastate rates for Toll Free Database Query Charges to no more than $0.004248 per query. Nothing in this section obligates or allows a Rate-of-Return carrier that has Toll Free Database Query Charges lower than this rate to make any intrastate or interstate tariff filing revision to increase such rates.


(n) 8YY Transition – Step 3. Beginning July 1, 2022, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules in this chapter, each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall:


(1) Reduce its interstate and intrastate rates for all originating End Office Access Service rate elements for Toll Free Calls in each state in which it provides such service by one-half of the maximum rate allowed by paragraph (a) of this section; and


(2) Reduce its rates for intrastate and interstate Toll Free Database Query Charges by one-half of the difference between the rate permitted by paragraph (m)(6) of this section and the transitional rate of $0.0002 per query set forth in paragraph (o)(2) of this section.


(o) 8YY Transition – Step 4. Beginning on July 1, 2023, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules in this chapter, each Rate-of-Return Carrier shall:


(1) In accordance with a bill-and-keep methodology, refile its interstate switched access tariff and any state tariff to remove any intercarrier charges for all intrastate and interstate originating End Office Access Service for Toll Free Calls; and


(2) Reduce its rates for all intrastate and interstate Toll Free Database Query Charges to a transitional rate of no more than $0.0002 per query.


[76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 48452, Aug. 14, 2012; 78 FR 26267, May 6, 2013; 79 FR 28845, May 20, 2014; 85 FR 75917, Nov. 27, 2020]


§ 51.911 Access reciprocal compensation rates for competitive LECs.

(a) Caps on Access Reciprocal Compensation and switched access rates. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules:


(1) In the case of Competitive LECs operating in an area served by a Price Cap Carrier, no such Competitive LEC may increase the rate for any originating or terminating intrastate switched access service above the rate for such service in effect on December 29, 2011.


(2) In the case of Competitive LEC operating in an area served by an incumbent local exchange carrier that is a Rate-of-Return Carrier or Competitive LECs that are subject to the rural exemption in § 61.26(e) of this chapter, no such Competitive LEC may increase the rate for any originating or terminating intrastate switched access service above the rate for such service in effect on December 29, 2011, with the exception of intrastate originating access service. For such Competitive LECs, intrastate originating access service subject to this subpart shall remain subject to the same state rate regulation in effect December 31, 2011, as may be modified by the state thereafter.


(b) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(7) of this section, beginning July 3, 2012, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, each Competitive LEC that has tariffs on file with state regulatory authorities shall file intrastate access tariff provisions, in accordance with § 51.505(b)(2), that set forth the rates applicable to Transitional Intrastate Access Service in each state in which it provides Transitional Intrastate Access Service. Each Competitive Local Exchange Carrier shall establish the rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service using the following methodology.


(1) Calculate total revenue from Transitional Intrastate Access Service at the carrier’s interstate access rates in effect on December 29, 2011, using Fiscal Year 2011 intrastate switched access demand for each rate element.


(2) Calculate total revenue from Transitional Intrastate Access Service at the carrier’s intrastate access rates in effect on December 29, 2011, using Fiscal Year 2011 intrastate switched access demand for each rate element.


(3) Calculate the Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction. The Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction is equal to one-half of the difference between the amount calculated in (b)(1) of this section and the amount calculated in (b)(2) of this section.


(4) A Competitive Local Exchange Carrier may elect to establish rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service using its intrastate access rate structure. Carriers using this option shall establish rates for Transitional Intrastate Access Service such that Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenue at the proposed rates is no greater than Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenue at the intrastate rates in effect as of December 29, 2011 less the Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction, using Fiscal year 2011 intrastate switched access demand.


(5) In the alternative, a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier may elect to apply its interstate access rate structure and interstate rates to Transitional Intrastate Access Service. In addition to applicable interstate access rates, the carrier may assess a transitional per-minute charge on Transitional Intrastate Access Service end office switching minutes (previously billed as intrastate access). The transitional charge shall be no greater than the Step 1 Access Revenue Reduction divided by Fiscal year 2011 intrastate switched access demand


(6) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(7) of this section, nothing in this section obligates or allows a Competitive LEC that has intrastate rates lower than its functionally equivalent interstate rates to make any intrastate tariff filing or intrastate tariff revisions raising such rates.


(7) If a Competitive LEC must make an intrastate switched access rate reduction pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, and that Competitive LEC has an intrastate rate for a rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element, the Competitive LEC may increase the rate for any intrastate rate element that is below the comparable interstate rate for that element to the interstate rate no later than July 1, 2013;


(c) Beginning July 1, 2013, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, all Competitive Local Exchange Carrier Access Reciprocal Compensation rates for switched exchange access services subject to this subpart shall be no higher than the Access Reciprocal Compensation rates charged by the competing incumbent local exchange carrier, in accordance with the same procedures specified in § 61.26 of this chapter.


(d) Cap on Database Query Charge. A Competitive Local Exchange Carrier assessing a tariffed intrastate or interstate Toll Free Database Query Charge shall cap such charge at the rate in effect on December 28, 2020.


(e) Transition of cap on Database Query Charge. Beginning July 1, 2021, notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules in this chapter, a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier assessing a tariffed intrastate or interstate Toll Free Database Query Charge shall revise its tariffs as necessary to ensure that its intrastate and interstate Toll Free Database Query Charges do not exceed the rates charged by the competing incumbent local exchange carrier, as defined in § 61.26(a)(2) of this chapter.


[76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 48452, Aug. 14, 2012; 85 FR 75917, Nov. 27, 2020; 85 FR 75917, Nov. 27, 2020]


§ 51.913 Transition for VoIP-PSTN traffic.

(a)(1) Terminating Access Reciprocal Compensation subject to this subpart exchanged between a local exchange carrier and another telecommunications carrier in Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) format that originates and/or terminates in IP format shall be subject to a rate equal to the relevant interstate terminating access charges specified by this subpart. Interstate originating Access Reciprocal Compensation subject to this subpart exchanged between a local exchange carrier and another telecommunications carrier in Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) format that originates and/or terminates in IP format shall be subject to a rate equal to the relevant interstate originating access charges specified by this subpart.


(2) Until June 30, 2014, intrastate originating Access Reciprocal Compensation subject to this subpart exchanged between a local exchange carrier and another telecommunications carrier in Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) format that originates and/or terminates in IP format shall be subject to a rate equal to the relevant intrastate originating access charges specified by this subpart. Effective July 1, 2014, originating Access Reciprocal Compensation subject to this subpart exchanged between a local exchange carrier and another telecommunications carrier in Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) format that originates and/or terminates in IP format shall be subject to a rate equal to the relevant interstate originating access charges specified by this subpart.


(3) Telecommunications traffic originates and/or terminates in IP format if it originates from and/or terminates to an end-user customer of a service that requires Internet protocol-compatible customer premises equipment.


(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, a local exchange carrier shall be entitled to assess and collect the full Access Reciprocal Compensation charges prescribed by this subpart that are set forth in a local exchange carrier’s interstate or intrastate tariff for the access services defined in § 51.903 regardless of whether the local exchange carrier itself delivers such traffic to the called party’s premises or delivers the call to the called party’s premises via contractual or other arrangements with an affiliated or unaffiliated provider of interconnected VoIP service, as defined in 47 U.S.C. 153(25), or a non-interconnected VoIP service, as defined in 47 U.S.C. 153(36), that does not itself seek to collect Access Reciprocal Compensation charges prescribed by this subpart for that traffic. This rule does not permit a local exchange carrier to charge for functions not performed by the local exchange carrier itself or the affiliated or unaffiliated provider of interconnected VoIP service or non-interconnected VoIP service. For purposes of this provision, functions provided by a LEC as part of transmitting telecommunications between designated points using, in whole or in part, technology other than TDM transmission in a manner that is comparable to a service offered by a local exchange carrier constitutes the functional equivalent of the incumbent local exchange carrier access service.


[76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 31536, May 29, 2012]


§ 51.914 Additional provisions applicable to Access Stimulation traffic.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, if a local exchange carrier is engaged in Access Stimulation, as defined in § 61.3(bbb) of this chapter, it shall, within 45 days of commencing Access Stimulation, or within 45 days of November 27, 2019, whichever is later:


(1) Not bill any Interexchange Carrier for terminating switched access tandem switching or terminating switched access transport charges for any traffic between such local exchange carrier’s terminating end office or equivalent and the associated access tandem switch; and


(2) Shall designate, if needed, the Intermediate Access Provider(s) that will provide terminating switched access tandem switching and terminating switched access tandem transport services to the local exchange carrier engaged in access stimulation and that the local exchange carrier shall assume financial responsibility for any applicable Intermediate Access Provider’s charges for such services for any traffic between such local exchange carrier’s terminating end office or equivalent and the associated access tandem switch.


(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, if a local exchange carrier is engaged in Access Stimulation, as defined in § 61.3(bbb) of this chapter, it shall, within 45 days of commencing Access Stimulation, or within 45 days of November 27, 2019, whichever is later, notify in writing the Commission, all Intermediate Access Providers that it subtends, and Interexchange Carriers with which it does business of the following:


(1) That it is a local exchange carrier engaged in Access Stimulation; and


(2) That it shall designate the Intermediate Access Provider(s) that will provide the terminating switched access tandem switching and terminating switched access tandem transport services to the local exchange carrier engaged in access stimulation and that it shall pay for those services as of that date.


(c) In the event that an Intermediate Access Provider receives notice under paragraph (b) of this section that it has been designated to provide terminating switched access tandem switching or terminating switched access tandem transport services to a local exchange carrier engaged in Access Stimulation and that local exchange carrier shall pay for such terminating access service from such Intermediate Access Provider, the Intermediate Access Provider shall not bill Interexchange Carriers for terminating switched access tandem switching or terminating switched access tandem transport service for traffic bound for such local exchange carrier but, instead, shall bill such local exchange carrier for such services.


(d) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, any local exchange carrier that is not itself engaged in Access Stimulation, as that term is defined in § 61.3(bbb) of this chapter, but serves as an Intermediate Access Provider with respect to traffic bound for a local exchange carrier engaged in Access Stimulation, shall not itself be deemed a local exchange carrier engaged in Access Stimulation or be affected by paragraphs (a) and (b).


(e) Upon terminating its engagement in Access Stimulation, as defined in § 61.3(bbb) of this chapter, the local exchange carrier engaged in Access Stimulation shall provide concurrent, written notification to the Commission and any affected Intermediate Access Provider(s) and Interexchange Carrier(s) of such fact.


[84 FR 57650, Oct. 28, 2019, as amended at 85 FR 35209, June 9, 2020]


§ 51.915 Recovery mechanism for price cap carriers.

(a) Scope. This section sets forth the extent to which Price Cap Carriers may recover certain revenues, through the recovery mechanism outlined below, to implement reforms adopted in FCC 11-161 and as required by § 20.11(b) of this chapter, and §§ 51.705 and 51.907.


(b) Definitions. As used in this section and § 51.917, the following terms mean:


(1) CALLS Study Area. A CALLS Study Area means a Price Cap Carrier study area that participated in the CALLS plan at its inception. See Access Charge Reform, Price Cap Performance Review for Local Exchange Carriers, Low-Volume Long-Distance Users, Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, Sixth Report and Order in CC Docket Nos. 96-262 and 94-1, Report and Order in CC Docket No. 99-249, Eleventh Report and Order in CC Docket No. 96-45, 15 FCC Rcd 12962 (2000).


(2) CALLS Study Area Base Factor. The CALLS Study Area Base Factor is equal to ninety (90) percent.


(3) CMRS Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues. CMRS Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues means the reduction in net reciprocal compensation revenues required by § 20.11 of this chapter associated with CMRS traffic as described in § 51.701(b)(2), which is equal to its Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenues from CMRS carriers.


(4) Expected Revenues for Access Recovery Charges. Expected Revenues for Access Recovery Charges are calculated using the tariffed Access Recovery Charge rate for each class of service and the forecast demand for each class of service.


(5) Initial Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. Initial Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate means Fiscal Year 2011 terminating interstate End Office Access Service revenue divided by Fiscal Year 2011 terminating interstate end office switching minutes.


(6) Lifeline Customer. A Lifeline Customer is a residential lifeline subscriber as defined by § 54.400(a) of this chapter that does not pay a Residential and/or Single-Line Business End User Common Line Charge.


(7) Net Reciprocal Compensation. Net Reciprocal Compensation means the difference between a carrier’s reciprocal compensation revenues from non-access traffic less its reciprocal compensation payments for non-access traffic during a stated period of time. For purposes of the calculations made under §§ 51.915 and 51.917, the term does not include reciprocal compensation revenues for non-access traffic exchanged between Local Exchange Carriers and CMRS providers; recovery for such traffic is addressed separately in these sections.


(8) Non-CALLS Study Area. Non-CALLS Study Area means a Price Cap Carrier study area that did not participate in the CALLS plan at its inception.


(9) Non-CALLS Study Area Base Factor. The Non-CALLS Study Area Base Factor is equal to one hundred (100) percent for five (5) years beginning July 1, 2012. Beginning July 1, 2017, the Non-CALLS Price Cap Carrier Base Factor will be equal to ninety (90) percent.


(10) Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor. The Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor, as used in calculating eligible recovery, is equal to ninety (90) percent for the one-year period beginning July 1, 2012. It is reduced by ten (10) percent of its previous value in each subsequent annual tariff filing.


(11) Rate Ceiling Component Charges. The Rate Ceiling Component Charges consists of the federal end user common line charge and the Access Recovery Charge; the flat rate for residential local service (sometimes know as the “1FR” or “R1” rate), mandatory extended area service charges, and state subscriber line charges; per-line state high cost and/or state access replacement universal service contributions, state E911 charges, and state TRS charges.


(12) Residential Rate Ceiling. The Residential Rate Ceiling, which consists of the total of the Rate Ceiling Component Charges, is set at $30 per month. The Residential Rate Ceiling will be the higher of the rate in effect on January 1, 2012, or the rate in effect on January 1 in any subsequent year.


(13) True-up Revenues for Access Recovery Charge. True-up revenues for Access Recovery Charge are equal to (projected demand minus actual realized demand for Access Recovery Charges) times the tariffed Access Recovery Charge. This calculation shall be made separately for each class of service and shall be adjusted to reflect any changes in tariffed rates for the Access Recovery Charge. Realized demand is the demand for which payment has been received by the time the true-up is made.


(14) Intrastate 2014 Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate. The Intrastate 2014 Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate as used in this section is determined by


(i) If a separate terminating rate is not already generally available, developing separate intrastate originating and terminating end office rates in accordance with § 51.907(d)(1) using end office access rates at their June 30, 2014, rate caps;


(ii) Multiplying the existing terminating June 30, 2014, intrastate end office access rates, or the terminating rates developed in paragraph (b)(14)(i) of this section, by the relevant Fiscal Year 2011 intrastate demand; and


(iii) Dividing the sum of the revenues determined in paragraph (b)(14)(ii) of this section by 2011 Fiscal Year intrastate terminating local switching minutes.


(c) 2011 Price Cap Carrier Base Period Revenue. 2011 Price Cap Carrier Base Period Revenue is equal to the sum of the following three components:


(1) Terminating interstate end office switched access revenues and interstate Tandem-Switched Transport Access Service revenues for Fiscal Year 2011 received by March 31, 2012;


(2) Fiscal Year 2011 revenues from Transitional Intrastate Access Service received by March 31, 2012; and


(3) Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation revenues received by March 31, 2012, less fiscal year 2011 reciprocal compensation payments made by March 31, 2012.


(d) Eligible recovery for Price Cap Carriers. (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, a Price Cap Carrier may recover the amounts specified in this paragraph through the mechanisms described in paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section.


(i) Beginning July 1, 2012, a Price Cap Carrier’s eligible recovery will be equal to the CALLS Study Area Base Factor and/or the Non-CALLS Study Area Base Factor, as applicable, multiplied by the sum of the following three components:


(A) The amount of the reduction in Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenues determined pursuant to § 51.907(b)(2) multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(B) CMRS Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; and


(C) A Price Cap Carrier’s reductions in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenues resulting from rate reductions required by § 51.705, other than those associated with CMRS traffic as described in § 51.701(b)(2), which may be calculated in one of the following ways:


(1) Calculate the reduction in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenue as a result of rate reductions required by § 51.705 using Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(2) By using a composite reciprocal compensation rate as follows:


(i) Establish a composite reciprocal compensation rate for its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation payments by dividing its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and payments by its respective Fiscal Year 2011 demand excluding demand for traffic exchanged pursuant to a bill-and-keep arrangement;


(ii) Calculate the difference between each of the composite reciprocal compensation rates and the target reciprocal compensation rate set forth in § 51.705 for the year beginning July 1, 2012 multiply by the appropriate Fiscal Year 2011 demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; or


(3) For the purpose of establishing its recovery for net reciprocal compensation, a Price Cap Carrier may elect to forgo this step and receive no recovery for reductions in net reciprocal compensation. If a carrier elects this option, it may not change its election at a later date.


(ii) Beginning July 1, 2013, a Price Cap Carrier’s eligible recovery will be equal to the CALLS Study Area Base Factor and/or the Non-CALLS Study Area Base Factor, as applicable, multiplied by the sum of the following three components:


(A) The cumulative amount of the reduction in Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenues determined pursuant to § 51.907(b)(2) and (c) multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; and


(B) CMRS Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; and


(C) A Price Cap Carrier’s cumulative reductions in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenues other than those associated with CMRS traffic as described in § 51.701(b)(2) resulting from rate reductions required by § 51.705 may be calculated in one of the following ways:


(1) Calculate the cumulative reduction in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenue as a result of rate reductions required by § 51.705 using Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation demand and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(2) By using a composite reciprocal compensation rate as follows:


(i) Establish a composite reciprocal compensation rate for its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation payments by dividing its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and payments by its respective Fiscal Year 2011 demand excluding demand for traffic exchanged pursuant to a bill-and-keep arrangement;


(ii) Calculate the difference between each of the composite reciprocal compensation rates and the target reciprocal compensation rate set forth in § 51.705 for the year beginning July 1, 2013, using the appropriate Fiscal Year 2011 demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; or


(3) For the purpose of establishing its recovery for net reciprocal compensation, a Price Cap Carrier may elect to forgo this step and receive no recovery for reductions in net reciprocal compensation. If a carrier elects this option, it may not change its election at a later date.


(iii) Beginning July 1, 2014, a Price Cap Carrier’s eligible recovery will be equal to the CALLS Study Area Base Factor and/or the Non-CALLS Study Area Base Factor, as applicable, multiplied by the sum of the amounts in paragraphs (d)(1)(iii)(A) through (d)(1)(iii)(E), of this section, and then adding the amount in paragraph (d)(1)(iii)(F) of this section to that amount:


(A) The amount of the reduction in Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenues determined pursuant to § 51.907(b)(2) and (c) multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; and


(B) The reduction in interstate switched access revenues equal to the difference between the 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and the 2014 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate determined pursuant to § 51.907(d) using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating interstate end office switching minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(C) If the carrier reduced its 2014 Intrastate Terminating End Office Access Rate(s) pursuant to § 51.907(d)(2), the reduction in revenues equal to the difference between either the Intrastate 2014 Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and the Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate based on the maximum terminating end office rates that could have been charged on July 1, 2014, or the 2014 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate, as applicable, using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating intrastate end office switching minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(D) CMRS Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; and


(E) A Price Cap Carrier’s cumulative reductions in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenues other than those associated with CMRS traffic as described in § 51.701(b)(2) resulting from rate reductions required by § 51.705 may be calculated in one of the following ways:


(1) Calculate the cumulative reduction in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenue as a result of rate reductions required by § 51.705 using Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(2) By using a composite reciprocal compensation rate as follows:


(i) Establish a composite reciprocal compensation rate for its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation payments by dividing its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and payments by its respective Fiscal Year 2011 demand excluding demand for traffic exchanged pursuant to a bill-and-keep arrangement;


(ii) Calculate the difference between each of the composite reciprocal compensation rates and the target reciprocal compensation rate set forth in § 51.705 for the year beginning July 1, 2014, using the appropriate Fiscal Year 2011 demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; or


(3) For the purpose of establishing its recovery for net reciprocal compensation, a Price Cap Carrier may elect to forgo this step and receive no recovery for reductions in net reciprocal compensation. If a carrier elects this option, it may not change its election at a later date.


(F) An amount equal to True-up Revenues for Access Recovery Charges for the year beginning July 1, 2012.


(iv) Beginning July 1, 2015, a Price Cap Carrier’s eligible recovery will be equal to the CALLS Study Area Base Factor and/or the Non-CALLS Study Area Base Factor, as applicable, multiplied by the sum of the amounts in paragraphs (d)(1)(iv)(A) through (d)(1)(iv)(E) of this section and then adding the amount in paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(F) of this section to that amount:


(A) The amount of the reduction in Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenues determined pursuant to § 51.907(b)(2) and (c) multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(B) The reduction in interstate switched access revenues equal to the difference between the 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and the 2015 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate determined pursuant to § 51.907(e) using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating interstate end office switching minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(C) If the carrier reduced its Intrastate Terminating End Office Access Rate(s) pursuant to § 51.907(e)(1), the reduction in intrastate switched access revenues equal to the difference between either the intrastate 2014 Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and the Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate based on the maximum terminating end office rates that could have been charged on July 1, 2015, or the 2015 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate, as applicable, using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating intrastate end office switching minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; and


(D) CMRS Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(E) A Price Cap Carrier’s cumulative reductions in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenues other than those associated with CMRS traffic as described in § 51.701(b)(2) resulting from rate reductions required by § 51.705 may be calculated in one of the following ways:


(1) Calculate the cumulative reduction in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenue as a result of rate reductions required by § 51.705 using Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(2) By using a composite reciprocal compensation rate as follows:


(i) Establish a composite reciprocal compensation rate for its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation payments by dividing its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and payments by its respective Fiscal Year 2011 demand excluding demand for traffic exchanged pursuant to a bill-and-keep arrangement;


(ii) Calculate the difference between each of the composite reciprocal compensation rates and the target reciprocal compensation rate set forth in § 51.705 for the year beginning July 1, 2015, using the appropriate Fiscal Year 2011 demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; or


(3) For the purpose of establishing its recovery for net reciprocal compensation, a Price Cap Carrier may elect to forgo this step and receive no recovery for reductions in net reciprocal compensation. If a carrier elects this option, it may not change its election at a later date.


(F) An amount equal to True-up Revenues for Access Recovery Charges for the year beginning July 1, 2013.


(v) Beginning July 1, 2016, a Price Cap Carrier’s eligible recovery will be equal to the CALLS Study Area Base Factor and/or the Non-CALLS Study Area Base Factor, as applicable, multiplied by the sum of the amounts in paragraphs (d)(1)(v)(A) through (d)(1)(v)(E), of this section and then adding the amount in paragraph (d)(1)(v)(F) of this section to that amount:


(A) The amount of the reduction in Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenues determined pursuant to § 51.907(b)(2) and (c) multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(B) The reduction in interstate switched access revenues equal to the difference between the 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and $0.0007 determined pursuant to § 51.907(f) using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating interstate end office switching minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(C) If the carrier reduced its Intrastate Terminating End Office Access Rate(s) pursuant to § 51.907(f), the reduction in revenues equal to the difference between either the Intrastate 2014 Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate and $0.0007 based on the maximum terminating end office rates that could have been charged on July 1, 2016, or the 2016 Target Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate, as applicable, using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating intrastate end office minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(D) CMRS Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(E) A Price Cap Carrier’s cumulative reductions in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenues other than those associated with CMRS traffic as described in § 51.701(b)(2) resulting from rate reductions required by § 51.705 may be calculated in one of the following ways:


(1) Calculate the cumulative reduction in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenue as a result of rate reductions required by § 51.705 using Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(2) By using a composite reciprocal compensation rate as follows:


(i) Establish a composite reciprocal compensation rate for its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation payments by dividing its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and payments by its respective Fiscal Year 2011 demand excluding demand for traffic exchanged pursuant to a bill-and-keep arrangement;


(ii) Calculate the difference between each of the composite reciprocal compensation rates and the target reciprocal compensation rate set forth in § 51.705 for the year beginning July 1, 2016, using the appropriate Fiscal Year 2011 demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; or


(3) For the purpose of establishing its recovery for net reciprocal compensation, a Price Cap Carrier may elect to forgo this step and receive no recovery for reductions in net reciprocal compensation. If a carrier elects this option, it may not change its election at a later date.


(F) An amount equal to True-up Revenues for Access Recovery Charges for the year beginning July 1, 2014.


(vi) Beginning July 1, 2017, a Price Cap Carrier’s eligible recovery will be equal to ninety (90) percent of the sum of the amounts in paragraphs (d)(1)(vi) through (d)(1)(vi)(F) of this section, and then adding the amount in paragraph (d)(1)(vi)(G) f this section to that amount:


(A) The amount of the reduction in Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenues determined pursuant to § 51.907(b)(2) and (c) multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; and


(B) The reduction in interstate switched access revenues equal to the 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating interstate end office switching minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(C) The reduction in revenues equal to the intrastate 2014 Composite terminating End Office Access Rate using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating intrastate end office switching minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(D) The reduction in revenues resulting from reducing the terminating Tandem-Switched Transport Access Service rate to $0.0007 pursuant to § 51.907(g)(2) using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating tandem-switched minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(E) CMRS Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; and


(F) A Price Cap Carrier’s cumulative reductions in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenues other than those associated with CMRS traffic as described in § 51.701(b)(2) resulting from rate reductions required by § 51.705 may be calculated in one of the following ways:


(1) Calculate the cumulative reduction in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenue as a result of rate reductions required by § 51.705 using Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(2) By using a composite reciprocal compensation rate as follows:


(i) Establish a composite reciprocal compensation rate for its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation payments by dividing its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and payments by its respective Fiscal Year 2011 demand excluding demand for traffic exchanged pursuant to a bill-and-keep arrangement;


(ii) Calculate the difference between each of the composite reciprocal compensation rates and the target reciprocal compensation rate set forth in § 51.705 for the year beginning July 1, 2017, using the appropriate Fiscal Year 2011 demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; or


(3) For the purpose of establishing its recovery for net reciprocal compensation, a Price Cap Carrier may elect to forgo this step and receive no recovery for reductions in net reciprocal compensation. If a carrier elects this option, it may not change its election at a later date.


(G) An amount equal to True-up Revenues for Access Recovery Charges for the year beginning July 1, 2015.


(vii) Beginning July 1, 2018, a Price Cap Carrier’s eligible recovery will be equal to ninety (90) percent of the sum of the amounts in paragraphs (d)(1)(vii)(A) though (d)(1)(vii)(G) of this section, and then adding the amount in paragraph (d)(1)(vii)(H) of this section to that amount:


(A) The amount of the reduction in Transitional Intrastate Access Service revenues determined pursuant to § 51.907(b)(2) and (c) multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; and:


(B) The reduction in interstate switched access revenues equal to the 2011 Baseline Composite Terminating End Office Access Rate using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating interstate end office switching minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(C) The reduction in revenues equal to the intrastate 2014 Composite terminating End Office Access Rate using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating intrastate end office switching minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(D) The reduction in revenues resulting from reducing the terminating Tandem-Switched Transport Access Service rate to $0.0007 pursuant to § 51.907(g)(2) using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating tandem-switched minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(E) The reduction in revenues resulting from moving from a terminating Tandem-Switched Transport Access Service rate tariffed at a maximum of $0.0007 to removal of intercarrier charges pursuant to § 51.907(h), if applicable, using Fiscal Year 2011 terminating tandem-switched minutes, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(F) CMRS Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues multiplied by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; and


(G) A Price Cap Carrier’s cumulative reductions in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenues other than those associated with CMRS traffic as described in § 51.701(b)(2) resulting from rate reductions required by § 51.705 may be calculated in one of the following ways:


(1) Calculate the cumulative reduction in Fiscal Year 2011 net reciprocal compensation revenue as a result of rate reductions required by § 51.705 using Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor;


(2) By using a composite reciprocal compensation rate as follows:


(i) Establish a composite reciprocal compensation rate for its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation payments by dividing its Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation receipts and payments by its respective Fiscal Year 2011 demand excluding demand for traffic exchanged pursuant to a bill-and-keep arrangement;


(ii) Calculate the difference between each of the composite reciprocal compensation rates and the target reciprocal compensation rate set forth in § 51.705 for the year beginning July 1, 2018, using the appropriate Fiscal Year 2011 demand, and then multiply by the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor; or


(3) For the purpose of establishing its recovery for net reciprocal compensation, a Price Cap Carrier may elect to forgo this step and receive no recovery for reductions in net reciprocal compensation. If a carrier elects this option, it may not change its election at a later date.


(H) An amount equal to True-up Revenues for Access Recovery Charges for the year beginning July 1, 2016.


(viii) Beginning July 1, 2019, and in subsequent years, a Price Cap Carrier’s eligible recovery will be equal to the amount calculated in paragraph (d)(1)(vii)(A) through (d)(1)(vii)(H) of this section before the application of the Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor applicable in 2018 multiplied by the appropriate Price Cap Carrier Traffic Demand Factor for the year in question, and then adding an amount equal to True-up Revenues for Access Recovery Charges for the year beginning July 1 two years earlier.


(2) If a Price Cap Carrier recovers any costs or revenues that are already being recovered through Access Recovery Charges or the Connect America Fund from another source, that carrier’s ability to recover reduced switched access revenue from Access Recovery Charges or the Connect America Fund shall be reduced to the extent it receives duplicative recovery. Any duplicative recovery shall be reflected as a reduction to a carrier’s Eligible Recovery calculated pursuant to § 51.915(d).


(3) A Price Cap Carrier seeking revenue recovery must annually certify as part of its tariff filings to the Commission and to the relevant state commission that the carrier is not seeking duplicative recovery in the state jurisdiction for any Eligible Recovery subject to the recovery mechanism.


(4) If a Price Cap Carrier receives payment for Access Recovery Charges after the period used to measure the adjustment to reflect the differences between estimated and actual revenues, it shall treat such payments as actual revenues in the year the payment is received and shall reflect this as an additional adjustment for that year.


(e) Access Recovery Charge. (1) A charge that is expressed in dollars and cents per line per month may be assessed upon end users that may be assessed an end user common line charge pursuant to § 69.152 of this chapter, to the extent necessary to allow the Price Cap Carrier to recover some or all of its eligible recovery determined pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section, subject to the caps described in paragraph (e)(5) of this section. A Price Cap Carrier may elect to forgo charging some or all of the Access Recovery Charge.


(2) Total Access Recovery Charges calculated by multiplying the tariffed Access Recovery Charge by the projected demand for the year in question may not recover more than the amount of eligible recovery calculated pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section for the year beginning on July 1.


(3) For the purposes of this section, a Price Cap Carrier holding company includes all of its wholly-owned operating companies that are price cap incumbent local exchange carriers. A Price Cap Carrier Holding Company may recover the eligible recovery attributable to any price cap study areas operated by its wholly-owned operating companies through assessments of the Access Recovery Charge on end users in any price cap study areas operated by its wholly owned operating companies that are price cap incumbent local exchange carriers.


(4) Distribution of Access Recovery Charges among lines of different types. (i) A Price Cap Carrier holding company that does not receive ICC-replacement CAF support (whether because it elects not to or because it does not have sufficient eligible recovery after the Access Recovery Charge is assessed or imputed) may not recover a higher fraction of its total revenue recovery from Access Recovery Charges assessed on Residential and Single Line Business lines than:


(A) The number of Residential and Single-Line Business lines divided by


(B) The sum of the number of Residential and Single-Line Business lines and two (2) times the number of End User Common Line charges assessed on Multi-Line Business customers.


(ii) For purposes of this subpart, Residential and Single Line Business lines are lines (other than lines of Lifeline Customers) assessed the residential and single line business end user common line charge and lines assessed the non-primary residential end user common line charge.


(iii) For purposes of this subpart, Multi-Line Business Lines are lines assessed the multi-line business end user common line charge.


(5) Per-line caps and other limitations on Access Recovery Charges


(i) For each line other than lines of Lifeline Customers assessed a primary residential or single-line business end user common line charge or a non-primary residential end user common line charge pursuant to § 69.152 of this Chapter, a Price Cap Carrier may assess an Access Recovery Charge as follows:


(A) Beginning July 1, 2012, a maximum of $0.50 per month for each line;


(B) Beginning July 1, 2013, a maximum of $1.00 per month for each line;


(C) Beginning July 1, 2014, a maximum of $1.50 per month for each line;


(D) Beginning July 1, 2015, a maximum of $2.00 per month for each line; and


(E) Beginning July 1, 2016, a maximum of $2.50 per month for each line.


(ii) For each line assessed a multi-line business end user common line charge pursuant to § 69.152 of this chapter, a Price Cap Carrier may assess an Access Recovery Charge as follows:


(A) Beginning July 1, 2012, a maximum of $1.00 per month for each multi-line business end user common line charge assessed;


(B) Beginning July 1, 2013, a maximum of $2.00 per month for each multi-line business end user common line charge assessed;


(C) Beginning July 1, 2014, a maximum of $3.00 per month for each multi-line business end user common line charge assessed;


(D) Beginning July 1, 2015, a maximum of $4.00 per month for each multi-line business end user common line charge assessed; and


(E) Beginning July 1, 2016, a maximum of $5.00 per month for each multi-line business end user common line charge assessed.


(iii) The Access Recovery Charge allowed by paragraph (e)(5)(i) of this section may not be assessed to the extent that its assessment would bring the total of the Rate Ceiling Component Charges above the Residential Rate Ceiling on January 1 of that year. This limitation applies only to the first residential line obtained by a residential end user and does not apply to single-line business customers.


(iv) The Access Recovery Charge allowed by paragraph (e)(5)(ii) of this section may not be assessed to the extent that its assessment would bring the total of the multi-line business end user common line charge and the Access Recovery Charge above $12.20 per line.


(v) The Access Recovery Charge assessed on lines assessed the non-primary residential line end user common line charge in a study area may not exceed the Access Recovery Charge assessed on residential end-users’ first residential line in that study area.


(vi) The Access Recovery Charge may not be assessed on lines of any Lifeline Customers.


(vii) If in any year, the Price Cap Carrier’s Access Recovery Charge is not at its maximum, the succeeding year’s Access Recovery Charge may not increase more than $.0.50 per line per month for charges assessed under paragraph (e)(5)(i) of this section or $1.00 per line per month for charges assessed under paragraph (e)(5)(ii) of this section.


(f) Price Cap Carrier eligibility for CAF ICC Support. (1) A Price Cap Carrier shall elect in its July 1, 2012 access tariff filing whether it will receive CAF ICC Support under this paragraph. A Price Cap Carrier eligible to receive CAF ICC Support subsequently may elect at any time not to receive such funding. Once it makes the election not to receive CAFF ICC Support, it may not elect to receive such funding at a later date.


(2) Beginning July 1, 2012, a Price Cap Carrier may recover any eligible recovery allowed by paragraph (d) that it could not have recovered through charges assessed pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section from CAF ICC Support pursuant to § 54.304. For this purpose, the Price Cap Carrier must impute the maximum charges it could have assessed under paragraph (e)of this section.


(3) Beginning July 1, 2017, a Price Cap Carrier may recover two-thirds (
2/3) of the amount it otherwise would have been eligible to recover under paragraph (f)(2) from CAF ICC Support.


(4) Beginning July 1, 2018, a Price Cap Carrier may recover one-third (1/3) of the amount it otherwise would have been eligible to recover under paragraph (f)(2) of this section from CAF ICC Support.


(5) Beginning July 1, 2019, a Price Cap Carrier may no longer recover any amount related to revenue recovery under this paragraph from CAF ICC Support.


(6) A Price Cap Carrier that elects to receive CAF ICC support must certify with its annual access tariff filing that it has complied with paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, and, after doing so, is eligible to receive the CAF ICC support requested pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section.


[76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 48453, Aug. 14, 2012; 78 FR 26268, May 6, 2013;79 FR 28846, May 20, 2014]


§ 51.917 Revenue recovery for Rate-of-Return Carriers.

(a) Scope. This section sets forth the extent to which Rate-of-Return Carriers may recover, through the recovery mechanism outlined in paragraphs (d) through (f) of this section, a portion of revenues lost due to rate reductions required by § 20.11(b) of this chapter, and §§ 51.705 and 51.909.


(b) Definitions.


(1) 2011 Interstate Switched Access Revenue Requirement. 2011 Interstate Switched Access Revenue Requirement means:


(i) For a Rate-of-Return Carrier that participated in the NECA 2011 annual switched access tariff filing, its projected interstate switched access revenue requirement associated with the NECA 2011 annual interstate switched access tariff filing;


(ii) For a Rate-of-Return Carrier subject to § 61.38 of this chapter that filed its own annual access tariff in 2010 and did not participate in the NECA 2011 annual switched access tariff filing, its projected interstate switched access revenue requirement in its 2010 annual interstate switched access tariff filing; and


(iii) For a Rate-of-Return Carrier subject to § 61.39 of this chapter that filed its own annual switched access tariff in 2011, its historically-determined annual interstate switched access revenue requirement filed with its 2011 annual interstate switched access tariff filing.


(2) Expected Revenues. Expected Revenues from an access service are calculated using the default transition rate for that service specified by § 51.909 and forecast demand for that service. Expected Revenues from a non-access service are calculated using the default transition rate for that service specified by § 20.11 of this chapter or § 51.705 of this chapter and forecast net demand for that service.


(3) Rate-of-Return Carrier Baseline Adjustment Factor. The Rate-of-Return Carrier Baseline Adjustment Factor, as used in calculating eligible recovery for Rate-of-Return Carriers, is equal to ninety-five (95) percent for the period beginning July 1, 2012. It is reduced by five (5) percent of its previous value in each subsequent annual tariff filing.


(4) Revenue Requirement. Revenue Requirement is equal to a carrier’s regulated operating costs plus an 11.25 percent return on a carrier’s net rate base calculated in compliance with the provisions of parts 36, 65 and 69 of this chapter. For an average schedule carrier, its Revenue Requirement shall be equal to the average schedule settlements it received from the pool, adjusted to reflect an 11.25 percent rate of return, or what it would have received if it had been a participant in the pool. If the reference is to an operating segment, these references are to the Revenue Requirement associated with that segment.


(5) True-up Adjustment. The True-up Adjustment is equal to the True-up Revenues for any particular service for the period in question.


(6) True-up Revenues. True-up Revenues from an access service are equal to (projected demand minus actual realized demand for that service) times the default transition rate for that service specified by § 51.909. True-up Revenues from a non-access service are equal to (projected demand minus actual realized net demand for that service) times the default transition rate for that service specified by § 20.11(b) of this chapter or § 51.705. Realized demand is the demand for which payment has been received, or has been made, as appropriate, by the time the true-up is made.


(7) 2011 Rate-of-Return Carrier Base Period Revenue. 2011 Rate-of-Return Carrier Base Period Revenue is the sum of:


(i) 2011 Interstate Switched Access Revenue Requirement;


(ii) Fiscal Year 2011 revenues from Transitional Intrastate Access Service received by March 31, 2012; and


(iii) Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation revenues received by March 31, 2012, less Fiscal Year 2011 reciprocal compensation payments paid and/or payable by March 31, 2012


(c) Adjustment for Access Stimulation activity. 2011 Rate-of-Return Carrier Base Period Revenue shall be adjusted to reflect the removal of any increases in revenue requirement or revenues resulting from Access Stimulation activity the Rate-of-Return Carrier engaged in during the relevant measuring period. A Rate-of-Return Carrier should make this adjustment for its initial July 1, 2012, tariff filing, but the adjustment may result from a subsequent Commission or court ruling.


(d) Eligible Recovery for Rate-of-Return Carriers. (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of the Commission’s rules, a Rate-of-Return Carrier may recover the amounts specified in this paragraph through the mechanisms described in paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section.


(i) Beginning July 1, 2012, a Rate-of-Return Carrier’s eligible recovery will be equal to the 2011 Rate-of-Return Carrier Base Period Revenue multiplied by the Rate-of-Return Carrier Baseline Adjustment Factor less:


(A) The Expected Revenues from Transitional Intrastate Access Service for the year beginning July 1, 2012, reflecting forecasted demand multiplied by the rates in the rate transition contained in § 51.909;


(B) The Expected Revenues from interstate switched access for the year beginning July 1, 2012, reflecting forecasted demand multiplied by the rates in the rate transition contained in § 51.909; and


(C) Expected Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues for the year beginning July 1, 2012 using the target methodology required by § 51.705.


(ii) Beginning July 1, 2013, a Rate-of-Return Carrier’s eligible recovery will be equal to the 2011 Rate-of-Return Carrier Base Period Revenue multiplied by the Rate-of-Return Carrier Baseline Adjustment Factor less:


(A) The Expected Revenues from Transitional Intrastate Access Service for the year beginning July 1, 2013, reflecting forecasted demand multiplied by the rates in the rate transition contained in § 51.909;


(B) The Expected Revenues from interstate switched access for the year beginning July 1, 2013, reflecting forecasted demand multiplied by the rates in the rate transition contained in § 51.909; and


(C) Expected Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues for the year beginning July 1, 2013 using the target methodology required by § 51.705.


(iii) Beginning July 1, 2014, a Rate-of-Return Carrier’s eligible recovery will be equal to the 2011 Rate-of-Return Carrier Base Period Revenue multiplied by the Rate-of-Return Carrier Baseline Adjustment Factor less:


(A) The Expected Revenues from Transitional Intrastate Access Service for the year beginning July 1, 2014, reflecting forecasted demand multiplied by the rates in the rate transition contained in § 51.909 (including the reduction in intrastate End Office Switched Access Service rates), adjusted to reflect the True-Up Adjustment for Transitional Intrastate Access Service for the year beginning July 1, 2012;


(B) The Expected Revenues from interstate switched access for the year beginning July 1, 2014, reflecting forecasted demand multiplied by the rates in the rate transition contained in § 51.909, adjusted to reflect the True-Up Adjustment for Interstate Switched Access for the year beginning July 1, 2012; and


(C) Expected Net Reciprocal Compensation Revenues for the year beginning July 1, 2014 using the target methodology required by § 51.705, adjusted to reflect the True-Up Adjustment for Reciprocal Compensation for the year beginning July 1, 2012.


(D) An amount equal to True-up Revenues for Access Recovery Charges for the year beginning July 1, 2012 multiplied by negative one.


(iv) Beginning July 1, 2015, and for all subsequent years, a Rate-of-Return Carrier’s eligible recovery will be calculated by updating the procedures set forth in paragraph (d)(1)(iii) of this section for the period beginning July 1, 2014, to reflect the passage of an additional year in each subsequent year.


(v) If a Rate-of-Return Carrier receives payments for intrastate or interstate switched access services or for Access Recovery Charges after the period used to measure the adjustments to reflect the differences between estimated and actual revenues, it shall treat such payments as actual revenue in the year the payment is received and shall reflect this as an additional adjustment for that year.


(vi) If a Rate-of-Return Carrier receives or makes reciprocal compensation payments after the period used to measure the adjustments to reflect the differences between estimated and actual net reciprocal compensation revenues, it shall treat such amounts as actual revenues or payments in the year the payment is received or made and shall reflect this as an additional adjustment for that year.


(vii) If a Rate-of-Return Carrier recovers any costs or revenues that are already being recovered as Eligible Recovery through Access Recovery Charges or the Connect America Fund from another source, that carrier’s ability to recover reduced switched access revenue from Access Recovery Charges or the Connect America Fund shall be reduced to the extent it receives duplicative recovery. Any duplicative recovery shall be reflected as a reduction to a carrier’s Eligible Recovery calculated pursuant to § 51.917(d). A Rate-of-Return Carrier seeking revenue recovery must annually certify as part of its tariff filings to the Commission and to the relevant state commission that the carrier is not seeking duplicative recovery in the state jurisdiction for any Eligible Recovery subject to the recovery mechanism.


(viii)(A) If a Rate-of-Return Carrier in any tariff period underestimates its projected demand for services covered by § 51.917(b)(6) or 51.915(b)(13), and thus has too much Eligible Recovery in that tariff period, it shall refund the amount of any such True-up Revenues or True-up Revenues for Access Recovery Charge that are not offset by the Rate-of-Return Carrier’s Eligible Recovery (calculated before including the true-up amounts in the Eligible Recovery calculation) in the true-up tariff period to the Administrator by August 1 following the date of the Rate-of-Return Carrier’s annual access tariff filing.


(B) If a Rate-of-Return Carrier in any tariff period receives too little Eligible Recovery because it overestimates its projected demand for services covered by § 51.917(b)(6) or 51.915(b)(13), which True-up Revenues and True-up Revenues for Access Recovery Charge it cannot recover in the true-up tariff period because the Rate-of-Return Carrier has a negative Eligible Recovery in the true-up tariff period (before calculating the true-up amount in the Eligible Recovery calculation), the Rate-of-Return Carrier shall treat the unrecoverable true-up amount as its Eligible Recovery for the true-up tariff period.


(e) Access Recovery Charge. (1) A charge that is expressed in dollars and cents per line per month may be assessed upon end users that may be assessed a subscriber line charge pursuant to § 69.104 of this chapter, to the extent necessary to allow the Rate-of-Return Carrier to recover some or all of its Eligible Recovery determined pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section, subject to the caps described in paragraph (e)(6) of this section. A Rate-of-Return Carrier may elect to forgo charging some or all of the Access Recovery Charge.


(2) Total Access Recovery Charges calculated by multiplying the tariffed Access Recovery Charge by the projected demand for the year may not recover more than the amount of eligible recovery calculated pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section for the year beginning on July 1.


(3) For the purposes of this section, a Rate-of-Return Carrier holding company includes all of its wholly-owned operating companies. A Rate-of-Return Carrier Holding Company may recover the eligible recovery attributable to any Rate-of-Return study areas operated by its wholly-owned operating companies that are Rate-of-Return incumbent local exchange carriers through assessments of the Access Recovery Charge on end users in any Rate-of-Return study areas operated by its wholly-owned operating companies that are Rate-of-Return incumbent local exchange carriers.


(4) Distribution of Access Recovery Charges among lines of different types


(i) A Rate-of-Return Carrier that does not receive ICC-replacement CAF support (whether because they elect not to or because they do not have sufficient eligible recovery after the Access Recovery Charge is assessed or imputed) may not recover a higher ratio of its total revenue recovery from Access Recovery Charges assessed on Residential and Single Line Business lines than the following ratio (using holding company lines):


(A) The number of Residential and Single-Line Business lines assessed an End User Common Line charge (excluding Lifeline Customers), divided by


(B) The sum of the number of Residential and Single-Line Business lines assessed an End User Common Line charge (excluding Lifeline Customers), and two (2) times the number of End User Common Line charges assessed on Multi-Line Business customers.


(5) For purposes of this subpart, Residential and Single Line Business lines are lines (other than lines of Lifeline Customers) assessed the residential and single line business end user common line charge.


(i) For purposes of this subpart, Multi-Line Business Lines are lines assessed the multi-line business end user common line charge.


(ii) [Reserved]


(6) Per-line caps and other limitations on Access Recovery Charges. (i) For each line other than lines of Lifeline Customers assessed a primary residential or single-line business end user common line charge pursuant to § 69.104 of this chapter, a Rate-of-Return Carrier may assess an Access Recovery Charge as follows:


(A) Beginning July 1, 2012, a maximum of $0.50 per month for each line;


(B) Beginning July 1, 2013, a maximum of $1.00 per month for each line;


(C) Beginning July 1, 2014, a maximum of $1.50 per month for each line;


(D) Beginning July 1, 2015, a maximum of $2.00 per month for each line;


(E) Beginning July 1, 2016, a maximum of $2.50 per month for each line; and


(F) Beginning July 1, 2017, a maximum of $3.00 per month for each line.


(ii) For each line assessed a multi-line business end user common line charge pursuant to § 69.104 of this chapter, a Rate-of-Return Carrier may assess an Access Recovery Charge as follows:


(A) Beginning July 1, 2012, a maximum of $1.00 per month for each multi-line business end user common line charge assessed;


(B) Beginning July 1, 2013, a maximum of $2.00 per month for each multi-line business end user common line charge assessed;


(C) Beginning July 1, 2014, a maximum of $3.00 per month for each multi-line business end user common line charge assessed;


(D) Beginning July 1, 2015, a maximum of $4.00 per month for each multi-line business end user common line charge assessed;


(E) Beginning July 1, 2016, a maximum of $5.00 per month for each multi-line business end user common line charge assessed; and


(F) Beginning July 1, 2017, a maximum of $6.00 per month for each multi-line business end user common line charge assessed.


(iii) The Access Recovery Charge allowed by paragraph (e)(6)(i) of this section may not be assessed to the extent that its assessment would bring the total of the Rate Ceiling Component Charges above the Residential Rate Ceiling. This limitation does not apply to single-line business customers.


(iv) The Access Recovery Charge allowed by paragraph (e)(6)(ii) of this section may not be assessed to the extent that its assessment would bring the total of the multi-line business end user common line charge and the Access Recovery Charge above $12.20 per line.


(v) The Access Recovery Charge may not be assessed on lines of Lifeline Customers.


(vi) If in any year, the Rate of return carriers’ Access Recovery Charge is not at its maximum, the succeeding year’s Access Recovery Charge may not increase more than $0.50 per line for charges under paragraph (e)(6)(i) of this section or $1.00 per line for charges assessed under paragraph (e)(6)(ii) of this section.


(vii) A Price Cap Carrier with study areas that are subject to rate-of-return regulation shall recover its eligible recovery for such study areas through the recovery procedures specified in this section. For that purpose, the provisions of paragraph (e)(3) of this section shall apply to the rate-of-return study areas if the applicable conditions in paragraph (e)(3) of this section are met.


(f) Rate-of-Return Carrier eligibility for CAF ICC Recovery. (1) A Rate-of-Return Carrier shall elect in its July 1, 2012 access tariff filing whether it will receive CAF ICC Support under this paragraph. A Rate-of-Return Carrier eligible to receive CAF ICC Support subsequently may elect at any time not to receive such funding. Once it makes the election not to receive CAF ICC Support, it may not elect to receive such funding at a later date.


(2) Beginning July 1, 2012, a Rate-of-Return Carrier may recover any eligible recovery allowed by paragraph (d) of this section that it could not have recovered through charges assessed pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section from CAF ICC Support pursuant to § 54.304. For this purpose, the Rate-of-Return Carrier must impute the maximum charges it could have assessed under paragraph (e) of this section.


(3) A Rate-of-Return Carrier that elects to receive CAF ICC support must certify with its annual access tariff filing that it has complied with paragraphs (d) and (e), and, after doing so, is eligible to receive the CAF ICC support requested pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section.


(4) Except as provided in paragraph (f)(5) of this section, a Rate-of-Return Carrier must impute an amount equal to the Access Recovery Charge for each Consumer Broadband-Only Loop line that receives support pursuant to § 54.901 of this chapter, with the imputation applied before CAF-ICC recovery is determined.

The per line per month imputation amount shall be equal to the Access Recovery Charge amount prescribed by paragraph (e) of this section, consistent with the residential or single-line business or multi-line business status of the retail customer.


(5) Notwithstanding paragraph (f)(4) of this section, commencing July 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2023, the maximum total dollar amount a carrier must impute on supported consumer broadband-only loops is limited as follows:


(i) For the affected tariff year, the carrier shall compare the amounts in paragraphs (f)(5)(i)(A) and (B) of this section.


(A) The sum of the revenues from projected Access Recovery Charges assessed pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section, any amounts imputed pursuant to paragraph (f)(2) of this section, and any imputation pursuant to paragraph (f)(4) of this section.


(B) The sum of the revenues from Access Recovery Charges assessed pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section and any amounts imputed pursuant to paragraph (f)(2) of this section for tariff year 2015-16, after being trued-up.


(ii) If the amount determined in paragraph (f)(5)(i)(A) of this section is greater than the amount determined in paragraph (f)(5)(i)(B), the sum of the revenues from projected Access Recovery Charges assessed pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section and any amounts imputed pursuant to paragraph (f)(2) of this section for the affected year must be compared to the amount determined in paragraph (f)(5)(ii)(B) of this section.


(A) If the former amount is greater than the latter amount, no imputation is made on Consumer Broadband-Only Loops.


(B) If the former amount is equal to or less than the latter amount, the imputation on Consumer Broadband-Only Loops is limited to the difference between the two amounts.


[76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 14302, Mar. 9, 2012; 78 FR 26268, May 6, 2013; 79 FR 28847, May 20, 2014; 80 FR 15909, Mar. 26, 2015; 81 FR 24337, Apr. 25, 2016; 83 FR 14189, Apr. 3, 2018; 84 FR 57651, Oct. 28, 2019]


§ 51.919 Reporting and monitoring.

(a) A Price Cap Carrier that elects to participate in the recovery mechanism outlined in § 51.915 shall, beginning in 2012, file with the Commission the data consistent with Section XIII (f)(3) of FCC 11-161 with its annual access tariff filing.


(b) A Rate-of-Return Carrier that elects to participate in the recovery mechanism outlined in § 51.917 shall file with the Commission the data consistent with Section XIII (f)(3) of FCC 11-161 with its annual interstate access tariff filing, or on the date such a filing would have been required if it had been required to file in that year.



Effective Date Note:At 76 FR 73856, Nov. 29, 2011, § 51.919 was added. This section contains information collection and recordkeeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

PART 52 – NUMBERING


Authority:47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 201-205, 207-209, 218, 225-227, 251-252, 271, 303, 332, unless otherwise noted.


Source:61 FR 38637, July 25, 1996, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – Scope and Authority


Source:61 FR 47353, Sept. 6, 1996, unless otherwise noted.

§ 52.1 Basis and purpose.

(a) Basis. These rules are issued pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151 et. seq.


(b) Purpose. The purpose of these rules is to establish, for the United States, requirements and conditions for the administration and use of telecommunications numbers for provision of telecommunications services.


§ 52.3 General.

The Commission shall have exclusive authority over those portions of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) that pertain to the United States. The Commission may delegate to the States or other entities any portion of such jurisdiction.


§ 52.5 Definitions.

(a) Incumbent local exchange carrier. With respect to an area, an “incumbent local exchange carrier” is a local exchange carrier that:


(1) On February 8, 1996, provided telephone exchange service in such area; and


(2)(i) On February 8, 1996, was deemed to be a member of the exchange carrier Association pursuant to § 69.601(b) of this chapter (47 CFR 69.601(b)); or


(ii) Is a person or entity that, on or after February 8, 1996, became a successor or assign of a member described in paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section.


(b) Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider. The term “interconnected VoIP service provider” is an entity that provides interconnected VoIP service, as that term is defined in 47 U.S.C. Section 153(25).


(c) North American Numbering Council (NANC). The “North American Numbering Council” is an advisory committee created under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C., App (1988), to advise the Commission and to make recommendations, reached through consensus, that foster efficient and impartial number administration.


(d) North American Numbering Plan (NANP). The “North American Numbering Plan” is the basic numbering scheme for the telecommunications networks located in American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Sint Maarten, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Turks & Caicos Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United States (including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).


(e) Service provider. The term “service provider” refers to a telecommunications carrier or other entity that receives numbering resources from the NANPA, a Pooling Administrator or a telecommunications carrier for the purpose of providing or establishing telecommunications service. For the purposes of this part, the term “service provider” includes an interconnected VoIP service provider.


(f) State. The term “state” includes the District of Columbia and the Territories and possessions.


(g) State commission. The term “state commission” means the commission, board, or official (by whatever name designated) which under the laws of any state has regulatory jurisdiction with respect to intrastate operations of carriers.


(h) Telecommunications. “Telecommunications” means the transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user’s choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received.


(i) Telecommunications carrier or carrier. A “telecommunications carrier” or “carrier” is any provider of telecommunications services, except that such term does not include aggregators of telecommunications services (as defined in 47 U.S.C. 226(a)(2)). For the purposes of this part, the term “telecommunications carrier” or “carrier” includes an interconnected VoIP service provider.


(j) Telecommunications service. The term “telecommunications service” refers to the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to such classes of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used. For purposes of this part, the term “telecommunications service” includes interconnected VoIP service as that term is defined in 47 U.S.C. 153(25).


[80 FR 66477, Oct. 29, 2015, as amended at 80 FR 1131, Jan. 11, 2016]


Subpart B – Administration


Source:61 FR 47353, Sept. 6, 1996, unless otherwise noted.

§ 52.7 Definitions.

As used in this subpart:


(a) Area code or numbering plan area (NPA). The term “area code or numbering plan area” refers to the first three digits (NXX) of a ten-digit telephone number in the form NXX-NXX-XXXX, where N represents any one of the numbers 2 through 9 and X represents any one of the numbers 0 through 9.


(b) Area code relief. The term “area code relief” refers to the process by which central office codes are made available when there are few or no unassigned central office codes remaining in an existing area code and a new area code is introduced. Area code relief includes planning for area code “jeopardy,” which is a situation where central office codes may become exhausted before an area code relief plan can be implemented.


(c) Central office (CO) code. The term “central office code” refers to the second three digits (NXX) of a ten-digit telephone number in the form NXX-NXX-XXXX, where N represents any one of the numbers 2 through 9 and X represents any one of the numbers 0 through 9.


(d) Central office (CO) code administrator. The term “central office code administrator” refers to the entity or entities responsible for managing central office codes in each area code.


(e) North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA). The term “North American Numbering Plan Administrator” refers to the entity or entities responsible for managing the NANP.


(f) Billing and Collection Agent. The term “Billing & Collection Agent” (“B&C Agent”) refers to the entity responsible for the collection of funds to support numbering administration for telecommunications services from the United States telecommunications industry and NANP member countries.


(g) Pooling Administrator (PA). The term “Pooling Administrator” refers to the entity or entities responsible for administering a thousands-block number pool.


(h) Contamination. Contamination occurs when at least one telephone number within a block of telephone numbers is not available for assignment to end users or customers. For purposes of this provision, a telephone number is “not available for assignment” if it is classified as administrative, aging, assigned, intermediate, or reserved as defined in § 52.15(f)(1).


(i) Donation. The term “donation” refers to the process by which carriers are required to contribute telephone numbers to a thousands-block number pool.


(j) Inventory. The term “inventory” refers to all telephone numbers distributed, assigned or allocated:


(1) To a service provider; or


(2) To a pooling administrator for the purpose of establishing or maintaining a thousands-block number pool.


[61 FR 47353, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 55180, Oct. 23, 1997; 65 FR 37707, June 16, 2000]


§ 52.9 General requirements.

(a) To ensure that telecommunications numbers are made available on an equitable basis, the administration of telecommunications numbers shall, in addition to the specific requirements set forth in this subpart:


(1) Facilitate entry into the telecommunications marketplace by making telecommunications numbering resources available on an efficient, timely basis to telecommunications carriers;


(2) Not unduly favor or disfavor any particular telecommunications industry segment or group of telecommunications consumers; and


(3) Not unduly favor one telecommunications technology over another.


(b) If the Commission delegates any telecommunications numbering administration functions to any State or other entity pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 251(e)(1), such State or entity shall perform these functions in a manner consistent with this part.


§ 52.11 North American Numbering Council.

The duties of the North American Numbering Council (NANC), may include, but are not limited to:


(a) Advising the Commission on policy matters relating to the administration of the NANP in the United States;


(b) Making recommendations, reached through consensus, that foster efficient and impartial number administration;


(c) Initially resolving disputes, through consensus, that foster efficient and impartial number administration in the United States by adopting and utilizing dispute resolution procedures that provide disputants, regulators, and the public notice of the matters at issue, a reasonable opportunity to make oral and written presentations, a reasoned recommended solution, and a written report summarizing the recommendation and the reasons therefore;


(d) [Reserved]


(e) Recommending to the Commission an appropriate mechanism for recovering the costs of NANP administration in the United States, consistent with § 52.17;


(f) Carrying out the duties described in § 52.25; and


(g) Carrying out this part as directed by the Commission;


(h) Monitoring the performance of the NANPA and the B&C Agent on at least an annual basis; and


(i) Implementing, at the direction of the Commission, any action necessary to correct identified problems with the performance of the NANPA and the B&C Agent, as deemed necessary.


[61 FR 47353, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 55180, Oct. 23, 1997; 71 FR 65750, Nov. 9, 2006]


§ 52.12 North American Numbering Plan Administrator and B&C Agent.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (“NANPA”) and the associated “B&C Agent” will conduct their respective operations in accordance with this section. The NANPA and the B&C Agent will conduct their respective operations with oversight from the Federal Communications Commission (the “Commission”) and with recommendations from the North American Numbering Council (“NANC”).


(a)(1) Neutrality. The NANPA and the B&C Agent shall be non-governmental entities that are impartial and not aligned with any particular telecommunication industry segment. Accordingly, while conducting their respective operations under this section, the NANPA and B&C Agent shall ensure that they comply with the following neutrality criteria:


(i) The NANPA and B&C Agent may not be an affiliate of any telecommunications service provider(s) as defined in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, or an affiliate of any interconnected VoIP provider as that term is defined in § 52.21(h). “Affiliate” is a person who controls, is controlled by, or is under the direct or indirect common control with another person. A person shall be deemed to control another if such person possesses, directly or indirectly –


(A) An equity interest by stock, partnership (general or limited) interest, joint venture participation, or member interest in the other person ten (10%) percent or more of the total outstanding equity interests in the other person, or


(B) The power to vote ten (10%) percent or more of the securities (by stock, partnership (general or limited) interest, joint venture participation, or member interest) having ordinary voting power for the election of directors, general partner, or management of such other person, or


(C) The power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of such other person, whether through the ownership of or right to vote voting rights attributable to the stock, partnership (general or limited) interest, joint venture participation, or member interest) of such other person, by contract (including but not limited to stockholder agreement, partnership (general or limited) agreement, joint venture agreement, or operating agreement), or otherwise;


(ii) The NANPA and B&C Agent, and any affiliate thereof, may not issue a majority of its debt to, nor may it derive a majority of its revenues from, any telecommunications service provider. “Majority” shall mean greater than 50 percent, and “debt” shall mean stocks, bonds, securities, notes, loans or any other instrument of indebtedness; and


(iii) Notwithstanding the neutrality criteria set forth in paragraphs (a)(1) (i) and (ii) of this section, the NANPA and B&C Agent may be determined to be or not to be subject to undue influence by parties with a vested interest in the outcome of numbering administration and activities. NANC may conduct an evaluation to determine whether the NANPA and B&C Agent meet the undue influence criterion.


(2) Any subcontractor that performs –


(i) NANP administration and central office code administration, or


(ii) Billing and Collection functions, for the NANPA or for the B&C Agent must also meet the neutrality criteria described in paragraph (a)(1).


(b) Term of administration. The NANPA shall provide numbering administration, including central office code administration, for the United States portion of the North American Numbering Plan (“NANP”) for an initial period of five (5) years. At any time prior to the termination of the initial or subsequent term of administration, such term may be renewed for up to five (5) years with the approval of the Commission and the agreement of the NANPA. The B&C Agent shall provide billing and collection functions for an initial period of five (5) years. At any time prior to the termination of the initial or subsequent term of administration, such term may be renewed for up to five (5) years with the approval of the Commission and the agreement of the B&C Agent.


(c) Changes to regulations, rules, guidelines or directives. In the event that regulatory authorities or industry groups (including, for example, the Industry Numbering Committee – INC, or its successor) issue rules, requirements, guidelines or policy directives which may affect the functions performed by the NANPA and the B&C Agent, the NANPA and the B&C Agent shall, within 10 business days from the date of official notice of such rules, requirements, guidelines or policy directives, assess the impact on its operations and advise the Commission of any changes required. NANPA and the B&C Agent shall provide written explanation why such changes are required. To the extent the Commission deems such changes are necessary, the Commission will recommend to the NANP member countries appropriate cost recovery adjustments, if necessary.


(d) Performance review process. NANPA and the B&C Agent shall develop and implement an internal, documented performance monitoring mechanism and shall provide such performance review on request of the Commission on at least an annual basis. The annual assessment process will not preclude telecommunications industry participants from identifying performance problems to the NANPA, the B&C Agent and the NANC as they occur, and from seeking expeditious resolution. If performance problems are identified by a telecommunications industry participant, the NANC, B&C Agent or NANPA shall investigate and report within 10 business days of notice to the participant of corrective action, if any, taken or to be taken. The NANPA, B&C Agent or NANC (as appropriate) shall be permitted reasonable time to take corrective action, including the necessity of obtaining the required consent of the Commission.


(e) Termination. If the Commission determines at any time that the NANPA or the B&C Agent fails to comply with the neutrality criteria set forth in paragraph (a) of this section or substantially or materially defaults in the performance of its obligations, the Commission shall advise immediately the NANPA or the B&C Agent of said failure or default, request immediate corrective action, and permit the NANPA or B&C Agent reasonable time to correct such failure or default. If the NANPA or B&C Agent is unwilling or unable to take corrective action, the Commission may, in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, take any action that it deems appropriate, including termination of the NANPA’s or B&C Agent’s term of administration.


(f) Required and optional enterprise services. Enterprise Services, which are services beyond those described in § 52.13 that may be provided by the new NANPA for specified fees, may be offered with prior approval of the Commission.


(1) Required Enterprise Services. At the request of a code holder, the NANPA shall, in accordance with industry standards and for reasonable fees, enter certain routing and rating information, into the industry-approved database(s) for dissemination of such information. This task shall include reviewing the information and assisting in its preparation.


(2) Optional Enterprise Services. The NANPA may, subject to prior approval and for reasonable fees, offer “Optional Enterprise Services” which are any services not described elsewhere in this section.


(3) Annual report. NANPA shall identify and record all direct costs associated with providing Enterprise Services separately from the costs associated with the non-enterprise NANPA functions. The NANPA shall submit an annual report to the NANC summarizing the revenues and costs for providing each Enterprise Service. NANPA shall be audited by an independent auditor after the first year of operations and every two years thereafter, and submit the report to the Commission for appropriate review and action.


[63 FR 55180, Oct. 23, 1997, as amended at 73 FR 9481, Feb. 21, 2008]


§ 52.13 North American Numbering Plan Administrator.

(a) The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) shall be an independent and impartial non-government entity.


(b) The NANPA shall administer the numbering resources identified in paragraph (d) of this section. It shall assign and administer NANP resources in an efficient, effective, fair, unbiased, and non-discriminatory manner consistent with industry-developed guidelines and Commission regulations. It shall support the Commission’s efforts to accommodate current and future numbering needs. It shall perform additional functions, including but not limited to:


(1) Ensuring the efficient and effective administration and assignment of numbering resources by performing day-to-day number resource assignment and administrative activities;


(2) Planning for the long-term need for NANP resources to ensure the continued viability of the NANP by implementing a plan for number resource administration that uses effective forecasting and management skills in order to make the industry aware of the availability of numbering resources and to meet the current and future needs of the industry;


(3) Complying with guidelines of the North American Industry Numbering Committee (INC) or its successor, related industry documentation, Commission regulations and orders, and the guidelines of other appropriate policy-making authorities;


(4) Providing management supervision for all of the services it provides, including responsibility for achieving performance measures established by the NANC and the INC in industry guidelines;


(5) Participating in the NANC annual performance review as described in §§ 52.11 and 52.12;


(6) Establishing and maintaining relationships with current governmental and regulatory bodies, and their successors, including the United States Federal Communications Commission, Industry Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, and other United States, Canadian, and Caribbean numbering authorities and regulatory agencies, and addressing policy directives from these bodies;


(7) Cooperating with and actively participating in numbering standards bodies and industry fora, such as INC and, upon request, the Canadian Steering Committee on Numbering (CSCN);


(8) Representing the NANP to national and international numbering bodies;


(9) Developing and maintaining communications channels with other countries who also participate in the NANP to ensure that numbering needs of all countries served by the NANP are met;


(10) Attending United States Study Group A meetings and maintaining a working knowledge of Study Group 2 International Telecommunications Union activities on behalf of the United States telecommunications industry;


(11) Reviewing requests for all numbering resources to implement new applications and services and making assignments in accordance with industry-developed resource planning and assignment guidelines;


(12) Referring requests for particular numbering resources to the appropriate industry body where guidelines do not exist for those resources;


(13) Participating in industry activities to determine whether, when new telecommunications services requiring numbers are proposed, NANP numbers are appropriate and what level of resource is required (e.g., line numbers, central office codes, NPA codes);


(14) Maintaining necessary administrative staff to handle the legal, financial, technical, staffing, industry, and regulatory issues relevant to the management of all numbering resources, as well as maintaining the necessary equipment, facilities, and proper billing arrangements associated with day-to-day management of all numbering resources;


(15) Managing the NANP in accordance with published guidelines adopted in conjunction with the industry and the appropriate NANP member countries’ governing agencies, and referring issues to the appropriate industry body for resolution when they have not been addressed by the industry;


(16) Responding to requests from the industry and from regulators for information about the NANP and its administration, as the primary repository for numbering information in the industry;


(17) Providing upon request information regarding how to obtain current documents related to NANP administration;


(18) Providing assistance to users of numbering resources and suggesting numbering administration options, when possible, that will optimize number resource utilization;


(19) Coordinating its numbering resource activities with the Canadian Number Administrator and other NANP member countries’ administrators to ensure efficient and effective management of NANP numbering resources; and


(20) Determining the final allocation methodology for sharing costs between NANP countries.


(c) In performing the functions outlined in paragraph (b) of this section, the NANPA shall:


(1) Ensure that the interests of all NANP member countries are considered;


(2) Assess fairly requests for assignments of NANP numbering resources and ensure the assignment of numbering resources to appropriate service providers;


(3) Develop, operate and maintain the computer hardware, software (database) and mechanized systems required to perform the NANPA and central office (CO) Code Administration functions;


(4) Manage projects such as Numbering Plan Area (NPA) relief (area code relief) planning, Numbering Resource Utilization and Forecast (NRUF) data collection, and NPA and NANP exhaust projection;


(5) Facilitate NPA relief planning meetings;


(6) Participate in appropriate industry activities;


(7) Manage proprietary data and competitively sensitive information and maintain the confidentiality thereof;


(8) Act as an information resource for the industry concerning all aspects of numbering (i.e., knowledge and experience in numbering resource issues, International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Recommendation E.164, the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), NANP Administration, INC, NANP area country regulatory issues affecting numbering, number resource assignment guidelines, central office code administration, relief planning, international numbering issues, etc.); and


(9) Ensure that any action taken with respect to number administration is consistent with this part.


(d) The NANPA and, to the extent applicable, the B&C Agent, shall administer numbering resources in an efficient and non-discriminatory manner, in accordance with Commission rules and regulations and the guidelines developed by the INC and other industry groups pertaining to administration and assignment of numbering resources, including, but not limited to:


(1) Numbering Plan Area (NPA) codes,


(2) Central Office codes for the 809 area,


(3) International Inbound NPA 456 NXX codes,


(4) (NPA) 500 NXX codes,


(5) (NPA) 900 NXX codes,


(6) N11 Service codes,


(7) 855-XXXX line numbers,


(8) 555-XXXX line numbers,


(9) Carrier Identification Codes,


(10) Vertical Service Codes,


(11) ANI Information Integer (II) Digit Pairs,


(12) Non Dialable Toll Points, and


(13) New numbering resources as may be defined.


(e) Relationships with other NANP member countries’ administrators and authorities. The NANPA shall address policy directives from other NANP member countries’ governmental and regulatory authorities and coordinate its activities with other NANP member countries’ administrators, if any, to ensure efficient and effective management of NANP resources.


(f) Transition plan. The NANPA shall implement a transition plan, subject to Commission approval, leading to its assumption of NANPA functions within 90 days of the effective date of a Commission order announcing the selection of the NANPA.


(g) Transfer of intellectual property. The new NANPA must make available any and all intellectual property and associated hardware resulting from its activities as numbering administrator including, but not limited to, systems and the data contained therein, software, interface specifications and supporting documentation and make such property available to whomever NANC directs free of charge. The new NANPA must specify any intellectual property it proposes to exclude from the provisions of this paragraph based on the existence of such property prior to its selection as NANPA.


[61 FR 47353, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 55181, Oct. 23, 1997; 71 FR 65750, Nov. 9, 2006]


§ 52.15 Central office code administration.

(a) Central Office Code Administration shall be performed by the NANPA, or another entity or entities, as designated by the Commission.


(b) Duties of the entity or entities performing central office code administration may include, but are not limited to:


(1) Processing central office code assignment applications and assigning such codes in a manner that is consistent with this part;


(2) Accessing and maintaining central office code assignment databases;


(3) Conducting the Numbering Resource Utilization and Forecast (NRUF) data collection;


(4) Monitoring the use of central office codes within each area code and forecasting the date by which all central office codes within that area code will be assigned; and


(5) Planning for and initiating area code relief, consistent with § 52.19.


(c) [Reserved]


(d) Central Office (CO) Code Administration functional requirements. The NANPA shall manage the United States CO code numbering resource, including CO code request processing, NPA code relief and jeopardy planning, and industry notification functions. The NANPA shall perform its CO Code administration functions in accordance with the published industry numbering resource administration guidelines and Commission orders and regulations of 47 CFR chapter I.


(e) [Reserved]


(f) Mandatory reporting requirements – (1) Number use categories. Numbering resources must be classified in one of the following categories:


(i) Administrative numbers are numbers used by telecommunications carriers to perform internal administrative or operational functions necessary to maintain reasonable quality of service standards.


(ii) Aging numbers are disconnected numbers that are not available for assignment to another end user or customer for a specified period of time. Numbers previously assigned to residential customers may be aged for no less than 45 days and no more than 90 days. Numbers previously assigned to business customers may be aged for no less than 45 days and no more than 365 days.


(iii) Assigned numbers are numbers working in the Public Switched Telephone Network under an agreement such as a contract or tariff at the request of specific end users or customers for their use, or numbers not yet working but having a customer service order pending. Numbers that are not yet working and have a service order pending for more than five days shall not be classified as assigned numbers.


(iv) Available numbers are numbers that are available for assignment to subscriber access lines, or their equivalents, within a switching entity or point of interconnection and are not classified as assigned, intermediate, administrative, aging, or reserved.


(v) Intermediate numbers are numbers that are made available for use by another telecommunications carrier or non-carrier entity for the purpose of providing telecommunications service to an end user or customer. Numbers ported for the purpose of transferring an established customer’s service to another service provider shall not be classified as intermediate numbers.


(vi) Reserved numbers are numbers that are held by service providers at the request of specific end users or customers for their future use. Numbers held for specific end users or customers for more than 180 days shall not be classified as reserved numbers.


(2) Reporting carrier. The term “reporting carrier” refers to a telecommunications carrier that receives numbering resources from the NANPA, a Pooling Administrator or another telecommunications carrier.


(3) Data collection procedures. (i) Reporting carriers shall report utilization and forecast data to the NANPA.


(ii) Reporting shall be by separate legal entity and must include company name, company headquarters address, Operating Company Number (OCN), parent company OCN, and the primary type of business in which the reporting carrier is engaged. The term “parent company” refers to the highest related legal entity located within the state for which the reporting carrier is reporting data.


(iii) All data shall be filed electronically in a format approved by the Common Carrier Bureau.


(4) Forecast data reporting. (i) Reporting carriers shall submit to the NANPA a five-year forecast of their yearly numbering resource requirements.


(ii) In areas where thousands-block number pooling has been implemented:


(A) Reporting carriers that are required to participate in thousands-block number pooling shall report forecast data at the thousands-block (NXX-X) level per rate center;


(B) Reporting carriers that are not required to participate in thousands-block number pooling shall report forecast data at the central office code (NXX) level per rate center.


(iii) In areas where thousands-block number pooling has not been implemented, reporting carriers shall report forecast data at the central office code (NXX) level per NPA.


(iv) Reporting carriers shall identify and report separately initial numbering resources and growth numbering resources.


(5) Utilization data reporting. (i) Reporting carriers shall submit to the NANPA a utilization report of their current inventory of numbering resources. The report shall classify numbering resources in the following number use categories: assigned, intermediate, reserved, aging, and administrative.


(ii) Rural telephone companies, as defined in the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 153(37), that provide telecommunications service in areas where local number portability has not been implemented shall report utilization data at the central office code (NXX) level per rate center in those areas.


(iii) All other reporting carriers shall report utilization data at the thousands-block (NXX-X) level per rate center.


(6) Reporting frequency. (i) Reporting carriers shall file forecast and utilization reports semi-annually on or before February 1 for the preceding reporting period ending on December 31, and on or before August 1 for the preceding reporting period ending on June 30. Mandatory reporting shall commence August 1, 2000.


(ii) State commissions may reduce the reporting frequency for NPAs in their states to annual. Reporting carriers operating in such NPAs shall file forecast and utilization reports annually on or before August 1 for the preceding reporting period ending on June 30, commencing August 1, 2000.


(iii) A state commission seeking to reduce the reporting frequency pursuant to paragraph (f) (6)(ii) of this section shall notify the Wireline Competition Bureau and the NANPA in writing prior to reducing the reporting frequency.


(7) Access to data and confidentiality – States shall have access to data reported to the NANPA provided that they have appropriate protections in place to prevent public disclosure of disaggregated, carrier-specific data.


(8) Reports of Permanently Disconnected Numbers – Reporting carriers must report information regarding NANP numbers in accordance with § 64.1200(l) of this title.


(g) Applications for numbering resources


(1) General requirements. An applicant for numbering resources must include in its application the applicant’s company name, company headquarters address, OCN, parent company’s OCN(s), and the primary type of business in which the numbering resources will be used.


(2) Initial numbering resources. An applicant for initial numbering resources must include in its application evidence that the applicant is authorized to provide service in the area for which the numbering resources are requested; and that the applicant is or will be capable of providing service within sixty (60) days of the numbering resources activation date. A provider of VoIP Positioning Center (VPC) services that is unable to demonstrate authorization to provide service in a state may instead demonstrate that the state does not certify VPC service providers in order to request pseudo-Automatic Numbering Identification (p-ANI) codes directly from the Numbering Administrators for purposes of providing 911 and E-911 service.


(3) Commission authorization process. A provider of interconnected VoIP service may show a Commission authorization obtained pursuant to this paragraph as evidence that it is authorized to provide service under paragraph (g)(2) of this section.


(i) Contents of the application for interconnected VoIP provider numbering authorization. An application for authorization must reference this section and must contain the following:


(A) The applicant’s name, address, and telephone number, and contact information for personnel qualified to address issues relating to regulatory requirements, compliance with Commission’s rules, 911, and law enforcement;


(B) An acknowledgment that the authorization granted under this paragraph is subject to compliance with applicable Commission numbering rules; numbering authority delegated to the states; and industry guidelines and practices regarding numbering as applicable to telecommunications carriers;


(C) An acknowledgement that the applicant must file requests for numbers with the relevant state commission(s) at least 30 days before requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators;


(D) Proof that the applicant is or will be capable of providing service within sixty (60) days of the numbering resources activation date in accordance with paragraph (g)(2) of this section;


(E) Certification that the applicant complies with its Universal Service Fund contribution obligations under 47 CFR part 54, subpart H, its Telecommunications Relay Service contribution obligations under 47 CFR 64.604(c)(5)(iii), its NANP and LNP administration contribution obligations under 47 CFR 52.17 and 52.32, its obligations to pay regulatory fees under 47 CFR 1.1154, and its 911 obligations under 47 CFR part 9; and


(F) Certification that the applicant possesses the financial, managerial, and technical expertise to provide reliable service. This certification must include the name of applicant’s key management and technical personnel, such as the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Technology Officer, or equivalent, and state that none of the identified personnel are being or have been investigated by the Federal Communications Commission or any law enforcement or regulatory agency for failure to comply with any law, rule, or order; and


(G) Certification pursuant to Sections 1.2001 and 1.2002 of this chapter that no party to the application is subject to a denial of Federal benefits pursuant to section 5301 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. See 21 U.S.C. 862.


(ii) An applicant for Commission authorization under this section must file its application electronically through the “Submit a Non-Docketed Filing” module of the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). Once the Commission reviews the application and assigns a docket number, the applicant must make all subsequent filings relating to its application in this docket. Parties may file comments addressing an application for authorization no later than 15 days after the Commission releases a public notice stating that the application has been accepted for filing, unless the public notice specifies a different filing date.


(iii) An application under this section is deemed granted by the Commission on the 31st day after the Commission releases a public notice stating that the application has been accepted for filing, unless the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) notifies the applicant that the grant will not be automatically effective. The Bureau may halt this auto-grant process if;


(A) An applicant fails to respond promptly to Commission inquiries,


(B) An application is associated with a non-routine request for waiver of the Commission’s rules,


(C) Timely-filed comments on the application raise public interest concerns that require further Commission review, or


(D) The Bureau determines that the application requires further analysis to determine whether granting the application serves the public interest. The Commission reserves the right to request additional information after its initial review of an application.


(iv) Conditions applicable to all interconnected VoIP provider numbering authorizations. An interconnected VoIP provider authorized to request numbering resources directly from the Numbering Administrators under this section must adhere to the following requirements:


(A) Maintain the accuracy of all contact information and certifications in its application. If any contact information or certification is no longer accurate, the provider must file a correction with the Commission and each applicable state within thirty (30) days of the change of contact information or certification. The Commission may use the updated information or certification to determine whether a change in authorization status is warranted;


(B) Comply with the applicable Commission numbering rules; numbering authority delegated to the states; and industry guidelines and practices regarding numbering as applicable to telecommunications carriers;


(C) File requests for numbers with the relevant state commission(s) at least thirty (30) days before requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators;


(D) Provide accurate regulatory and numbering contact information to each state commission when requesting numbers in that state.


(4) Growth numbering resources. (i) Applications for growth numbering resources shall include:


(A) A Months-to-Exhaust Worksheet that provides utilization by rate center for the preceding six months and projected monthly utilization for the next twelve (12) months; and


(B) The applicant’s current numbering resource utilization level for the rate center in which it is seeking growth numbering resources.


(ii) The numbering resource utilization level shall be calculated by dividing all assigned numbers by the total numbering resources in the applicant’s inventory and multiplying the result by 100. Numbering resources activated in the Local Exchange Routing Guide (LERG) within the preceding 90 days of reporting utilization levels may be excluded from the utilization calculation.


(iii) All service providers shall maintain no more than a six-month inventory of telephone numbers in each rate center or service area in which it provides telecommunications service.


(iv) The NANPA shall withhold numbering resources from any U.S. carrier that fails to comply with the reporting and numbering resource application requirements established in this part. The NANPA shall not issue numbering resources to a carrier without an OCN. The NANPA must notify the carrier in writing of its decision to withhold numbering resources within ten (10) days of receiving a request for numbering resources. The carrier may challenge the NANPA’s decision to the appropriate state regulatory commission. The state commission may affirm or overturn the NANPA’s decision to withhold numbering resources from the carrier based on its determination of compliance with the reporting and numbering resource application requirements herein.


(5) Non-compliance. The NANPA shall withhold numbering resources from any U.S. carrier that fails to comply with the reporting and numbering resource application requirements established in this part. The NANPA shall not issue numbering resources to a carrier without an Operating Company Number (OCN). The NANPA must notify the carrier in writing of its decision to withhold numbering resources within ten (10) days of receiving a request for numbering resources. The carrier may challenge the NANPA’s decision to the appropriate state regulatory commission. The state commission may affirm, or may overturn, the NANPA’s decision to withhold numbering resources from the carrier based on its determination that the carrier has complied with the reporting and numbering resource application requirements herein. The state commission also may overturn the NANPA’s decision to withhold numbering resources from the carrier based on its determination that the carrier has demonstrated a verifiable need for numbering resources and has exhausted all other available remedies.


(6) State access to applications. State regulatory commissions shall have access to service provider’s applications for numbering resources. The state commissions should request copies of such applications from the service providers operating within their states, and service providers must comply with state commission requests for copies of numbering resource applications. Carriers that fail to comply with a state commission request for numbering resource application materials shall be denied numbering resources.


(h) National utilization threshold. All applicants for growth numbering resources shall achieve a 60% utilization threshold, calculated in accordance with paragraph (g)(3)(ii) of this section, for the rate center in which they are requesting growth numbering resources. This 60% utilization threshold shall increase by 5% on June 30, 2002, and annually thereafter until the utilization threshold reaches 75%.


(i) Reclamation of numbering resources. (1) Reclamation refers to the process by which service providers are required to return numbering resources to the NANPA or the Pooling Administrator.


(2) State commissions may investigate and determine whether service providers have activated their numbering resources and may request proof from all service providers that numbering resources have been activated and assignment of telephone numbers has commenced.


(3) Service providers may be required to reduce contamination levels to facilitate reclamation and/or pooling.


(4) State commissions shall provide service providers an opportunity to explain the circumstances causing the delay in activating and commencing assignment of their numbering resources prior to initiating reclamation.


(5) The NANPA and the Pooling Administrator shall abide by the state commission’s determination to reclaim numbering resources if the state commission is satisfied that the service provider has not activated and commenced assignment to end users of their numbering resources within six months of receipt.


(6) The NANPA and Pooling Administrator shall initiate reclamation within sixty days of expiration of the service provider’s applicable activation deadline.


(7) If a state commission declines to exercise the authority delegated to it in this paragraph, the entity or entities designated by the Commission to serve as the NANPA shall exercise this authority with respect to NXX codes and the Pooling Administrator shall exercise this authority with respect to thousands-blocks. The NANPA and the Pooling Administrator shall consult with the Wireline Competition Bureau prior to exercising the authority delegated to it in this provision.


(j) Sequential number assignment. (1) All service providers shall assign all available telephone numbers within an opened thousands-block before assigning telephone numbers from an uncontaminated thousands-block, unless the available numbers in the opened thousands-block are not sufficient to meet a specific customer request. This requirement shall apply to a service provider’s existing numbering resources as well as any new numbering resources it obtains in the future.


(2) A service provider that opens an uncontaminated thousands-block prior to assigning all available telephone numbers within an opened thousands-block should be prepared to demonstrate to the state commission:


(i) A genuine request from a customer detailing the specific need for telephone numbers; and


(ii) The service provider’s inability to meet the specific customer request for telephone numbers from the available numbers within the service provider’s opened thousands-blocks.


(3) Upon a finding by a state commission that a service provider inappropriately assigned telephone numbers from an uncontaminated thousands-block, the NANPA or the Pooling Administrator shall suspend assignment or allocation of any additional numbering resources to that service provider in the applicable NPA until the service provider demonstrates that it does not have sufficient numbering resources to meet a specific customer request.


(k) Numbering audits. (1) All telecommunications service providers shall be subject to “for cause” and random audits to verify carrier compliance with Commission regulations and applicable industry guidelines relating to numbering administration.


(2) The Enforcement Bureau will oversee the conduct and scope of all numbering audits conducted under the Commission’s jurisdiction, and determine the audit procedures necessary to perform the audit. Numbering audits performed by independent auditors pursuant to this section shall be conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ standards for compliance attestation engagements, as supplemented by the guidance and direction of the Chief of the Enforcement Bureau.


(3) Requests for “for cause” audits shall be forwarded to the Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, with a copy to the Chief of the Common Carrier Bureau. Requests must state the reason for which a “for cause” audit is being requested and include documentation of the alleged anomaly, inconsistency, or violation of the Commission rules or orders or applicable industry guidelines. The Chief of the Enforcement Bureau will provide carriers up to 30 days to provide a written response to a request for a “for cause” audit.


[61 FR 47353, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 55182, Oct. 23, 1997; 65 FR 37707, June 16, 2000; 66 FR 9531, Feb. 8, 2001; 67 FR 6434, Feb. 12, 2002; 67 FR 13226, Mar. 21, 2002; 68 FR 25843, May 14, 2003; 71 FR 65750, Nov. 9, 2006; 80 FR 66479, Oct. 29, 2015; 84 FR 11232, Mar. 26, 2019]


§ 52.16 Billing and Collection Agent.

The B&C Agent shall:


(a) Calculate, assess, bill and collect payments for all numbering administration functions and distribute funds to the NANPA, or other agent designated by the Common Carrier Bureau that performs functions related to numbering administration, on a monthly basis;


(b) Distribute to carriers the “Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet,” described in § 52.17(b).


(c) Keep confidential all data obtained from carriers and not disclose such data in company-specific form unless authorized by the Commission. Subject to any restrictions imposed by the Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, the B & C Agent may share data obtained from carriers with the administrators of the universal service support mechanism (See 47 CFR 54.701 of this chapter), the TRS Fund (See 47 CFR 64.604(c)(4)(iii)(H) of this chapter), and the local number portability cost recovery (See 47 CFR 52.32). The B & C Agent shall keep confidential all data obtained from other administrators. The B & C Agent shall use such data, from carriers or administrators, only for calculating, collecting and verifying payments. The Commission shall have access to all data reported to the Administrator. Contributors may make requests for Commission nondisclosure of company-specific revenue information under § 0.459 of this chapter by so indicating on the Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet at the time that the subject data are submitted. The Commission shall make all decisions regarding nondisclosure of company-specific information.


(d) Develop procedures to monitor industry compliance with reporting requirements and propose specific procedures to address reporting failures and late payments;


(e) File annual reports with the appropriate regulatory authorities of the NANP member countries as requested; and


(f) Obtain an audit from an independent auditor after the first year of operations and annually thereafter, which shall evaluate the validity of calculated payments. The B&C Agent shall submit the audit report to the Commission for appropriate review and action.


[62 FR 55183, Oct. 23, 1997, as amended at 64 FR 41330, July 30, 1999; 66 FR 9532, Feb. 8, 2001; 67 FR 13226, Mar. 21, 2002; 73 FR 9481, Feb. 21, 2008; 80 FR 66479, Oct. 29, 2015]


§ 52.17 Costs of number administration.

All telecommunications carriers in the United States shall contribute on a competitively neutral basis to meet the costs of establishing numbering administration.


(a) Contributions to support numbering administration shall be the product of the contributors’ end-user telecommunications revenues for the prior calendar year and a contribution factor determined annually by the Chief of the Common Carrier Bureau; such contributions to be no less than twenty-five dollars ($25). The contribution factor shall be based on the ratio of expected number administration expenses to end-user telecommunications revenues. Carriers that have no end-user telecommunications revenues shall contribute twenty-five dollars ($25). In the event that contributions exceed or are inadequate to cover administrative costs, the contribution factor for the following year shall be adjusted by an appropriate amount.


(b) All telecommunications carriers in the United States shall complete and submit a “Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet” (as published by the Commission in the Federal Register), which sets forth the information needed to calculate contributions referred to in paragraph (a) of this section. The worksheet shall be certified to by an officer of the contributor, and subject to verification by the Commission or the B & C Agent at the discretion of the Commission. The Chief of the Common Carrier Bureau may waive, reduce, modify, or eliminate contributor reporting requirements that prove unnecessary and require additional reporting requirements that the Bureau deems necessary to the sound and efficient administration of the number administration cost recovery.


[64 FR 41331, July 30, 1999, as amended at 73 FR 9481, Feb. 21, 2008; 80 FR 66479, Oct. 29, 2015]


§ 52.19 Area code relief.

(a) State commissions may resolve matters involving the introduction of new area codes within their states. Such matters may include, but are not limited to: Directing whether area code relief will take the form of a geographic split, an overlay area code, or a boundary realignment; establishing new area code boundaries; establishing necessary dates for the implementation of area code relief plans; and directing public education efforts regarding area code changes.


(b) State commissions may perform any or all functions related to initiation and development of area code relief plans, so long as they act consistently with the guidelines enumerated in this part, and subject to paragraph (b)(2) of this section. For the purposes of this paragraph, initiation and development of area code relief planning encompasses all functions related to the implementation of new area codes that were performed by central office code administrators prior to February 8, 1996. Such functions may include: declaring that the area code relief planning process should begin; convening and conducting meetings to which the telecommunications industry and the public are invited on area code relief for a particular area code; and developing the details of a proposed area code relief plan or plans.


(1) The entity or entities designated by the Commission to serve as central office code administrator(s) shall initiate and develop area code relief plans for each area code in each state that has not notified such entity or entities, pursuant to paragraph (b)(2) of this section, that the state will handle such functions.


(2) Pursuant to paragraph (b)(1) of this section, a state commission must notify the entity or entities designated by the Commission to serve as central office code administrator(s) for its state that such state commission intends to perform matters related to initiation and development of area code relief planning efforts in its state. Notification shall be written and shall include a description of the specific functions the state commission intends to perform. Where the NANP Administrator serves as the central office code administrator, such notification must be made within 120 days of the selection of the NANP Administrator.


(c) New area codes may be introduced through the use of:


(1) A geographic area code split, which occurs when the geographic area served by an area code in which there are few or no central office codes left for assignment is split into two or more geographic parts;


(2) An area code boundary realignment, which occurs when the boundary lines between two adjacent area codes are shifted to allow the transfer of some central office codes from an area code for which central office codes remain unassigned to an area code for which few or no central office codes are left for assignment; or


(3) An all services area code overlay, which occurs when a new area code is introduced to serve the same geographic area as one or more existing area code(s), subject to the following conditions:


(i) No all services area code overlay may be implemented unless all numbering resources in the new overlay area code are assigned to those entities requesting assignment on a first-come, first-serve basis, regardless of the identity of, technology used by, or type of service provided by that entity, except to the extent that a technology- or service-specific overlay is authorized by the Commission. No group of telecommunications carriers shall be excluded from assignment of numbering resources in the existing area code, or be assigned such resources only from the all services overlay area code, based solely on that group’s provision of a specific type of telecommunications service or use of a particular technology; and


(ii) No area code overlay may be implemented unless there exists, at the time of implementation, mandatory ten-digit dialing for every telephone call within and between all area codes in the geographic area covered by the overlay area code.


(4) A technology-specific or service-specific overlay, which occurs when a new area code is introduced to serve the same geographic area as one or more existing area code(s) and numbering resources in the new area code overlay are assigned to a specific technology(ies) or service(s). State commissions may not implement a technology-specific or service-specific overlay without express authority from the Commission.


[61 FR 47353, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 64 FR 63617, Nov. 16, 1998; 64 FR 62984, Nov. 18, 1999; 67 FR 6434, Feb. 12, 2002]


Subpart C – Number Portability


Source:61 FR 38637, July 25, 1996, unless otherwise noted. Redesignated at 61 FR 47353, Sept. 6, 1996.

§ 52.20 Thousands-block number pooling.

(a) Definition. Thousands-block number pooling is a process by which the 10,000 numbers in a central office code (NXX) are separated into ten sequential blocks of 1,000 numbers each (thousands-blocks), and allocated separately within a rate center.


(b) General requirements. Pursuant to the Commission’s adoption of thousands-block number pooling as a mandatory nationwide numbering resource optimization strategy, all carriers, except those exempted by the Commission, must participate in thousands-block number pooling where it is implemented and in accordance with the national thousands-block number pooling framework and implementation schedule established by the Commission.


(c) Donation of thousands-blocks. (1) All service providers required to participate in thousands-block number pooling shall donate thousands-blocks with ten percent or less contamination to the thousands-block number pool for the rate center within which the numbering resources are assigned.


(2) All service providers required to participate in thousands-block number pooling shall be allowed to retain at least one thousands-block per rate center, even if the thousands-block is ten percent or less contaminated, as an initial block or footprint block.


(d) Thousands-Block Pooling Administrator. (1) The Pooling Administrator shall be a non-governmental entity that is impartial and not aligned with any particular telecommunication industry segment, and shall comply with the same neutrality requirements that the NANPA is subject to under this part.


(2) The Pooling Administrator shall maintain no more than a six-month inventory of telephone numbers in each thousands-block number pool.


[65 FR 37709, June 16, 2000, as amended at 66 FR 9532, Feb. 8, 2001; 68 FR 43009, July 21, 2003]


§ 52.21 Definitions.

As used in this subpart:


(a) The term 100 largest MSAs includes the 100 largest MSAs as identified in the 1990 U.S. Census reports, as set forth in the Appendix to this part, as well as those areas identified as one of the largest 100 MSAs on subsequent updates to the U.S. Census reports.


(b) The term broadband PCS has the same meaning as that term is defined in § 24.5 of this chapter.


(c) The term cellular service has the same meaning as that term is defined in § 22.99 of this chapter.


(d) The term covered CMRS means broadband PCS, cellular, and 800/900 MHz SMR licensees that hold geographic area licenses or are incumbent SMR wide area licensees, and offer real-time, two-way switched voice service, are interconnected with the public switched network, and utilize an in-network switching facility that enables such CMRS systems to reuse frequencies and accomplish seamless hand-offs of subscriber calls.


(e) The term database method means a number portability method that utilizes one or more external databases for providing called party routing information.


(f) The term downstream database means a database owned and operated by an individual carrier for the purpose of providing number portability in conjunction with other functions and services.


(g) The term incumbent wide area SMR licensee has the same meaning as that term is defined in § 20.3 of this chapter.


(h) The term IP Relay provider means an entity that provides IP Relay as defined by 47 CFR 64.601.


(i) The term local exchange carrier means any person that is engaged in the provision of telephone exchange service or exchange access. For purposes of this subpart, such term does not include a person insofar as such person is engaged in the provision of a commercial mobile service under 47 U.S.C. 332(c).


(j) The term local number portability administrator (LNPA) means an independent, non-governmental entity, not aligned with any particular telecommunications industry segment, whose duties are determined by the NANC.


(k) The term location portability means the ability of users of telecommunications services to retain existing telecommunications numbers without impairment of quality, reliability, or convenience when moving from one physical location to another.


(l) The term long-term database method means a database method that complies with the performance criteria set forth in § 52.3(a).


(m) The term number portability means the ability of users of telecommunications services to retain, at the same location, existing telecommunications numbers without impairment of quality, reliability, or convenience when switching from one telecommunications carrier to another.


(n) The term regional database means an SMS database or an SMS/SCP pair that contains information necessary for carriers to provide number portability in a region as determined by the NANC.


(o) The term Registered Internet-based TRS User has the meaning set forth in 47 CFR 64.601.


(p) The term service control point (SCP) means a database in the public switched network which contains information and call processing instructions needed to process and complete a telephone call. The network switches access an SCP to obtain such information. Typically, the information contained in an SCP is obtained from the SMS.


(q) The term service management system (SMS) means a database or computer system not part of the public switched network that, among other things:


(1) Interconnects to an SCP and sends to that SCP the information and call processing instructions needed for a network switch to process and complete a telephone call; and


(2) Provides telecommunications carriers with the capability of entering and storing data regarding the processing and completing of a telephone call.


(r) The term service portability means the ability of users of telecommunications services to retain existing telecommunications numbers without impairment of quality, reliability, or convenience when switching from one telecommunications service to another, without switching from one telecommunications carrier to another.


(s) The term service provider portability means the ability of users of telecommunications services to retain, at the same location, existing telecommunications numbers without impairment of quality, reliability, or convenience when switching from one telecommunications carrier to another.


(t) The term transitional number portability measure means a method that allows one local exchange carrier to transfer telephone numbers from its network to the network of another telecommunications carrier, but does not comply with the performance criteria set forth in 52.3(a). Transitional number portability measures are technically feasible methods of providing number portability including Remote Call Forwarding (RCF), Direct Inward Dialing (DID), Route Indexing – Portability Hub (RI-PH), Directory Number Route Indexing (DNRI) and other comparable methods.


(u) The term VRS provider means an entity that provides VRS as defined by 47 CFR 64.601.


(v) The term 2009 LNP Porting Intervals Order refers to In the Matters of Local Number Portability Porting Interval and Validation Requirements; Telephone Number Portability, WC Docket No. 07-244, CC Docket No. 95-116, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 09-41 (2009).


[61 FR 38637, July 25, 1996. Redesignated at 61 FR 47353, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 61 FR 47355, Sept. 6, 1996; 63 FR 68203, Dec. 10, 1998; 67 FR 6435, Feb. 12, 2002; 68 FR 43009, July 21, 2003; 73 FR 9481, Feb. 21, 2008; 73 FR 41293, July 18, 2008; 74 FR 31638, July 2, 2009; 80 FR 66479, Oct. 29, 2015]


§ 52.23 Deployment of long-term database methods for number portability by LECs.

(a) Subject to paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, all local exchange carriers (LECs) must provide number portability in compliance with the following performance criteria:


(1) Supports network services, features, and capabilities existing at the time number portability is implemented, including but not limited to emergency services, CLASS features, operator and directory assistance services, and intercept capabilities;


(2) Efficiently uses numbering resources;


(3) Does not require end users to change their telecommunications numbers;


(4) Does not result in unreasonable degradation in service quality or network reliability when implemented;


(5) Does not result in any degradation in service quality or network reliability when customers switch carriers;


(6) Does not result in a carrier having a proprietary interest;


(7) Is able to migrate to location and service portability; and


(8) Has no significant adverse impact outside the areas where number portability is deployed.


(b)(1) All LECs must provide a long-term database method for number portability in the 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), as defined in § 52.21(k), in switches for which another carrier has made a specific request for the provision of number portability, subject to paragraph (b)(2) of this section.


(2) Any procedure to identify and request switches for deployment of number portability must comply with the following criteria:


(i) Any wireline carrier that is certified (or has applied for certification) to provide local exchange service in a state, or any licensed CMRS provider, must be permitted to make a request for deployment of number portability in that state;


(ii) Carriers must submit requests for deployment at least nine months before the deployment deadline for the MSA;


(iii) A LEC must make available upon request to any interested parties a list of its switches for which number portability has been requested and a list of its switches for which number portability has not been requested; and


(iv) After the deadline for deployment of number portability in an MSA in the 100 largest MSAs, according to the deployment schedule set forth in the appendix to this part, a LEC must deploy number portability in that MSA in additional switches upon request within the following time frames:


(A) For remote switches supported by a host switch equipped for portability (“Equipped Remote Switches”), within 30 days;


(B) For switches that require software but not hardware changes to provide portability (“Hardware Capable Switches”), within 60 days;


(C) For switches that require hardware changes to provide portability (“Capable Switches Requiring Hardware”), within 180 days; and


(D) For switches not capable of portability that must be replaced (“Non-Capable Switches”), within 180 days.


(c) Beginning January 1, 1999, all LECs must make a long-term database method for number portability available within six months after a specific request by another telecommunications carrier in areas in which that telecommunications carrier is operating or plans to operate.


(d) The Chief, Common Carrier Bureau, may waive or stay any of the dates in the implementation schedule, as the Chief determines is necessary to ensure the efficient development of number portability, for a period not to exceed 9 months (i.e., no later than September 30, 1999).


(e) In the event a LEC is unable to meet the Commission’s deadlines for implementing a long-term database method for number portability, it may file with the Commission at least 60 days in advance of the deadline a petition to extend the time by which implementation in its network will be completed. A LEC seeking such relief must demonstrate through substantial, credible evidence the basis for its contention that it is unable to comply with the deployment schedule set forth in the appendix to this part 52. Such requests must set forth:


(1) The facts that demonstrate why the carrier is unable to meet the Commission’s deployment schedule;


(2) A detailed explanation of the activities that the carrier has undertaken to meet the implementation schedule prior to requesting an extension of time;


(3) An identification of the particular switches for which the extension is requested;


(4) The time within which the carrier will complete deployment in the affected switches; and


(5) A proposed schedule with milestones for meeting the deployment date.


(f) The Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau, shall monitor the progress of local exchange carriers implementing number portability, and may direct such carriers to take any actions necessary to ensure compliance with the deployment schedule set forth in the appendix to this part 52.


(g) Carriers that are members of the Illinois Local Number Portability Workshop must conduct a field test of any technically feasible long-term database method for number portability in the Chicago, Illinois, area. The carriers participating in the test must jointly file with the Common Carrier Bureau a report of their findings within 30 days following completion of the test. The Chief, Common Carrier Bureau, shall monitor developments during the field test, and may adjust the field test completion deadline as necessary.


(h)(1) Porting from a wireline carrier to a wireless carrier is required where the requesting wireless carrier’s “coverage area,” as defined in paragraph (h)(2) of this section, overlaps the geographic location in which the customer’s wireline number is provisioned, provided that the porting-in carrier maintains the number’s original rate center designation following the port.


(2) The wireless “coverage area” is defined as the area in which wireless service can be received from the wireless carrier.


[61 FR 38637, July 25, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 18294, Apr. 15, 1997; 67 FR 13226, Mar. 21, 2002; 68 FR 43009, July 21, 2003; 73 FR 9481, Feb. 21, 2008]


§ 52.25 Database architecture and administration.

(a) The North American Numbering Council (NANC) shall direct establishment of a nationwide system of regional SMS databases for the provision of long-term database methods for number portability.


(b) All telecommunications carriers shall have equal and open access to the regional databases.


(c) The NANC shall select a local number portability administrator(s) (LNPA(s)) to administer the regional databases within seven months of the initial meeting of the NANC.


(d) The NANC shall determine whether one or multiple administrator(s) should be selected, whether the LNPA(s) can be the same entity selected to be the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, how the LNPA(s) should be selected, the specific duties of the LNPA(s), the geographic coverage of the regional databases, the technical interoperability and operational standards, the user interface between telecommunications carriers and the LNPA(s), the network interface between the SMS and the downstream databases, and the technical specifications for the regional databases.


(e) Once the NANC has selected the LNPA(s) and determined the locations of the regional databases, it must report its decisions to the Commission.


(f) The information contained in the regional databases shall be limited to the information necessary to route telephone calls to the appropriate telecommunications carriers. The NANC shall determine what specific information is necessary.


(g) Any state may opt out of its designated regional database and implement a state-specific database. A state must notify the Wireline Competition Bureau and NANC that it plans to implement a state-specific database within 60 days from the release date of the Public Notice issued by the Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau, identifying the administrator selected by the NANC and the proposed locations of the regional databases. Carriers may challenge a state’s decision to opt out of the regional database system by filing a petition with the Commission.


(h) Individual state databases must meet the national requirements and operational standards recommended by the NANC and adopted by the Commission. In addition, such state databases must be technically compatible with the regional system of databases and must not interfere with the scheduled implementation of the regional databases.


(i) Individual carriers may download information necessary to provide number portability from the regional databases into their own downstream databases. Individual carriers may mix information needed to provide other services or functions with the information downloaded from the regional databases at their own downstream databases. Carriers may not withhold any information necessary to provide number portability from the regional databases on the grounds that such data has been combined with other information in its downstream database.


[61 FR 38637, July 25, 1996. Redesignated at 61 FR 47353, Sept. 6, 1996, as amended at 67 FR 13226, Mar. 21, 2002]


§ 52.26 NANC Recommendations on Local Number Portability Administration.

(a) Local number portability administration shall comply with the recommendations of the North American Numbering Council (NANC) as set forth in the report to the Commission prepared by the NANC’s Local Number Portability Administration Selection Working Group, dated April 25, 1997 (Working Group Report) and its appendices, which are incorporated by reference pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Except that: Sections 7.8 and 7.10 of Appendix D and the following portions of Appendix E: Section 7, Issue Statement I of Appendix A, and Appendix B in the Working Group Report are not incorporated herein.


(b) In addition to the requirements set forth in the Working Group Report, the following requirements are established:


(1) Each designated N-1 carrier (as described in the Working Group Report) is responsible for ensuring number portability queries are performed on a N-1 basis where “N” is the entity terminating the call to the end user, or a network provider contracted by the entity to provide tandem access, unless another carrier has already performed the query;


(2) If a telecommunictions carrier transmits a telephone call to a local exchange carrier’s switch that contains any ported numbers, and the telecommunications carrier has failed to perform a database query to determine if the telephone number has been ported to another local exchange carrier, the local exchange carrier may block the unqueried call only if performing the database query is likely to impair network reliability;


(3) The regional limited liability companies (LLCs), already established by telecommunications carriers in each of the original Bell Operating Company regions, shall manage and oversee the local number portability administrators, subject to review by the NANC, but only on an interim basis, until the conclusion of a rulemaking to examine the issue of local number portability administrator oversight and management and the question of whether the LLCs should continue to act in this capacity; and


(4) The NANC shall provide ongoing oversight of number portability administration, including oversight of the regional LLCs, subject to Commission review. Parties shall attempt to resolve issues regarding number portability deployment among themselves and, if necessary, under the auspices of the NANC. If any party objects to the NANC’s proposed resolution, the NANC shall issue a written report summarizing the positions of the parties and the basis for the recommendation adopted by the NANC. The NANC Chair shall submit its proposed resolution of the dispuited issue to the Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau as a recommendation for Commission review. The Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau will place the NANC’s proposed resolution on public notice. Recommendations adopted by the NANC and forwarded to the Bureau may be implemented by the parties pending review of the recommendation. Within 90 days of the conclusion of the comment cycle, the Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau may issue an order adopting, modifying, or rejecting the recommendation. If the Chief does not act within 90 days of the conclusion of the comment cycle, the recommendation will be deemed to have been adopted by the Bureau.


(c) The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies of the Working Group Report and its appendices can be inspected during normal business hours at the Federal Communications Commission’s Reference Information Center, located at the address of the FCC’s main office indicated in 47 CFR 0.401(a), or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go to: https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html. The Working Group Report and its appendices are also available on the internet at https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-341177A1.pdf.


[62 FR 48786, Sept. 17, 1997, as amended at 65 FR 58466, Sept. 29, 2000; 67 FR 13226, Mar. 21, 2002; 69 FR 18803, Apr. 9, 2004; 74 FR 31638, July 2, 2009; 75 FR 35315, June 22, 2010; 83 FR 42052, Aug. 20, 2018; 85 FR 64407, Oct. 13, 2020]


§ 52.31 Deployment of long-term database methods for number portability by CMRS providers.

(a) By November 24, 2003, all covered CMRS providers must provide a long-term database method for number portability, including the ability to support roaming, in the 100 largest MSAs, as defined in § 52.21(k), in compliance with the performance criteria set forth in section 52.23(a) of this part, in switches for which another carrier has made a specific request for the provision of number portability, subject to paragraph (a)(1) of this section. A licensee may have more than one CMRS system, but only the systems that satisfy the definition of covered CMRS are required to provide number portability.


(1) Any procedure to identify and request switches for development of number portability must comply with the following criteria:


(i) Any wireline carrier that is certified (or has applied for certification) to provide local exchange service in a state, or any licensed CMRS provider, must be permitted to make a request for deployment of number portability in that state;


(ii) Carries requesting deployment in the 100 largest MSAs by November 24, 2003 must submit requests by February 24, 2003.


(iii) A covered CMRS provider must make available upon request to any interested parties a list of its switches for which number portability has been requested and a list of its switches for which number portability has not been requested;


(iv) After November 24, 2003, a covered CMRS provider must deploy number portability in additional switches serving the 100 largest MSAs upon request within the following time frames:


(A) For remote switches supported by a host switch equipped for portability (“Equipped Remote Switches”), within 30 days;


(B) For switches that require software but not hardware changes to provide portability (“Hardware Capable Switches”), within 60 days;


(C) For switches that require hardware changes to provide portability (“Capable Switches Requiring Hardware”), within 180 days; and


(D) For switches not capable of portability that must be replaced (“Non-Capable Switches”), within 180 days.


(v) Carriers must be able to request deployment in any wireless switch that serves any area within the MSA, even if the wireless switch is outside that MSA, or outside any of the MSAs identified in the Appendix to this part.


(2) By November 24, 2002, all covered CMRS providers must be able to support roaming nationwide.


(b) By December 31, 1998, all covered CMRS providers must have the capability to obtain routing information, either by querying the appropriate database themselves or by making arrangements with other carriers that are capable of performing database queries, so that they can deliver calls from their networks to any party that has retained its number after switching from one telecommunications carrier to another.


(c) [Reserved]


(d) In the event a carrier subject to paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section is unable to meet the Commission’s deadlines for implementing a long-term number portability method, it may file with the Commission at least 60 days in advance of the deadline a petition to extend the time by which implementation in its network will be completed. A carrier seeking such relief must demonstrate through substantial, credible evidence the basis for its contention that it is unable to comply with paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section. Such requests must set forth:


(1) The facts that demonstrate why the carrier is unable to meet our deployment schedule;


(2) A detailed explanation of the activities that the carrier has undertaken to meet the implementation schedule prior to requesting an extension of time;


(3) An identification of the particular switches for which the extension is requested;


(4) The time within which the carrier will complete deployment in the affected switches; and


(5) A proposed schedule with milestones for meeting the deployment date.


(e) The Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, may establish reporting requirements in order to monitor the progress of covered CMRS providers implementing number portability, and may direct such carriers to take any actions necessary to ensure compliance with this deployment schedule.


[61 FR 38637, July 25, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 18295, Apr. 15, 1997; 63 FR 68204, Dec. 10, 1998; 64 FR 22563, Apr. 27, 1999; 68 FR 43009, July 21, 2003; 71 FR 65750, Nov. 9, 2006]


§ 52.32 Allocation of the shared costs of long-term number portability.

(a) The local number portability administrator, as defined in § 52.21(h), of each regional database, as defined in § 52.21(1), shall recover the shared costs of long-term number portability attributable to that regional database from all telecommunications carriers providing telecommunications service in areas that regional database serves. Pursuant to its duties under § 52.26, the local number portability administrator shall collect sufficient revenues to fund the operation of the regional database by:


(1) Assessing a $100 yearly contribution on each telecommunications carrier identified in paragraph (a) introductory text that has no intrastate, interstate, or international end-user telecommunications revenue derived from providing telecommunications service in the areas that regional database serves, and


(2) Assessing on each of the other telecommunications carriers providing telecommunications service in areas that regional database serves, a charge that recovers the remaining shared costs of long-term number portability attributable to that regional database in proportion to the ratio of:


(i) The sum of the intrastate, interstate, and international end-user telecommunications revenues that such telecommunications carrier derives from providing telecommunications service in the areas that regional database serves, ii) to the sum of the intrastate, interstate, and international end-user telecommunications revenues that all telecommunications carriers derive from providing telecommunications service in the areas that regional database serves.


(b) All telecommunications carriers providing service in the United States shall complete and submit a “Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet” (as published by the Commission in the Federal Register), which sets forth the information needed to calculate contributions referred to in paragraph (a) of this section. The worksheet shall be certified to by an officer of the contributor, and subject to verification by the Commission or the administrator at the discretion of the Commission. The Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau may waive, reduce, modify, or eliminate contributor reporting requirements that prove unnecessary and require additional reporting requirements that the Bureau deems necessary to the sound and efficient administration of long-term number portability.


(c) Local number portability administrators shall keep all data obtained from contributors confidential and shall not disclose such data in company-specific form unless directed to do so by the Commission. Subject to any restrictions imposed by the Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, the local number portability administrators may share data obtained from carriers with the administrators of the universal service support mechanism (See 47 CFR 54.701 of this chapter), the TRS Fund (See 47 CFR 64.604(c)(4)(iii)(H) of this chapter), and the North American Numbering Plan cost recovery (See 47 CFR 52.16). The local number portability administrators shall keep confidential all data obtained from other administrators. The administrators shall use such data, from carriers or administrators, only for purposes of administering local number portability. The Commission shall have access to all data reported to the Administrator. Contributors may make requests for Commission nondisclosure of company-specific revenue information under § 0.459 of this chapter by so indicating on the Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet at the time that the subject data are submitted. The Commission shall make all decisions regarding nondisclosure of company-specific information.


(d) Once a telecommunications carrier has been allocated, pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this section, its portion of the shared costs of long-term number portability attributable to a regional database, the carrier shall treat that portion as a carrier-specific cost directly related to providing number portability.


[63 FR 35160, June 29, 1998, as amended at 64 FR 41331, July 30, 1999; 67 FR 13226, Mar. 21, 2002; 73 FR 9481, Feb. 21, 2008; 80 FR 66479, Oct. 29, 2015]


§ 52.33 Recovery of carrier-specific costs directly related to providing long-term number portability.

(a) Incumbent local exchange carriers may recover their carrier-specific costs directly related to providing long-term number portability by establishing in tariffs filed with the Federal Communications Commission a monthly number-portability charge, as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a number portability query-service charge, as specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, and a monthly number-portability query/administration charge, as specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section.


(1) The monthly number-portability charge may take effect no earlier than February 1, 1999, on a date the incumbent local exchange carrier selects, and may end no later than 5 five years after the incumbent local exchange carrier’s monthly number-portability charge takes effect.


(i) An incumbent local exchange carrier may assess each end user it serves in the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, and each end user it serves from a number-portability-capable switch outside the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, one monthly number-portability charge per line except that:


(A) One PBX trunk shall receive nine monthly number-portability charges.


(B) One PRI ISDN line shall receive five monthly number-portability charges.


(C) Lifeline Assistance Program customers shall not receive the monthly number-portability charge.


(ii) An incumbent local exchange carrier may assess on carriers that purchase the incumbent local exchange carrier’s switching ports as unbundled network elements under section 251 of the Communications Act, and/or Feature Group A access lines, and resellers of the incumbent local exchange carrier’s local service, the same charges as described in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, as if the incumbent local exchange carrier were serving those carriers’ end users.


(iii) An incumbent local exchange carrier may not assess a monthly number-portability charge for local loops carriers purchase as unbundled network elements under section 251.


(iv) The incumbent local exchange carrier shall levelize the monthly number-portability charge over five years by setting a rate for the charge at which the present value of the revenue recovered by the charge does not exceed the present value of the cost being recovered, using a discount rate equal to the rate of return on investment which the Commission has prescribed for interstate access services pursuant to Part 65 of the Commission’s Rules.


(2) The number portability query-service charge may recover only carrier-specific costs directly related to providing long-term number portability that the incumbent local exchange carrier incurs to provide long-term number portability query service to carriers on a prearranged and default basis.


(3) An incumbent local exchange carrier serving an area outside the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas that is not number-portability capable but that participates in an extended area service calling plan with any one of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas or with an adjacent number portability-capable local exchange carrier may assess each end user it serves one monthly number-portability query/administration charge per line to recover the costs of queries, as specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, and carrier-specific costs directly related to the carrier’s allocated share of the regional local number portability administrator’s costs, except that per-line monthly number-portability query/administration charges shall be assigned as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section with respect to monthly number-portability charges.


(i) Such incumbent local exchange carriers may assess a separate monthly number-portability charge as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section but such charge may recover only the costs incurred to implement number portability functionality and shall not include costs recovered through the monthly number-portability query/administration charge.


(ii) The monthly number-portability query/administration charge may end no later than five years after the incumbent local exchange carrier’s monthly number-portability query/administration charge takes effect. The monthly number-portability query/administration charge may be collected over a different five-year period than the monthly number-portability charge. These five-year periods may run either consecutively or concurrently, in whole or in part.


(b) All telecommunications carriers other than incumbent local exchange carriers may recover their number portability costs in any manner consistent with applicable state and federal laws and regulations.


[63 FR 35161, June 29, 1998, as amended at 67 FR 40620, June 13, 2002; 73 FR 9481, Feb. 21, 2008; 80 FR 66479, Oct. 29, 2015]


§ 52.34 Obligations regarding local number porting to and from interconnected VoIP or Internet-based TRS providers.

(a) An interconnected VoIP or VRS or IP Relay provider must facilitate an end-user customer’s or a Registered Internet-based TRS User’s valid number portability request, as it is defined in this subpart, either to or from a telecommunications carrier or an interconnected VoIP or VRS or IP Relay provider. “Facilitate” is defined as the interconnected VoIP or VRS or IP Relay provider’s affirmative legal obligation to take all steps necessary to initiate or allow a port-in or port-out itself or through the telecommunications carriers, if any, that it relies on to obtain numbering resources, subject to a valid port request, without unreasonable delay or unreasonable procedures that have the effect of delaying or denying porting of the NANP-based telephone number.


(b) An interconnected VoIP or VRS or IP Relay provider may not enter into any agreement that would prohibit an end-user customer or a Registered Internet-based TRS User from porting between interconnected VoIP or VRS or IP Relay providers, or to or from a telecommunications carrier.


(c) Telecommunications carriers must facilitate an end-user customer’s valid number portability request either to or from an interconnected VoIP or VRS or IP Relay provider. “Facilitate” is defined as the telecommunication carrier’s affirmative legal obligation to take all steps necessary to initiate or allow a port-in or port-out itself, subject to a valid port request, without unreasonable delay or unreasonable procedures that have the effect of delaying or denying porting of the NANP-based telephone number.


[73 FR 9481, Feb. 21, 2008, as amended at 73 FR 41294, July 18, 2008; 80 FR 66479, Oct. 29, 2015]


§ 52.35 Porting Intervals.

(a) All telecommunications carriers required by the Commission to port telephone numbers must complete a simple wireline-to-wireline or simple intermodal port request within one business day unless a longer period is requested by the new provider or by the customer. The traditional work week of Monday through Friday represents mandatory business days and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. represents minimum business hours, excluding the current service provider’s company-defined holidays. An accurate and complete Local Service Request (LSR) must be received by the current service provider between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. local time for a simple port request to be eligible for activation at midnight on the same day. Any simple port LSRs received after this time will be considered received on the following business day at 8 a.m. local time.


(b) Small providers, as described in the 2009 LNP Porting Interval Order, must comply with this section by February 2, 2011.


(c) Unless directed otherwise by the Commission, any telecommunications carrier granted a waiver by the Commission of the one-business day porting interval described in paragraph (a) must complete a simple wireline-to-wireline or simple intermodal port request within four business days unless a longer period is requested by the new provider or by the customer.


(d) All telecommunications carriers required by the Commission to port telephone numbers must complete a non-simple wireline-to-wireline or non-simple intermodal port request within four business days unless a longer period is requested by the new provider or by the customer.


(e) For purposes of this section:


(1) The term “local time” means the predominant time zone of the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) Region in which the telephone number is being ported; and


(2) The term “intermodal ports” includes


(i) Wireline-to-wireless ports;


(ii) Wireless-to-wireline ports; and


(iii) Ports involving interconnected VoIP service.


[75 FR 35315, June 22, 2010, as amended at 80 FR 66480, Oct. 29, 2015]


§ 52.36 Standard data fields for simple port order processing.

(a) A telecommunications carrier may require only the data described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section to accomplish a simple port order request from an end user customer’s new telecommunication’s carrier.


(b) Required standard data fields.


(1) Ported telephone number;


(2) Account number;


(3) Zip code;


(4) Company code;


(5) New network service provider;


(6) Desired due date;


(7) Purchase order number;


(8) Version;


(9) Number portability direction indicator;


(10) Customer carrier name abbreviation;


(11) Requisition type and status;


(12) Activity;


(13) Telephone number of initiator; and


(14) Agency authority status.


(c) Optional standard data field. The Passcode field shall be optional unless the passcode has been requested and assigned by the end user.


[75 FR 35315, June 22, 2010, as amended at 80 FR 66480, Oct. 29, 2015]


§§ 52.37-52.99 [Reserved]

Subpart D – Toll Free Numbers


Source:62 FR 20127, Apr. 25, 1997, unless otherwise noted.

§ 52.101 General definitions.

As used in this part:


(a) Toll Free Numbering Administrator (TFNA). The entity appointed by the Commission under its authority pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 251(e)(1) that provides user support for the Service Management System database and administers the Service Management System database on a day-to-day basis.


(b) Responsible Organization (“RespOrg”). The entity chosen by a toll free subscriber to manage and administer the appropriate records in the toll free Service Management System for the toll free subscriber.


(c) Service Control Points. The regional databases in the toll free network.


(d) Service Management System Database (“SMS Database”). The administrative database system for toll free numbers. The Service Management System is a computer system that enables Responsible Organizations to enter and amend the data about toll free numbers within their control. The Service Management System shares this information with the Service Control Points. The entire system is the SMS database.


(e) Toll Free Subscriber. The entity that has been assigned a toll free number.


(f) Toll Free Number. A telephone number for which the toll charges for completed calls are paid by the toll free subscriber. The toll free subscriber’s specific geographic location has no bearing on what toll free number it can obtain from the SMS database.


[62 FR 20127, Apr. 25, 1997, as amended at 83 FR 53395, Oct. 23, 2018]


§ 52.103 Lag times.

(a) Definitions. As used in this section, the following definitions apply:


(1) Assigned Status. A toll free number record that has specific subscriber routing information entered by the Responsible Organization in the Service Management System database and is pending activation in the Service Control Points.


(2) Disconnect Status. The toll free number has been discontinued and an exchange carrier intercept recording is being provided.


(3) Lag Time. The interval between a toll free number’s reservation in the Service Management System database and its conversion to working status, as well as the period of time between disconnection or cancellation of a toll free number and the point at which that toll free number may be reassigned to another toll free subscriber.


(4) Reserved Status. The toll free number has been reserved from the Service Management System database by a Responsible Organization for a toll free subscriber.


(5) Seasonal Numbers. Toll free numbers held by toll free subscribers who do not have a year-round need for a toll free number.


(6) Spare Status. The toll free number is available for assignment by a Responsible Organization.


(7) Suspend Status. The toll free service has been temporarily disconnected and is scheduled to be reactivated.


(8) Unavailable Status. The toll free number is not available for assignment due to an unusual condition.


(9) Working Status. The toll free number is loaded in the Service Control Points and is being utilized to complete toll free service calls.


(10) Transitional Status. Toll free numbers that have been disconnected for less than four months, but for which no Exchange Carrier Intercept Recording is being provided.


(b) Reserved Status. Toll free numbers may remain in reserved status for up to 45 days. There shall be no extension of the reservation period after expiration of the initial 45-day interval.


(1) Toll free numbers assigned via competitive bidding may remain in reserved status for a period of unlimited duration.


(2) [Reserved]


(c) Assigned Status. Toll free numbers may remain in assigned status until changed to working status or for a maximum of 6 months, whichever occurs first. Toll free numbers that, because of special circumstances, require that they be designated for a particular subscriber far in advance of their actual usage shall not be placed in assigned status, but instead shall be placed in unavailable status.


(d) Disconnect Status. Toll free numbers must remain in disconnect status or a combination of disconnect and transitional status for no less than 45 days and for no more than 4 months. No requests for extension of the 4-month disconnect or disconnect and transitional interval will be granted. All toll free numbers in disconnect or transitional status must go directly into the spare or unavailable category upon expiration of the 4-month disconnect or transitional interval. A Responsible Organization may not retrieve a toll free number from disconnect or transitional status and return that number directly to working status at the expiration of the 4-month disconnect or transitional interval.


(e) Suspend Status. Toll free numbers may remain in suspend status until changed to working status or for a maximum of 8 months, whichever occurs first. Only numbers involved in billing disputes shall be eligible for suspend status.


(f) Unavailable Status. (1) Written requests to make a specific toll free number unavailable must be submitted to the Toll Free Numbering Administrator (TFNA) by the Responsible Organization managing the records of the toll free number. The request shall include the appropriate documentation of the reason for the request. The Toll Free Numbering Administrator (TFNA) is the only entity that can assign this status to or remove this status from a number. Responsible Organizations that have a Toll Free Subscriber with special circumstances requiring that a toll free number be designated for that particular subscriber far in advance of its actual usage may request that the Toll Free Numbering Administrator (TFNA) place such a number in unavailable status.


(2) Seasonal numbers shall be placed in unavailable status. The Responsible Organization for a Toll Free Subscriber who does not have a year round need for a toll free number shall follow the procedures outlined in § 52.103(f)(1) of these rules if it wants the Toll Free Numbering Administrator (TFNA) to place a particular toll free number in unavailable status.


[62 FR 20127, Apr. 25, 1997, as amended at 83 FR 53396, Oct. 23, 2018; 84 FR 11232, Mar. 26, 2019]


§ 52.105 Warehousing.

(a) As used in this section, warehousing is the practice whereby Responsible Organizations, either directly or indirectly through an affiliate, reserve toll free numbers from the Service Management System database without having an actual toll free subscriber for whom those numbers are being reserved.


(b) Responsible Organizations shall not warehouse toll free numbers. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a Responsible Organization is warehousing toll free numbers if:


(1) The Responsible Organization does not have an identified toll free subscriber agreeing to be billed for service associated with each toll free number reserved from the Service Management System database; or


(2) The Responsible Organization does not have an identified toll free subscriber agreeing to be billed for service associated with a toll free number before switching that toll free number from reserved or assigned to working status.


(c) Responsible Organizations shall not maintain a toll free number in reserved status if there is not a prospective toll free subscriber requesting that toll free number.


(d) A Responsible Organization’s act of reserving a number from the Service Management System database shall serve as that Responsible Organization’s certification that there is an identified toll free subscriber agreeing to be billed for service associated with the toll free number.


(e) Tariff Provision. The following provision shall be included in the Service Management System tariff and in the local exchange carriers’ toll free database access tariffs:



[T]he Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has concluded that warehousing, which the FCC defines as Responsible Organizations, either directly or indirectly through an affiliate, reserving toll free numbers from the SMS database without having an identified toll free subscriber from whom those numbers are being reserved, is an unreasonable practice under § 201(b) of the Communications Act and is inconsistent with the Commission’s obligation under § 251(e) of the Communications Act to ensure that numbers are made available on an equitable basis; and if a Responsible Organization does not have an identified toll free subscriber agreeing to be billed for service associated with each toll free number reserved from the database, or if a Responsible Organization does not have an identified, billed toll free subscriber before switching a number from reserved or assigned to working status, then there is a rebuttable presumption that the Responsible Organization is warehousing numbers. Responsible Organizations that warehouse numbers will be subject to penalties.


(f) The provisions of this section shall not apply to toll free numbers assigned via competitive bidding or to numbers transferred under this exception.


[62 FR 20127, Apr. 25, 1997, as amended at 83 FR 53396, Oct. 23, 2018]


§ 52.107 Hoarding.

(a) As used in this section, hoarding is the acquisition by a toll free subscriber from a Responsible Organization of more toll free numbers than the toll free subscriber intends to use for the provision of toll free service. The definition of hoarding also includes number brokering, which is the selling of a toll free number by a private entity for a fee.


(1) Toll free subscribers shall not hoard toll free numbers.


(2) No person or entity shall acquire a toll free number for the purpose of selling the toll free number to another entity or to a person for a fee.


(3) Routing multiple toll free numbers to a single toll free subscriber will create a rebuttable presumption that the toll free subscriber is hoarding or brokering toll free numbers.


(b) Tariff Provision. The following provision shall be included in the Service Management System tariff and in the local exchange carriers’ toll free database access tariffs:



[T]he Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has concluded that hoarding, defined as the acquisition of more toll free numbers than one intends to use for the provision of toll free service, as well as the sale of a toll free number by a private entity for a fee, is contrary to the public interest in the conservation of the scarce toll free number resource and contrary to the FCC’s responsibility to promote the orderly use and allocation of toll free numbers.


(c) Toll Free Numbers Assigned via Competitive Bidding. The provisions of this section shall not apply to toll free numbers assigned via competitive bidding or to numbers transferred under the exception to § 52.105 contained in paragraph (f) of that section.


[62 FR 20127, Apr. 25, 1997, as amended at 83 FR 53396, Oct. 23, 2018]


§ 52.109 Permanent cap on number reservations.

(a) A Responsible Organization may have in reserve status, at any one time, either 2000 toll free numbers or 7.5 percent of that Responsible Organization’s numbers in working status, whichever is greater.


(b) A Responsible Organization shall never reserve more than 3 percent of the quantity of toll free numbers in spare status as of the previous Sunday at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time.


(c) The Wireline Competition Bureau shall modify the quantity of numbers a Responsible Organization may have in reserve status or the percentage of numbers in the spare pool that a Responsible Organization may reserve when exigent circumstances make such action necessary. The Wireline Competition Bureau shall establish, modify, and monitor toll free number conservation plans when exigent circumstances necessitate such action.


[62 FR 20127, Apr. 25, 1997, as amended at 67 FR 13226, Mar. 21, 2002; 83 FR 53396, Oct. 23, 2018]


§ 52.111 Toll free number assignment.

Toll free telephone numbers must be made available to Responsible Organizations and subscribers on an equitable basis. The Commission will assign toll free numbers by competitive bidding, on a first-come, first-served basis, by an alternative assignment methodology, or by a combination of the foregoing options.


[83 FR 53396, Oct. 23, 2018]


Subpart E – Universal Dialing Code for National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline System


Source:85 FR 57783, Sept. 16, 2020, unless otherwise noted.

§ 52.200 Designation of 988 for a National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline.

(a) 988 is established as the 3-digit dialing code for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system maintained by the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.


(b) All covered providers shall transmit all calls initiated by an end user dialing 988 to the current toll free access number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, presently 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).


(c) All covered providers shall complete 10-digit dialing implementation in areas that use 7-digit dialing and have assigned 988 as a central office code as defined in § 52.7(c) by July 16, 2022.


(d) All covered providers shall complete all changes to their systems that are necessary to implement the designation of the 988 dialing code by July 16, 2022.


(e) For purposes of complying with the requirements of this section,


(1) The term “covered provider” means any telecommunications carrier, interconnected VoIP provider, or provider of one-way VoIP.


(2) The term “one-way VoIP” –


(i) Means a service that –


(A) Enables real-time, two-way voice communications;


(B) Requires a broadband connection from the user’s location;


(C) Requires internet protocol-compatible customer premises equipment; and


(D) Permits users generally to receive calls that originate on the public switched telephone network or to terminate calls to the public switched telephone network.


(ii) Does not include any service that is an interconnected VoIP service.


§ 52.201 Texting to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline.

(a) Support for 988 text message service. Beginning July 16, 2022, all covered text providers must route a covered 988 text message to the current toll free access number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, presently 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).


(b) Access to SMS networks for 988 text messages. To the extent that Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS) providers offer Short Message Service (SMS), they shall allow access by any other covered text provider to the capabilities necessary for transmission of 988 text messages originating on such other covered text providers’ application services.


(c) Definitions. For purposes of this section:


988 text message. (i) Means a message consisting of text, images, sounds, or other information that is transmitted to or from a device that is identified as the receiving or transmitting device by means of a 10-digit telephone number, N11 service code, or 988;


(ii) Includes and is not limited to a SMS message and a multimedia message service (MMS) message; and


(iii) Does not include –


(A) A real-time, two-way voice or video communication; or


(B) A message sent over an IP-enabled messaging service to another user of the same messaging service, except a message described in paragraph (b) of this section.


Covered 988 text message means a 988 text message in SMS format and any other format that the Wireline Competition Bureau has determined must be supported by covered text providers.


Covered text provider includes all CMRS providers as well as all providers of interconnected text messaging services that enable consumers to send text messages to and receive text messages from all or substantially all text-capable U.S. telephone numbers, including through the use of applications downloaded or otherwise installed on mobile phones.


Multimedia message service (MMS) shall have the same definition as the term in § 64.1600(k) of this chapter.


Short message service (SMS) shall have the same definition as the term in § 64.1600(m) of this chapter.


[87 FR 412, Jan. 5, 2022]


Appendix to Part 52 – Deployment Schedule for Long-Term Database Methods for Local Number Portability

Implementation must be completed by the carriers in the relevant MSAs during the periods specified below:


Phase I – 10/1/97-3/31/98
Chicago, IL3
Philadelphia, PA4
Atlanta, GA8
New York, NY2
Los Angeles, CA1
Houston, TX7
Minneapolis, MN12
Phase II – 1/1/98-5/15/98
Detroit, MI6
Cleveland, OH20
Washington, DC5
Baltimore, MD18
Miami, FL24
Fort Lauderdale, FL39
Orlando, FL40
Cincinnati, OH30
Tampa, FL23
Boston, MA9
Riverside, CA10
San Diego, CA14
Dallas, TX11
St. Louis, MO16
Phoenix, AZ17
Seattle, WA22
Phase III – 4/1/98-6/30/98
Indianapolis, IN34
Milwaukee, WI35
Columbus, OH38
Pittsburgh, PA19
Newark, NJ25
Norfolk, VA32
New Orleans, LA41
Charlotte, NC43
Greensboro, NC48
Nashville, TN51
Las Vegas, NV50
Nassau, NY13
Buffalo, NY44
Orange Co, CA15
Oakland, CA21
San Francisco, CA29
Rochester, NY49
Kansas City, KS28
Fort Worth, TX33
Hartford, CT46
Denver, CO26
Portland, OR27
Phase IV – 7/1/98-9/30/98
Grand Rapids, MI56
Dayton, OH61
Akron, OH73
Gary, IN80
Bergen, NJ42
Middlesex, NJ52
Monmouth, NJ54
Richmond, VA63
Memphis, TN53
Louisville, KY57
Jacksonville, FL58
Raleigh, NC59
West Palm Beach, FL62
Greenville, SC66
Honolulu, HI65
Providence, RI47
Albany, NY64
San Jose, CA31
Sacramento, CA36
Fresno, CA68
San Antonio, TX37
Oklahoma City, OK55
Austin, TX60
Salt Lake City, UT45
Tucson, AZ71
Phase V – 10/1/98-12/31/98
Toledo, OH81
Youngstown, OH85
Ann Arbor, MI95
Fort Wayne, IN100
Scranton, PA78
Allentown, PA82
Harrisburg, PA83
Jersey City, NJ88
Wilmington, DE89
Birmingham, AL67
Knoxville, KY79
Baton Rouge, LA87
Charleston, SC92
Sarasota, FL93
Mobile, AL96
Columbia, SC98
Tulsa, OK70
Syracuse, NY69
Springfield, MA86
Ventura, CA72
Bakersfield, CA84
Stockton, CA94
Vallejo, CA99
El Paso, TX74
Little Rock, AR90
Wichita, KS97
New Haven, CT91
Omaha, NE75
Albuquerque, NM76
Tacoma, WA77

[62 FR 18295, Apr. 15, 1997]


PART 53 – SPECIAL PROVISIONS CONCERNING BELL OPERATING COMPANIES


Authority:47 U.S.C. 151-155, 157, 201-205, 218, 251, 253, 271-275, unless otherwise noted.



Source:62 FR 2967, Jan. 21, 1997, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – General Information

§ 53.1 Basis and purpose.

(a) Basis. The rules in this part are issued pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.


(b) Purpose. The purpose of the rules in this part is to implement sections 271 and 272 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 271 and 272.


§ 53.3 Terms and definitions.

Terms used in this part have the following meanings:


Act. The Act means the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.


Affiliate. An affiliate is a person that (directly or indirectly) owns or controls, is owned or controlled by, or is under common ownership or control with, another person. For purposes of this part, the term “own” means to own an equity interest (or the equivalent thereof) of more than 10 percent.


AT&T Consent Decree. The AT&T Consent Decree is the order entered August 24, 1982, in the antitrust action styled United States v. Western Electric, Civil Action No. 82-0192, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and any judgment or order with respect to such action entered on or after August 24, 1982.


Bell Operating Company (BOC). The term Bell operating company


(1) Means any of the following companies: Bell Telephone Company of Nevada, Illinois Bell Telephone Company, Indiana Bell Telephone Company, Incorporated, Michigan Bell Telephone Company, New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, New York Telephone Company, U S West Communications Company, South Central Bell Telephone Company, Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, The Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Maryland, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Virginia, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia, The Diamond State Telephone Company, The Ohio Bell Telephone Company, The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, or Wisconsin Telephone Company; and


(2) Includes any successor or assign of any such company that provides wireline telephone exchange service; but


(3) Does not include an affiliate of any such company, other than an affiliate described in paragraphs (1) or (2) of this definition.


In-Region InterLATA service. In-region interLATA service is interLATA service that originates in any of a BOC’s in-region states, which are the states in which the BOC or any of its affiliates was authorized to provide wireline telephone exchange service pursuant to the reorganization plan approved under the AT&T Consent Decree, as in effect on February 7, 1996. For the purposes of this part, 800 service, private line service, or equivalent services that terminate in a BOC’s in-region state and allow the called party to determine the interLATA carrier are considered to be in-region interLATA service.


InterLATA Information Service. An interLATA information service is an information service that incorporates as a necessary, bundled element an interLATA telecommunications transmission component, provided to the customer for a single charge.


InterLATA Service. An interLATA service is a service that involves telecommunications between a point located in a LATA and a point located outside such area. The term “interLATA service” includes both interLATA telecommunications services and interLATA information services.


Local Access and Transport Area (LATA). A LATA is a contiguous geographic area:


(1) Established before February 8, 1996 by a BOC such that no exchange area includes points within more than one metropolitan statistical area, consolidated metropolitan statistical area, or state, except as expressly permitted under the AT&T Consent Decree; or


(2) Established or modified by a BOC after February 8, 1996 and approved by the Commission.


Local Exchange Carrier (LEC). A LEC is any person that is engaged in the provision of telephone exchange service or exchange access. Such term does not include a person insofar as such person is engaged in the provision of commercial mobile service under section 332(c) of the Act, except to the extent that the Commission finds that such service should be included in the definition of such term.


Out-of-Region InterLATA service. Out-of-region interLATA service is interLATA service that originates outside a BOC’s in-region states.


Section 272 affiliate. A section 272 affiliate is a BOC affiliate that complies with the separate affiliate requirements of section 272(b) of the Act and the regulations contained in this part.


Subpart B – Bell Operating Company Entry Into InterLATA Services [Reserved]

Subpart C – Separate Affiliate; Safeguards

§ 53.201 Services for which a section 272 affiliate is required.

For the purposes of applying section 272(a)(2) of the Act:


(a) Previously authorized activities. When providing previously authorized activities described in section 271(f) of the Act, a BOC shall comply with the following:


(1) A BOC shall provide previously authorized interLATA information services and manufacturing activities through a section 272 affiliate no later than February 8, 1997.


(2) A BOC shall provide previously authorized interLATA telecommunications services in accordance with the terms and conditions of the orders entered by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia pursuant to section VII or VIII(C) of the AT&T Consent Decree that authorized such services.


(b) InterLATA information services. A BOC shall provide an interLATA information service through a section 272 affiliate when it provides the interLATA telecommunications transmission component of the service either over its own facilities, or by reselling the interLATA telecommunications services of an interexchange provider.


(c) Out-of-region interLATA information services. A BOC shall provide out-of-region interLATA information services through a section 272 affiliate.


§ 53.203 Structural and transactional requirements.

(a) Operational independence. A section 272 affiliate and the BOC of which it is an affiliate shall not jointly own transmission and switching facilities or the land and buildings where those facilities are located.


(b) Separate books, records, and accounts. A section 272 affiliate shall maintain books, records, and accounts, which shall be separate from the books, records, and accounts maintained by the BOC of which it is an affiliate.


(c) Separate officers, directors, and employees. A section 272 affiliate shall have separate officers, directors, and employees from the BOC of which it is an affiliate.


(d) Credit arrangements. A section 272 affiliate shall not obtain credit under any arrangement that would permit a creditor, upon default, to have recourse to the assets of the BOC of which it is an affiliate.


(e) Arm’s-length transactions. A section 272 affiliate shall conduct all transactions with the BOC of which it is an affiliate on an arm’s length basis, pursuant to the accounting rules described in § 32.27 of this chapter, with any such transactions reduced to writing and available for public inspection.


[62 FR 2967, Jan. 21, 1997, as amended at 69 FR 16496, Mar. 30, 2004; 70 FR 55302, Sept. 21, 2005]


§ 53.205 Fulfillment of certain requests. [Reserved]

§ 53.207 Successor or assign.

If a BOC transfers to an affiliated entity ownership of any network elements that must be provided on an unbundled basis pursuant to section 251(c)(3) of the Act, such entity will be deemed to be an “assign” of the BOC under section 3(4) of the Act with respect to such transferred network elements. A BOC affiliate shall not be deemed a “successor or assign” of a BOC solely because it obtains network elements from the BOC pursuant to section 251(c)(3) of the Act.


[62 FR 2967, Jan. 21, 1997; 63 FR 34604, June 25, 1998]


§ 53.209 Biennial audit.

(a) A Bell operating company required to operate a separate affiliate under section 272 of the Act shall obtain and pay for a Federal/State joint audit every two years conducted by an independent auditor to determine whether the Bell operating company has complied with the rules promulgated under section 272 and particularly the audit requirements listed in paragraph (b) of this section.


(b) The independent audit shall determine:


(1) Whether the separate affiliate required under section 272 of the Act has:


(i) Operated independently of the Bell operating company;


(ii) Maintained books, records, and accounts in the manner prescribed by the Commission that are separate from the books, records and accounts maintained by the Bell operating company;


(iii) Officers, directors and employees that are separate from those of the Bell operating company;


(iv) Not obtained credit under any arrangement that would permit a creditor, upon default, to have recourse to the assets of the Bell operating company; and


(v) Conducted all transactions with the Bell operating company on an arm’s length basis with the transactions reduced to writing and available for public inspection.


(2) Whether or not the Bell operating company has:


(i) Discriminated between the separate affiliate and any other entity in the provision or procurement of goods, services, facilities, and information, or the establishment of standards;


(ii) Accounted for all transactions with the separate affiliate in accordance with the accounting principles and rules approved by the Commission.


(3) Whether or not the Bell operating company and an affiliate subject to section 251(c) of the Act:


(i) Have fulfilled requests from unaffiliated entities for telephone exchange service and exchange access within a period no longer than the period in which it provides such telephone exchange service and exchange access to itself or its affiliates;


(ii) Have made available facilities, services, or information concerning its provision of exchange access to other providers of interLATA services on the same terms and conditions as it has to its affiliate required under section 272 that operates in the same market;


(iii) Have charged its separate affiliate under section 272, or imputed to itself (if using the access for its provision of its own services), an amount for access to its telephone exchange service and exchange access that is no less than the amount charged to any unaffiliated interexchange carriers for such service; and


(iv) Have provided any interLATA or intraLATA facilities or services to its interLATA affiliate and made available such services or facilities to all carriers at the same rates and on the same terms and conditions, and allocated the associated costs appropriately.


(c) An independent audit shall be performed on the first full year of operations of the separate affiliate required under section 272 of the Act, and biennially thereafter.


(d) The Chief, Enforcement Bureau, shall work with the regulatory agencies in the states having jurisdiction over the Bell operating company’s local telephone services, to attempt to form a Federal/State joint audit team with the responsibility for overseeing the planning of the audit as specified in § 53.211 and the analysis and evaluation of the audit as specified in § 53.213. The Federal/State joint audit team may direct the independent auditor to take any actions necessary to ensure compliance with the audit requirements listed in paragraph (b) of this section. If the state regulatory agencies having jurisdiction choose not to participate in the Federal/State joint audit team, the Chief, Enforcement Bureau, shall establish an FCC audit team to oversee and direct the independent auditor to take any actions necessary to ensure compliance with the audit requirements in paragraph (b) of this section.


[62 FR 2926, Jan. 21, 1997, as amended at 67 FR 13226, Mar. 21, 2002]


§ 53.211 Audit planning.

(a) Before selecting an independent auditor, the Bell operating company shall submit preliminary audit requirements, including the proposed scope of the audit and the extent of compliance and substantive testing, to the Federal/State joint audit team organized pursuant to § 53.209(d);


(b) The Federal/State joint audit team shall review the preliminary audit requirements to determine whether it is adequate to meet the audit requirements in § 53.209 (b). The Federal/State joint audit shall have 30 days to review the audit requirements and determine any modifications that shall be incorporated into the final audit requirements.


(c) After the audit requirements have been approved by the Federal/State joint audit team, the Bell operating company shall engage within 30 days an independent auditor to conduct the biennial audit. In making its selection, the Bell operating company shall not engage any independent auditor who has been instrumental during the past two years in designing any of the accounting or reporting systems under review in the biennial audit.


(d) The independent auditor selected by the Bell operating company to conduct the audit shall develop a detailed audit program based on the final audit requirements and submit it to the Federal/State joint audit team. The Federal/State joint audit team shall have 30 days to review the audit program and determine any modifications that shall be incorporated into the final audit program.


(e) During the course of the biennial audit, the independent auditor, among other things, shall:


(1) Inform the Federal/State joint audit team of any revisions to the final audit program or to the scope of the audit.


(2) Notify the Federal/State joint audit team of any meetings with the Bell operating company or its separate affiliate in which audit findings are discussed.


(3) Submit to the Chief, Enforcement Bureau, any accounting or rule interpretations necessary to complete the audit.


[62 FR 2926, Jan. 21, 1997, as amended at 67 FR 13226, Mar. 21, 2002]


§ 53.213 Audit analysis and evaluation.

(a) Within 60 dates after the end of the audit period, but prior to discussing the audit findings with the Bell operating company or the separate affiliate, the independent auditor shall submit a draft of the audit report to the Federal/State joint audit team.


(1) The Federal/State joint audit team shall have 45 days to review the audit findings and audit workpapers, and offer its recommendations concerning the conduct of the audit or the audit findings to the independent auditor. Exceptions of the Federal/State joint audit team to the finding and conclusions of the independent auditor that remain unresolved shall be included in the final audit report.


(2) Within 15 days after receiving the Federal/State joint audit team’s recommendations and making appropriate revisions to the audit report, the independent auditor shall submit the audit report to the Bell operating company for its response to the audit findings and send a copy to the Federal/State joint audit team. The independent auditor may request additional time to perform additional audit work as recommended by the Federal/State joint audit team.


(b) Within 30 days after receiving the audit report, the Bell operating company will respond to the audit findings and send a copy of its response to the Federal/State joint audit team. The Bell operating company’s response shall be included as part of the final audit report along with any reply that the independent auditor wishes to make to the response.


(c) Within 10 days after receiving the response of the Bell operating company, the independent auditor shall make available for public inspection the final audit report by filing it with the Commission and the state regulatory agencies participating on the joint audit team.


(d) Interested parties may file comments with the Commission within 60 days after the audit report is made available for public inspection.


[62 FR 2927, Jan. 21, 1997]


Subpart D – Manufacturing by Bell Operating Companies

§ 53.301 [Reserved]

Subpart E – Electronic Publishing by Bell Operating Companies

§ 53.401 [Reserved]

Subpart F – Alarm Monitoring Services

§ 53.501 [Reserved]

PART 54 – UNIVERSAL SERVICE


Authority:47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 155, 201, 205, 214, 219, 220, 229, 254, 303(r), 403, 1004, 1302, 1601-1609, and 1752, unless otherwise noted.



Source:62 FR 32948, June 17, 1997, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – General Information

§ 54.1 Basis and purpose.

(a) Basis. These rules are issued pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.


(b) Purpose. The purpose of these rules is to implement section 254 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 USC 254.


§ 54.5 Terms and definitions.

Terms used in this part have the following meanings:


Act. The term “Act” refers to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.


Administrator. The term “Administrator” or “USAC” shall refer to the Universal Service Administrative Company that is an independent subsidiary of the National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc., and that has been appointed the permanent Administrator of the federal universal service support mechanisms.


Community anchor institutions. For the purpose of high-cost support, “community anchor institutions” refers to schools, libraries, health care providers, community colleges, other institutions of higher education, and other community support organizations and entities.


Competitive eligible telecommunications carrier. A “competitive eligible telecommunications carrier” is a carrier that meets the definition of an “eligible telecommunications carrier” below and does not meet the definition of an “incumbent local exchange carrier” in § 51.5 of this chapter.


Contributor. The term “contributor” shall refer to an entity required to contribute to the universal service support mechanisms pursuant to § 54.706.


Eligible telecommunications carrier. “Eligible telecommunications carrier” means a carrier designated as such under subpart C of this part.


High-cost support. “High-cost support” refers to those support mechanisms in existence as of October 1, 2011, specifically, high-cost loop support, safety net additive and safety valve provided pursuant to subpart F of part 36, local switching support pursuant to § 54.301, forward-looking support pursuant to § 54.309, interstate access support pursuant to §§ 54.800 through 54.809, and interstate common line support pursuant to §§ 54.901 through 54.904, support provided pursuant to §§ 51.915, 51.917, and 54.304, support provided to competitive eligible telecommunications carriers as set forth in § 54.307(e), Connect America Fund support provided pursuant to § 54.312, and Mobility Fund and 5G Fund support provided pursuant to subpart L of this part.


Incumbent local exchange carrier. “Incumbent local exchange carrier” or “ILEC” has the same meaning as that term is defined in § 51.5 of this chapter.


Information service. “Information service” is the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information via telecommunications, and includes electronic publishing, but does not include any use of any such capability for the management, control, or operation of a telecommunications system or the management of a telecommunications service.


Interconnected VoIP Provider. An “interconnected VoIP provider” is an entity that provides interconnected VoIP service, as that term is defined in section 9.3 of these rules.


Internet access. “Internet access” includes the following elements:


(1) The transmission of information as common carriage; and


(2) The transmission of information as part of a gateway to an information service, when that transmission does not involve the generation or alteration of the content of information, but may include data transmission, address translation, protocol conversion, billing management, introductory information content, and navigational systems that enable users to access information services, and that do not affect the presentation of such information to users.


Interstate telecommunication. “Interstate telecommunication” is a communication or transmission:


(1) From any State, Territory, or possession of the United States (other than the Canal zone), or the District of Columbia, to any other State, Territory, or possession of the United States (other than the Canal Zone), or the District of Columbia,


(2) From or to the United States to or from the Canal Zone, insofar as such communication or transmission takes place within the United States, or


(3) Between points within the United States but through a foreign country.


Interstate transmission. “Interstate transmission” is the same as interstate telecommunication.


Intrastate telecommunication. “Intrastate telecommunication” is a communication or transmission from within any State, Territory, or possession of the United States, or the District of Columbia to a location within that same State, Territory, or possession of the United States, or the District of Columbia.


Intrastate transmission. “Intrastate transmission” is the same as intrastate telecommunication.


LAN. “LAN” is a local area network, which is a set of high-speed links connecting devices, generally computers, on a single shared medium, usually on the user’s premises.


Mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier. A “mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier” is a carrier that meets the definition of a “competitive eligible telecommunications carrier” in this section and that provides a terrestrial-based service meeting the definition of “commercial mobile radio service” in § 51.5 of this chapter.


Qualifying competitor. A “qualifying competitor” is a facilities-based terrestrial provider of residential fixed voice and broadband service access meeting or exceeding 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream.


Rate-of-return carrier. “Rate-of-return carrier” shall refer to any incumbent local exchange carrier not subject to price cap regulation as that term is defined in § 61.3(ee) of this chapter.


Rural incumbent local exchange carrier. “Rural incumbent local exchange carrier” is a carrier that meets the definitions of “rural telephone company” and “incumbent local exchange carrier,” as those terms are defined in § 51.5 of this chapter.


Rural telephone company. “Rural telephone company” has the same meaning as that term is defined in § 51.5 of this chapter.


State commission. The term “state commission” means the commission, board or official (by whatever name designated) that, under the laws of any state, has regulatory jurisdiction with respect to intrastate operations of carriers.


Technically feasible. “Technically feasible” means capable of accomplishment as evidenced by prior success under similar circumstances. For example, preexisting access at a particular point evidences the technical feasibility of access at substantially similar points. A determination of technical feasibility does not consider economic, accounting, billing, space or site except that space and site may be considered if there is no possibility of expanding available space.


Telecommunications. “Telecommunications” is the transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user’s choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received.


Telecommunications carrier. A “telecommunications carrier” is any provider of telecommunications services, except that such term does not include aggregators of telecommunications services as defined in section 226 of the Act. A telecommunications carrier shall be treated as a common carrier under the Act only to the extent that it is engaged in providing telecommunications services, except that the Commission shall determine whether the provision of fixed and mobile satellite service shall be treated as common carriage. This definition includes cellular mobile radio service (CMRS) providers, interexchange carriers (IXCs) and, to the extent they are acting as telecommunications carriers, companies that provide both telecommunications and information services. Private mobile radio service (PMRS) providers are telecommunications carriers to the extent they provide domestic or international telecommunications for a fee directly to the public.


Telecommunications channel. “Telecommunications channel” means a telephone line, or, in the case of wireless communications, a transmittal line or cell site.


Telecommunications service. “Telecommunications service” is the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to such classes of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used.


Tribal lands. For the purposes of high-cost support, “Tribal lands” include any federally recognized Indian tribe’s reservation, pueblo or colony, including former reservations in Oklahoma, Alaska Native regions established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688) and Indian Allotments, see § 54.400(e), as well as Hawaiian Home Lands – areas held in trust for native Hawaiians by the state of Hawaii, pursuant to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, July 9, 1921, 42 Stat 108, et seq., as amended, and any land designated as such by the Commission.


Unsubsidized competitor. An “unsubsidized competitor” is a facilities-based provider of residential fixed voice and broadband service that does not receive high-cost support.


Website. The term “website” shall refer to any websites operated by the Administrator in connection with the schools and libraries support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, the high cost mechanism, and the low income mechanism.


Wire center. A wire center is the location of a local switching facility containing one or more central offices, as defined in the Appendix to part 36 of this chapter. The wire center boundaries define the area in which all customers served by a given wire center are located.


[62 FR 32948, June 17, 1997]


Editorial Note:For Federal Register citations affecting § 54.5, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.

§ 54.7 Intended use of federal universal service support.

(a) A carrier that receives federal universal service support shall use that support only for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which the support is intended.


(b) The use of federal universal service support that is authorized by paragraph (a) of this section shall include investments in plant that can, either as built or with the addition of plant elements, when available, provide access to advanced telecommunications and information services.


(c) For those eligible telecommunications carriers as defined in § 54.5 receiving universal service support pursuant to subparts K and M of this part, ineligible expenses include but are not limited to the following:


(1) Personal expenses of employees, executives, board members, and contractors, and family members thereof, or any other individuals affiliated with the eligible telecommunications carrier, including but not limited to personal expenses for housing, such as rent or mortgages, vehicles for personal use and personal travel, including transportation, lodging and meals;


(2) Gifts to employees; childcare; housing allowances or other forms of mortgage or rent assistance for employees except that a reasonable amount of assistance shall be allowed for work-related temporary or seasonal lodging; cafeterias and dining facilities; food and beverage except that a reasonable amount shall be allowed for work-related travel; entertainment;


(3) Expenses associated with: Tangible property not logically related or necessary to the offering of voice or broadband services; corporate aircraft, watercraft, and other motor vehicles designed for off-road use except insofar as necessary or reasonable to access portions of the study area not readily accessible by motor vehicles travelling on roads; tangible property used for entertainment purposes; consumer electronics used for personal use; kitchen appliances except as part of work-related temporary or seasonal lodging assistance; artwork and other objects which possess aesthetic value;


(4) Political contributions; charitable donations; scholarships; membership fees and dues in clubs and organizations; sponsorships of conferences or community events; nonproduct-related corporate image advertising; and


(5) Penalties or fines for statutory or regulatory violations; penalties or fees for any late payments on debt, loans, or other payments.


[76 FR 73869, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 83 FR 18964, May 1, 2018]


§ 54.8 Prohibition on participation: suspension and debarment.

(a) Definitions – (1) Activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism. Such matters include the receipt of funds or discounted services through one or more of these support mechanisms, or consulting with, assisting, or advising applicants or service providers regarding one or more of these support mechanisms.


(2) Civil liability. The disposition of a civil action by any court of competent jurisdiction, whether entered by verdict, decision, settlement with admission of liability, stipulation, or otherwise creating a civil liability for the wrongful acts complained of, or a final determination of liability under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1988 (31 U.S.C. 3801-12).


(3) Consultant. A person that for consideration advises or consults a person regarding the schools and libraries support mechanism, but who is not employed by the person receiving the advice or consultation.


(4) Conviction. A judgment or conviction of a criminal offense by any court of competent jurisdiction, whether entered by verdict or a plea, including a plea of nolo contendere.


(5) Debarment. Any action taken by the Commission in accordance with these regulations to exclude a person from activities associated with or relating to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism. A person so excluded is “debarred.”


(6) Person. Any individual, group of individuals, corporation, partnership, association, unit of government or legal entity, however organized.


(7) Suspension. An action taken by the Commission in accordance with these regulations that immediately excludes a person from activities associated with or relating to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism for a temporary period, pending completion of the debarment proceedings. A person so excluded is “suspended.”


(b) Suspension and debarment in general. The Commission shall suspend and debar a person for any of the causes in paragraph (c) of this section using procedures established in this section, absent extraordinary circumstances.


(c) Causes for suspension and debarment. Causes for suspension and debarment are conviction of or civil judgment for attempt or commission of criminal fraud, theft, embezzlement, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, receiving stolen property, making false claims, obstruction of justice and other fraud or criminal offense arising out of activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism.


(d) Effect of suspension and debarment. Unless otherwise ordered, any persons suspended or debarred shall be excluded from activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism. Suspension and debarment of a person other than an individual constitutes suspension and debarment of all divisions and/or other organizational elements from participation in the program for the suspension and debarment period, unless the notice of suspension and proposed debarment is limited by its terms to one or more specifically identified individuals, divisions, or other organizational elements or to specific types of transactions.


(e) Procedures for suspension and debarment. The suspension and debarment process shall proceed as follows:


(1) Upon evidence that there exists cause for suspension and debarment, the Commission shall provide prompt notice of suspension and proposed debarment to the person. Suspension shall be effective upon the earlier of receipt of notification or publication in the Federal Register.


(2) The notice shall:


(i) Give the reasons for the proposed debarment in terms sufficient to put a person on notice of the conduct or transaction(s) upon which it is based and the cause relied upon, namely, the entry of a criminal conviction or civil judgment arising out of activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism;


(ii) Explain the applicable debarment procedures;


(iii) Describe the effect of debarment.


(3) A person subject to proposed debarment, or who has an existing contract with a person subject to proposed debarment or intends to contract with such a person to provide or receive services in matters arising out of activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism may contest debarment or the scope of the proposed debarment. A person contesting debarment or the scope of proposed debarment must file arguments and any relevant documentation within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of notice or publication in the Federal Register, whichever is earlier.


(4) A person subject to proposed debarment, or who has an existing contract with a person subject to proposed debarment or intends to contract with such a person to provide or receive services in matters arising out of activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism may also contest suspension or the scope of suspension, but such action will not ordinarily be granted. A person contesting suspension or the scope of suspension must file arguments and any relevant documentation within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of notice or publication in the Federal Register, whichever is earlier.


(5) Within ninety (90) days of receipt of any information submitted by the respondent, the Commission, in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, shall provide the respondent prompt notice of the decision to debar. Debarment shall be effective upon the earlier of receipt of notice or publication in the Federal Register.


(f) Reversal or limitation of suspension or debarment. The Commission may reverse a suspension or debarment, or limit the scope or period of suspension or debarment, upon a finding of extraordinary circumstances, after due consideration following the filing of a petition by an interested party or upon motion by the Commission. Reversal of the conviction or civil judgment upon which the suspension and debarment was based is an example of extraordinary circumstances.


(g) Time period for debarment. A debarred person shall be prohibited from involvement with the schools and libraries support mechanism for three (3) years from the date of debarment. The Commission may, if necessary to protect the public interest, set a longer period of debarment or extend the existing period of debarment. If multiple convictions or judgments have been rendered, the Commission shall determine based on the facts before it whether debarments shall run concurrently or consecutively.


[68 FR 36943, June 20, 2003. Redesignated and amended at 72 FR 54218, Sept. 24, 2007]


§ 54.9 Prohibition on use of funds.

(a) USF support restriction No universal service support may be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by any company posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain.


(b) Designation of Entities Subject to Prohibition. (1) When the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) determines, either sua sponte or in response to a petition from an outside party, that a company poses a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain, PSHSB shall issue a public notice advising that such designation has been proposed as well as the basis for such designation.


(2) Upon issuance of such notice, interested parties may file comments responding to the initial designation, including proffering an opposition to the initial designation. If the initial designation is unopposed, the entity shall be deemed to pose a national security threat 31 days after the issuance of the notice. If any party opposes the initial designation, the designation shall take effect only if PSHSB determines that the affected entity should nevertheless be designated as a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain. In either case, PSHSB shall issue a second public notice announcing its final designation and the effective date of its final designation. PSHSB shall make a final designation no later than 120 days after release of its initial determination notice. PSHSB may, however, extend such 120-day deadline for good cause.


(3) PSHSB will act to reverse its designation upon a finding that an entity is no longer a threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain. A designated company, or any other interested party, may submit a petition asking PSHSB to remove a designation. PSHSB shall seek the input of Executive Branch agencies and the public upon receipt of such a petition. If the record shows that a designated company is no longer a national security threat, PSHSB shall promptly issue an order reversing its designation of that company. PSHSB may dismiss repetitive or frivolous petitions for reversal of a designation without notice and comment. If PSHSB reverses its designation, PSHSB shall issue an order announcing its decision along with the basis for its decision.


(4) PSHSB shall have discretion to revise this process or follow a different process if appropriate to the circumstances, consistent with providing affected parties an opportunity to respond and with any need to act expeditiously in individual cases.


[85 FR 249, Jan. 3, 2020]


§ 54.10 Prohibition on use of certain Federal subsidies.

(a) A Federal subsidy made available through a program administered by the Commission that provides funds to be used for the capital expenditures necessary for the provision of advanced communications service may not be used to:


(1) Purchase, rent, lease, or otherwise obtain any covered communications equipment or service; or


(2) Maintain any covered communications equipment or service previously purchased, rented, leased, or otherwise obtained.


(b) The term “covered communications equipment or service” is defined in § 1.50001 of this chapter.


(c) The prohibition in paragraph (a) of this section applies to any covered communications equipment or service beginning on the date that is 60 days after the date on which such equipment or service is placed on a published list pursuant to § 1.50003 of this chapter. In the case of any covered communications equipment or service that is on the initial list published pursuant to § 1.50002 of this chapter, such equipment or service shall be treated as being placed on the list on the date which such list is published.


[86 FR 2946, Jan. 13, 2021]


§ 54.11 Requirement to remove and replace.

(a) Each Eligible Telecommunications Carrier receiving Universal Service Fund support must certify prior to receiving a funding commitment or support that it does not use covered communications equipment or services.


(b) For the purposes of this section, covered communications equipment or services means any communications equipment or service that is on the Covered List maintained pursuant to § 1.50002 of this chapter, and:


(1) As defined in the Report and Order of the Commission in the matter of Protecting Against National Security Threats to the Communications Supply Chain Through FCC Programs (FCC 19-121; WC Docket No. 18-89; adopted November 22, 2019 (in this section referred to as the ‘Report and Order’); or


(2) as determined to be covered by both the process of the Report and Order and the Designation Orders of the Commission on June 30, 2020 (DA 20-690; PS Docket No. 19-351; adopted June 30, 2020) (DA 20-691; PS Docket No. 19-352; adopted June 30, 2020) (in this section collectively referred to as the ‘Designation Orders’).


(c) The certification referenced in paragraph (a) of this section is required starting one year after the date the Commission releases a Public Notice announcing that applications are accepted for filing in the corresponding filing window of the Reimbursement Program per § 1.50004(b) for the removal, replacement, and disposal of associated covered communications equipment and services.


(d) Reimbursement Program recipients, as defined in § 1.50001(h) of this chapter, are not subject to paragraph (a) of this section until after the expiration of their corresponding removal, replacement, and disposal term per § 1.50004(h) of this chapter for associated covered communications equipment and services.


[86 FR 2946, Jan. 13, 2021]

Subpart B – Services Designated for Support

§ 54.101 Supported services for rural, insular, and high cost areas.

(a) Voice telephony services shall be supported by Federal universal service support mechanisms. Eligible voice telephony services must provide voice grade access to the public switched network or its functional equivalent; minutes of use for local service provided at no additional charge to end users; access to the emergency services provided by local government or other public safety organizations, such as 911 and enhanced 911, to the extent the local government in an eligible carrier’s service area has implemented 911 or enhanced 911 systems; and toll limitation services to qualifying low-income consumers as provided in subpart E of this part.


(b) An eligible telecommunications carrier eligible to receive high-cost support must offer voice telephony service as set forth in paragraph (a) of this section in order to receive Federal universal service support.


(c) An eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) subject to a high-cost public interest obligation to offer broadband internet access services and not receiving Phase I frozen high-cost support must offer broadband services within the areas where it receives high-cost support consistent with the obligations set forth in this subpart and subparts D, K, L, and M of this part.


(d) Any ETC must comply with subpart E of this part.


[86 FR 1021, Jan. 7, 2021]


Subpart C – Carriers Eligible for Universal Service Support

§ 54.201 Definition of eligible telecommunications carriers, generally.

(a) Carriers eligible to receive support.


(1) Only eligible telecommunications carriers designated under this subpart shall receive universal service support distributed pursuant to subparts D and E of this part. Eligible telecommunications carriers designated under this subpart for purposes of receiving support only under subpart E of this part must provide Lifeline service directly to qualifying low-income consumers.


(2) [Reserved]


(3) This paragraph does not apply to offset or reimbursement support distributed pursuant to subpart G of this part.


(4) This paragraph does not apply to support distributed pursuant to subpart F of this part.


(b) A state commission shall upon its own motion or upon request designate a common carrier that meets the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section as an eligible telecommunications carrier for a service area designated by the state commission.


(c) Upon request and consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity, the state commission may, in the case of an area served by a rural telephone company, and shall, in the case of all other areas, designate more than one common carrier as an eligible telecommunications carrier for a service area designated by the state commission, so long as each additional requesting carrier meets the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section. Before designating an additional eligible telecommunications carrier for an area served by a rural telephone company, the state commission shall find that the designation is in the public interest.


(d) A common carrier designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier under this section shall be eligible to receive universal service support in accordance with section 254 of the Act and, except as described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, shall throughout the service area for which the designation is received:


(1) Offer the services that are supported by federal universal service support mechanisms under subpart B of this part and section 254(c) of the Act, either using its own facilities or a combination of its own facilities and resale of another carrier’s services (including the services offered by another eligible telecommunications carrier); and


(2) Advertise the availability of such services and the charges therefore using media of general distribution.


(3) Exception. Price cap carriers that serve census blocks that are identified by the forward-looking cost model as low-cost, census blocks that are served by an unsubsidized competitor as defined in § 54.5 meeting the requisite public interest obligations specified in § 54.309, or census blocks where a subsidized competitor is receiving federal high-cost support to deploy modern networks capable of providing voice and broadband to fixed locations, are not required to comply with paragraphs (d)(1) and (2) of this section in these specific geographic areas. Such price cap carriers remain obligated to maintain existing voice telephony service in these specific geographic areas unless and until a discontinuance is granted pursuant to § 63.71 of this chapter.


(e) For the purposes of this section, the term facilities means any physical components of the telecommunications network that are used in the transmission or routing of the services that are designated for support pursuant to subpart B of this part.


(f) For the purposes of this section, the term “own facilities” includes, but is not limited to, facilities obtained as unbundled network elements pursuant to part 51 of this chapter, provided that such facilities meet the definition of the term “facilities” under this subpart.


(g) A state commission shall not require a common carrier, in order to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (d)(1) of this section, to use facilities that are located within the relevant service area, as long as the carrier uses facilities to provide the services designated for support pursuant to subpart B of this part within the service area.


(h) A state commission shall not designate a common carrier as an eligible telecommunications carrier for purposes of receiving support only under subpart E of this part unless the carrier seeking such designation has demonstrated that it is financially and technically capable of providing the supported Lifeline service in compliance with subpart E of this part.


(i) A state commission shall not designate as an eligible telecommunications carrier a telecommunications carrier that offers the services supported by federal universal service support mechanisms exclusively through the resale of another carrier’s services.


[62 FR 32948, June 17, 1997, as amended at 63 FR 2125, Jan. 13, 1998; 64 FR 62123, Nov. 16, 1999; 71 FR 65750, Nov. 9, 2006; 77 FR 12966, Mar. 2, 2012; 80 FR 4476, Jan. 27, 2015; 80 FR 40935, July 14, 2015; 81 FR 33089, May 24, 2016; 84 FR 71327, Dec. 27, 2019]


§ 54.202 Additional requirements for Commission designation of eligible telecommunications carriers.

(a) In order to be designated an eligible telecommunications carrier under section 214(e)(6), any common carrier in its application must:


(1)(i) Certify that it will comply with the service requirements applicable to the support that it receives.


(ii) Submit a five-year plan that describes with specificity proposed improvements or upgrades to the applicant’s network throughout its proposed service area. Each applicant shall estimate the area and population that will be served as a result of the improvements. Except, a common carrier seeking designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier in order to provide supported services only under subpart E of this part does not need to submit such a five-year plan.


(2) Demonstrate its ability to remain functional in emergency situations, including a demonstration that it has a reasonable amount of back-up power to ensure functionality without an external power source, is able to reroute traffic around damaged facilities, and is capable of managing traffic spikes resulting from emergency situations.


(3) Demonstrate that it will satisfy applicable consumer protection and service quality standards. A commitment by wireless applicants to comply with the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association’s Consumer Code for Wireless Service will satisfy this requirement. Other commitments will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


(4) For common carriers seeking designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier for purposes of receiving support only under subpart E of this part, demonstrate that it is financially and technically capable of providing the Lifeline service in compliance with subpart E of this part.


(5) For common carriers seeking designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier for purposes of receiving support only under subpart E of this part, submit information describing the terms and conditions of any voice telephony service plans offered to Lifeline subscribers, including details on the number of minutes provided as part of the plan, additional charges, if any, for toll calls, and rates for each such plan. To the extent the eligible telecommunications carrier offers plans to Lifeline subscribers that are generally available to the public, it may provide summary information regarding such plans, such as a link to a public Web site outlining the terms and conditions of such plans.


(6) For common carriers seeking designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier for purposes of receiving support only under subpart E of this part, submit information describing the terms and conditions of any broadband Internet access service plans offered to Lifeline subscribers, including details on the speeds offered, data usage allotments, additional charges for particular uses, if any, and rates for each such plan. To the extent the eligible telecommunications carrier offers plans to Lifeline subscribers that are generally available to the public, it may provide summary information regarding such plans, such as a link to a public Web site outlining the terms and conditions of such plans.


(b) Public interest standard. Prior to designating an eligible telecommunications carrier pursuant to section 214(e)(6), the Commission determines that such designation is in the public interest.


(c) A common carrier seeking designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier under section 214(e)(6) for any part of Tribal lands shall provide a copy of its petition to the affected tribal government and tribal regulatory authority, as applicable, at the time it files its petition with the Federal Communications Commission. In addition, the Commission shall send any public notice seeking comment on any petition for designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier on Tribal lands, at the time it is released, to the affected tribal government and tribal regulatory authority, as applicable, by the most expeditious means available.


[77 FR 12966, Mar. 2, 2012, as amended at 81 FR 33089, May 24, 2016; 84 FR 71327, Dec. 27, 2019]


§ 54.203 Designation of eligible telecommunications carriers for unserved areas.

(a) If no common carrier will provide the services that are supported by federal universal service support mechanisms under section 254(c) of the Act and subpart B of this part to an unserved community or any portion thereof that requests such service, the Commission, with respect to interstate services, or a state commission, with respect to intrastate services, shall determine which common carrier or carriers are best able to provide such service to the requesting unserved community or portion thereof and shall order such carrier or carriers to provide such service for that unserved community or portion thereof.


(b) Any carrier or carriers ordered to provide such service under this section shall meet the requirements of section 54.201(d) and shall be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier for that community or portion thereof.


§ 54.205 Relinquishment of universal service.

(a) A state commission shall permit an eligible telecommunications carrier to relinquish its designation as such a carrier in any area served by more than one eligible telecommunications carrier. An eligible telecommunications carrier that seeks to relinquish its eligible telecommunications carrier designation for an area served by more than one eligible telecommunications carrier shall give advance notice to the state commission of such relinquishment.


(b) Prior to permitting a telecommunications carrier designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier to cease providing universal service in an area served by more than one eligible telecommunications carrier, the state commission shall require the remaining eligible telecommunications carrier or carriers to ensure that all customers served by the relinquishing carrier will continue to be served, and shall require sufficient notice to permit the purchase or construction of adequate facilities by any remaining eligible telecommunications carrier. The state commission shall establish a time, not to exceed one year after the state commission approves such relinquishment under this section, within which such purchase or construction shall be completed.


[81 FR 33089, May 24, 2016, as amended at 84 FR 71327, Dec. 27, 2019]


§ 54.207 Service areas.

(a) The term service area means a geographic area established by a state commission for the purpose of determining universal service obligations and support mechanisms. A service area defines the overall area for which the carrier shall receive support from federal universal service support mechanisms.


(b) In the case of a service area served by a rural telephone company, service area means such company’s “study area” unless and until the Commission and the states, after taking into account recommendations of a Federal-State Joint Board instituted under section 410(c) of the Act, establish a different definition of service area for such company.


(c) If a state commission proposes to define a service area served by a rural telephone company to be other than such company’s study area, the Commission will consider that proposed definition in accordance with the procedures set forth in this paragraph.


(1) A state commission or other party seeking the Commission’s agreement in redefining a service area served by a rural telephone company shall submit a petition to the Commission. The petition shall contain:


(i) The definition proposed by the state commission; and


(ii) The state commission’s ruling or other official statement presenting the state commission’s reasons for adopting its proposed definition, including an analysis that takes into account the recommendations of any Federal-State Joint Board convened to provide recommendations with respect to the definition of a service area served by a rural telephone company.


(2) The Commission shall issue a Public Notice of any such petition within fourteen (14) days of its receipt.


(3) The Commission may initiate a proceeding to consider the petition within ninety (90) days of the release date of the Public Notice.


(i) If the Commission initiates a proceeding to consider the petition, the proposed definition shall not take effect until both the state commission and the Commission agree upon the definition of a rural service area, in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section and section 214(e)(5) of the Act.


(ii) If the Commission does not act on the petition within ninety (90) days of the release date of the Public Notice, the definition proposed by the state commission will be deemed approved by the Commission and shall take effect in accordance with state procedures.


(d) The Commission may, on its own motion, initiate a proceeding to consider a definition of a service area served by a rural telephone company that is different from that company’s study area. If it proposes such different definition, the Commission shall seek the agreement of the state commission according to this paragraph.


(1) The Commission shall submit a petition to the state commission according to that state commission’s procedures. The petition submitted to the relevant state commission shall contain:


(i) The definition proposed by the Commission; and


(ii) The Commission’s decision presenting its reasons for adopting the proposed definition, including an analysis that takes into account the recommendations of any Federal-State Joint Board convened to provide recommendations with respect to the definition of a service area served by a rural telephone company.


(2) The Commission’s proposed definition shall not take effect until both the state commission and the Commission agree upon the definition of a rural service area, in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section and section 214(e)(5) of the Act.


(e) The Commission delegates its authority under paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section to the Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau.


(f) Geographic flexibility provided for mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carriers receiving legacy high-cost support. A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier receiving legacy high-cost support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (6), or (7) for a particular subsidized service area may use the support for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services within any of the designated service areas for which it or an affiliated mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier (e.g., where several mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carriers share a common holding company) receives legacy high-cost support regardless of whether the service areas span more than one state or territory. This paragraph does not affect a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier’s obligations and requirements pursuant to §§ 54.7 and 54.322.


[62 FR 32948, June 17, 1997, as amended at 67 FR 13226, Mar. 21, 2002; 85 FR 75817, Nov. 25, 2020]


Subpart D – Universal Service Support for High Cost Areas

§ 54.302 Monthly per-line limit on universal service support.

(a) Beginning July 1, 2012 and until June 30, 2013, each study area’s universal service monthly support (not including Connect America Fund support provided pursuant to § 54.304) on a per-line basis shall not exceed $250 per-line plus two-thirds of the difference between its uncapped per-line monthly support and $250. Beginning July 1, 2013 and until June 30, 2014, each study area’s universal service monthly support on a per-line basis shall not exceed $250 per-line plus one third of the difference between its uncapped per-line monthly support and $250. Beginning July 1, 2014, each study area’s universal service monthly per-line support shall not exceed $250. Beginning July 1, 2019, until June 30, 2021, each study area’s universal service monthly per-line support shall not exceed $225. Beginning July 1, 2021, each study area’s universal service monthly per-line support shall not exceed $200.


(b) For purposes of this section, universal service support is defined as the sum of the amounts calculated pursuant to §§ 54.1304, 54.1310, 54.305, and 54.901 through 54.904. Line counts for purposes of this section shall be as of the most recent line counts reported pursuant to § 54.903(a)(1).


(c) The Administrator, in order to limit support for carriers pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, shall reduce safety net additive support, high-cost loop support, safety valve support, and Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support in proportion to the relative amounts of each support the study area would receive absent such limitation.


[76 FR 73870, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 79 FR 39188, July 9, 2014; 82 FR 14339, Mar. 20, 2017; 84 FR 4730, Feb. 19, 2019]


§ 54.303 Eligible Capital Investment and Operating Expenses.

(a) Eligible Operating Expenses. Each study area’s eligible operating expenses for purposes of calculating universal service support pursuant to subparts K and M of this part shall be adjusted as follows:


(1) Total eligible annual operating expenses per location shall be limited as follows: Calculate Exp(Y
+ 1.5 * mean square error of the regression), where


Y
= α
+ β
1X1 + β
2X2 + β
3X3


α
, β
1, β
2, and β
3 are the coefficients from the regression,

X1 is the natural log of the number of housing units in the study area,

X2 is the natural log of the number of density (number of housing units per square mile), and

X3 is the square of the natural log of the density

(2) Eligible operating expenses are the sum of Cable and Wire Facilities Expense, Central Office Equipment Expense, Network Support and General Expense, Network Operations Expense, Limited Corporate Operations Expense, Information Origination/Termination Expense, Other Property Plant and Equipment Expenses, Customer Operations Expense: Marketing, and Customer Operations Expense: Services.


(3) For purposes of this section, the number of housing units will be determined per the most recently available U.S Census data for each census block in that study area. If a census block is partially within a study area, the number of housing units in that portion of the census block will be determined based upon the percentage geographic area of the census block within the study area.


(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, total eligible annual operating expenses for 2016 will be limited to the total eligible annual operating expenses as defined in this section plus one half of the amount of total eligible annual expense as calculated prior to the application of this section.


(5) For any study area subject to the limitation described in this paragraph, a required percentage reduction will be calculated for that study area’s total eligible annual operating expenses. Each category or account used to determine that study area’s total eligible annual operating expenses will then be reduced by this required percentage reduction.


(6) For a period of five years following the implementation of paragraph (a) of this section, the total eligible annual operating expenses per location in paragraph (a) shall be adjusted annually to account for changes to the Department of Commerce’s Gross Domestic Product Chain-type Price Index (GDP-CPI).


(7) For those study areas where a majority of the housing units are on Tribal lands, as determined by the Wireline Competition Bureau, and meet the following conditions, total eligible annual operating expenses per location shall be limited by calculating Exp (Ŷ + 2.5 * mean square error of the regression): The carrier serving the study area has not deployed broadband service of 10 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload to 90 percent or more of the housing units on the Tribal lands in its study area and unsubsidized competitors have not deployed broadband service of 10 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload to 85 percent or more of the housing units on the Tribal lands in its study area.


(b) [Reserved]


[81 FR 24337, Apr. 25, 2016, as amended at 82 FR 14339, Mar. 20, 2017; 82 FR 16127, Apr. 3, 2017; 82 FR 22903, May 19, 2017; 83 FR 18964, May 1, 2018 ;83 FR 30884, July 2, 2018; 84 FR 4730, Feb. 19, 2019]


§ 54.304 Administration of Connect America Fund Intercarrier Compensation Replacement.

(a) The Administrator shall administer CAF ICC support pursuant to § 51.915 and § 51.917 of this chapter.


(b) The funding period is the period beginning July 1 through June 30 of the following year.


(c) For price cap carriers that are eligible and elect, pursuant to § 51.915(f) of this chapter, to receive CAF ICC support, the following provisions govern the filing of data with the Administrator, the Commission, and the relevant state commissions and the payment by the Administrator to those carriers of CAF ICC support amounts that the carrier is eligible to receive pursuant to § 51.915 of this chapter.


(1) A Price Cap Carrier seeking CAF ICC support pursuant to § 51.915 of this chapter shall file data with the Administrator, the Commission, and the relevant state commissions no later than June 30, 2012, for the first year, and on the date it files its annual access tariff filing with the Commission, in subsequent years, establishing the amount of the Price Cap Carrier’s eligible CAF ICC funding during the upcoming funding period pursuant to § 51.915 of this chapter. The amount shall include any true-ups, pursuant to § 51.915 of this chapter, associated with an earlier funding period.


(2) The Administrator shall monthly pay each price cap carrier one-twelfth (1/12) of the amount the carrier is eligible to receive during that funding period.


(d) For rate-of-return carriers that are eligible and elect, pursuant to § 51.917(f) of this chapter, to receive CAF ICC support, the following provisions govern the filing of data with the Administrator, the Commission, and the relevant state commissions and the payment by the Administrator to those carriers of CAF ICC support amounts that the rate-of-return carrier is eligible to receive pursuant to § 51.917 of this chapter.


(1) A Rate-of-Return Carrier seeking CAF ICC support shall file data with the Administrator, the Commission, and the relevant state commissions no later than June 30, 2012, for the first year, and on the date it files its annual access tariff filing with the Commission, in subsequent years, establishing the Rate-of-Return Carrier’s projected eligibility for CAF ICC funding during the upcoming funding period pursuant to § 51.917 of this chapter. The projected amount shall include any true-ups, pursuant to § 51.917 of this chapter, associated with an earlier funding period.


(2) The Administrator shall monthly pay each rate-of-return carrier one-twelfth (1/12) of the amount the carrier is to be eligible to receive during that funding period.


[76 FR 73871, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 78 FR 26268, May 6, 2013]


§ 54.305 Sale or transfer of exchanges.

(a) The provisions of this section shall not be used to determine support for any price cap incumbent local exchange carrier or a rate-of-return carrier, as that term is defined in § 54.5, that is affiliated with a price cap incumbent local exchange carrier.


(b) Beginning January 1, 2012, any carrier subject to the provisions of this paragraph shall receive support pursuant to this paragraph or support based on the actual costs of the acquired exchanges, whichever is less. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, a carrier that acquires telephone exchanges from an unaffiliated carrier shall receive universal service support for the acquired exchanges at the same per-line support levels for which those exchanges were eligible prior to the transfer of the exchanges. If the acquired exchanges are incorporated into an existing rural incumbent local exchange carrier study area, the rural incumbent local exchange carrier shall maintain the costs associated with the acquired exchanges separate from the costs associated with its pre-acquisition study area. The transferred exchanges may be eligible for safety valve support for loop related costs pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section.


(c) A carrier that has entered into a binding agreement to buy or acquire exchanges from an unaffiliated carrier prior to May 7, 1997 will receive universal service support for the newly acquired lines based upon the average cost of all of its lines, both those newly acquired and those it had prior to execution of the sales agreement.


(d) Transferred exchanges in study areas operated by rural telephone companies that are subject to the limitations on loop-related universal service support in paragraph (b) of this section may be eligible for a safety valve loop cost expense adjustment based on the difference between the rural incumbent local exchange carrier’s index year expense adjustment and subsequent year loop cost expense adjustments for the acquired exchanges. Safety valve loop cost expense adjustments shall only be available to rural incumbent local exchange carriers that, in the absence of restrictions on high-cost loop support in paragraph (b) of this section, would qualify for high-cost loop support for the acquired exchanges under § 54.1310.


(1) For carriers that buy or acquire telephone exchanges on or after January 10, 2005, from an unaffiliated carrier, the index year expense adjustment for the acquiring carrier’s first year of operation shall equal the selling carrier’s loop-related expense adjustment for the transferred exchanges for the 12-month period prior to the transfer of the exchanges. At the acquiring carrier’s option, the first year of operation for the transferred exchanges, for purposes of calculating safety valve support, shall commence at the beginning of either the first calendar year or the next calendar quarter following the transfer of exchanges. For the first year of operation, a loop cost expense adjustment, using the costs of the acquired exchanges submitted in accordance with §§ 54.1305 and 54.1306, shall be calculated pursuant to § 54.1310 and then compared to the index year expense adjustment. Safety valve support for the first period of operation will then be calculated pursuant to paragraph (d)(3) of this section. The index year expense adjustment for years after the first year of operation shall be determined using cost data for the first year of operation of the transferred exchanges. Such cost data for the first year of operation shall be calculated in accordance with §§ 54.1305, 54.1306, and 54.1310. For each year, ending on the same calendar quarter as the first year of operation, a loop cost expense adjustment, using the loop costs of the acquired exchanges, shall be submitted and calculated pursuant to §§ 54.1305, 54.1306, and 54.1310 and will be compared to the index year expense adjustment. Safety valve support for the second year of operation and thereafter will then be calculated pursuant to paragraph (d)(3) of this section.


(2) For carriers that bought or acquired exchanges from an unaffiliated carrier before January 10, 2005, and are not subject to the exception in paragraph (c) of this section, the index year expense adjustment for acquired exchange(s) shall be equal to the rural incumbent local exchange carrier’s high-cost loop expense adjustment for the acquired exchanges calculated for the carrier’s first year of operation of the acquired exchange(s). At the carrier’s option, the first year of operation of the transferred exchanges shall commence at the beginning of either the first calendar year or the next calendar quarter following the transfer of exchanges. The index year expense adjustment shall be determined using cost data for the acquired exchange(s) submitted in accordance with §§ 54.1305 and 54.1306 and shall be calculated in accordance with § 54.1310. The index year expense adjustment for rural telephone companies that have operated exchanges subject to this section for more than a full year on August 8, 2014 shall be based on loop cost data submitted in accordance with § 54.1306 for the year ending on the nearest calendar quarter following August 8, 2014. For each subsequent year, ending on the same calendar quarter as the index year, a loop cost expense adjustment, using the costs of the acquired exchanges, will be calculated pursuant to § 54.1310 and will be compared to the index year expense adjustment. Safety valve support is calculated pursuant to paragraph (d)(3) of this section.


(3) Up to fifty (50) percent of any positive difference between the transferred exchanges loop cost expense adjustment and the index year expense adjustment will be designated as the transferred exchange’s safety valve loop cost expense adjustment and will be available in addition to the per-line loop-related support transferred from the selling carrier to the acquiring carrier pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section. In no event shall a study area’s safety valve loop cost expense adjustment exceed the difference between the carrier’s study area loop cost expense adjustment calculated pursuant to § 54.1310 and transferred support amounts available to the acquired exchange(s) under paragraph (b) of this section. Safety valve support shall not transfer with acquired exchanges.


(e) The sum of the safety valve loop cost expense adjustment for all eligible study areas operated by rural telephone companies shall not exceed five (5) percent of the total rural incumbent local exchange carrier portion of the annual nationwide loop cost expense adjustment calculated pursuant to § 54.1302. The five (5) percent cap on the safety valve mechanism shall be based on the lesser of the rural incumbent local exchange carrier portion of the annual nationwide loop cost expense adjustment calculated pursuant to § 54.1302 or the sum of rural incumbent local exchange carrier expense adjustments calculated pursuant to § 54.1310. The percentage multiplier used to derive study area safety valve loop cost expense adjustments for rural telephone companies shall be the lesser of fifty (50) percent or a percentage calculated to produce the maximum total safety valve loop cost expense adjustment for all eligible study areas pursuant to this paragraph. The safety valve loop cost expense adjustment of an individual rural incumbent local exchange carrier also may be further reduced as described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.


(f) Once an acquisition is complete, the acquiring rural incumbent local exchange carrier shall provide written notice to the Administrator that it has acquired access lines that may be eligible for safety valve support. Rural telephone companies also shall provide written notice to the Administrator defining their index year for those years after the first year of operation for purposes of calculating the safety valve loop cost expense adjustment.


[70 FR 10060, Mar. 2, 2005, as amended at 76 FR 73871, Nov. 29, 2011; 79 FR 39188, July 9, 2014; 81 FR 24339, Apr. 25, 2016]


§ 54.306 Alaska Plan for Rate-of-Return Carriers Serving Alaska.

(a) Election of support. For purposes of subparts A, B, C, D, H, I, J, K and M of this part, rate-of-return carriers (as that term is defined in § 54.5) serving Alaska have a one-time option to elect to participate in the Alaska Plan on a state-wide basis. Carriers exercising this option shall receive the lesser of;


(1) Support as described in paragraph (c) of this section or


(2) $3,000 annually for each line for which the carrier is receiving support as of the effective date of this rule.


(b) Performance plans. In order to receive support pursuant to this section, a rate-of-return carrier must be subject to a performance plan approved by the Wireline Competition Bureau. The performance plan must indicate specific deployment obligations and performance requirements sufficient to demonstrate that support is being used in the public interest and in accordance with the requirements adopted by the Commission for the Alaska Plan. Performance plans must commit to offer specified minimum speeds to a set number of locations by the end of the fifth year of support and by the end of the tenth year of support, or in the alternative commit to maintaining voice and Internet service at a specified minimum speeds for the 10-year term. The Bureau may reassess performance plans at the end of the fifth year of support. If the specific deployment obligations and performance requirements in the approved performance plan are not achieved, the carrier shall be subject to § 54.320(c) and (d).


(c) Support amounts and support term. For a period of 10 years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, at a date set by the Wireline Competition Bureau, each Alaska Plan participant shall receive monthly Alaska Plan support in an amount equal to:


(1) One-twelfth (1/12) of the amount of Interstate Common Line Support disbursed to that carrier for 2011, less any reduction made to that carrier’s support in 2012 pursuant to the corporate operations expense limit in effect in 2012, and without regard to prior period adjustments related to years other than 2011 and as determined by USAC on January 31, 2012; plus


(2) One-twelfth (1/12) of the total expense adjustment (high cost loop support) disbursed to that carrier for 2011, without regard to prior period adjustments related to years other than 2011 and as determined by USAC on January 31, 2012.


(d) Transfers. Notwithstanding any provisions of § 54.305 or other sections in this part, to the extent an Alaska Plan participant (as defined in § 54.306 or § 54.317) transfers some or all of its customers in Alaska to another eligible telecommunications carrier, it may also transfer a proportionate amount of its Alaska Plan support and any associated performance obligations as determined by the Wireline Competition Bureau or Wireless Telecommunications Bureau if the acquiring eligible telecommunications carrier certifies it will meet the associated obligations agreed to in the approved performance plan.


[81 FR 69712, Oct. 7, 2016]


§ 54.307 Support to a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier.

(a) Calculation of support. A competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive universal service support to the extent that the competitive eligible telecommunications carrier captures the subscriber lines of an incumbent local exchange carrier (LEC) or serves new subscriber lines in the incumbent LEC’s service area.


(1) A competitive eligible telecommunications carrier serving loops in the service area of a rural incumbent local exchange carrier, as that term is defined in § 54.5 of this chapter, shall receive support for each line it serves in a particular service area based on the support the incumbent LEC would receive for each such line, disaggregated by cost zone if disaggregation zones have been established within the service area pursuant to § 54.315 of this subpart. A competitive eligible telecommunications carrier serving loops in the service area of a non-rural incumbent local exchange carrier shall receive support for each line it serves in a particular wire center based on the support the incumbent LEC would receive for each such line. A competitive eligible telecommunications carrier serving loops in the service area of a rate-of-return carrier shall be eligible to receive Interstate Common Line Support for each line it serves in the service area in accordance with the formula in § 54.901.


(2) A competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that uses switching purchased as unbundled network elements pursuant to § 51.307 of this chapter to provide the supported services shall receive the lesser of the unbundled network element price for switching or the per-line DEM support of the incumbent LEC, if any. A competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that uses loops purchased as unbundled network elements pursuant to § 51.307 of this chapter to provide the supported services shall receive the lesser of the unbundled network element price for the loop or the incumbent LEC’s per-line payment from the high-cost loop support, LTS, and Interstate Common Line Support mechanisms, if any. The incumbent LEC providing nondiscriminatory access to unbundled network elements to such competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive the difference between the level of universal service support provided to the competitive eligible telecommunications carrier and the per-customer level of support that the incumbent LEC would have received.


(3) A competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that provides the supported services using neither unbundled network elements purchased pursuant to § 51.307 of this chapter nor wholesale service purchased pursuant to section 251(c)(4) of the Act will receive the full amount of universal service support that the incumbent LEC would have received for that customer.


(b) In order to receive support pursuant to this subpart, a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier must report to the Administrator the number of working loops it serves in a service area pursuant to the schedule set forth in paragraph (c) of this section. For a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier serving loops in the service area of a rural incumbent local exchange carrier, as that term is defined in § 54.5, the carrier must report, by customer class, the number of working loops it serves in the service area, disaggregated by cost zone if disaggregation zones have been established within the service area pursuant to § 54.315. For a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier serving loops in the service area of a non-rural telephone company, the carrier must report the number of working loops it serves in the service area, by customer class if the non-rural telephone company receives Interstate Common Line Support pursuant to § 54.901 and by disaggregation zone if disaggregation zones have been established within the service area pursuant to § 54.315 of this subpart, and the number of working loops it serves in each wire center in the service area. For universal service support purposes, working loops are defined as the number of working Exchange Line C&WF loops used jointly for exchange and message telecommunications service, including C&WF subscriber lines associated with pay telephones in C&WF Category 1, but excluding WATS closed end access and TWX service. Competitive eligible telecommunications carriers providing mobile wireless service in an incumbent LEC’s service area shall use the customer’s billing address for purposes of identifying the service location of a mobile wireless customer in a service area.


(c) A competitive eligible telecommunications carrier must submit the data required pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section according to the schedule.


(1) No later than July 31st of each year, submit data as of December 31st of the previous calendar year;


(2) No later than September 30th of each year, submit data as of March 31st of the existing calendar year;


(3) No later than December 30th of each year, submit data as of June 30th of the existing calendar year;


(4) No later than March 30th of each year, submit data as of September 30th of the previous calendar year.


(d) Newly designated eligible telecommunications carriers. Notwithstanding the deadlines in paragraph (c) of this section, a carrier shall be eligible to receive support as of the effective date of its designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier under section 214(e)(2) or (e)(6), provided that it submits the data required pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section within 60 days of that effective date. Thereafter, the eligible telecommunications carrier must submit the data required in paragraph (b) of this section pursuant to the schedule in paragraph (c) of this section.


(e) Support Beginning January 1, 2012. Competitive eligible telecommunications carriers will, beginning January 1, 2012, receive support based on the methodology described in this paragraph and not based on paragraph (a) of this section.


(1) Baseline Support Amount. Each competitive eligible telecommunication carrier will have a “baseline support amount” equal to its total 2011 support in a given study area, or an amount equal to $3,000 times the number of reported lines for 2011, whichever is lower. Each competitive eligible telecommunications carrier will have a “monthly baseline support amount” equal to its baseline support amount divided by twelve.


(i) “Total 2011 support” is the amount of support disbursed to a competitive eligible telecommunication carrier for 2011, without regard to prior period adjustments related to years other than 2011 and as determined by the Administrator on January 31, 2012.


(ii) For the purpose of calculating the $3,000 per line limit, the average of lines reported by a competitive eligible telecommunication carrier pursuant to line count filings required for December 31, 2010, and December 31, 2011 shall be used. The $3,000 per line limit shall be applied to support amounts determined for each incumbent study area served by the competitive eligible telecommunications carrier.


(2) Monthly support amounts. Competitive eligible telecommunications carriers shall receive the following support amounts, except as provided in paragraphs (e)(3) through (7) of this section.


(i) From January 1, 2012, to June 30, 2012, each competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive its monthly baseline support amount each month.


(ii) From July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, each competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive 80 percent of its monthly baseline support amount each month.


(iii) Beginning July 1, 2013, each competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive 60 percent of its monthly baseline support amount each month.


(3) Delayed Phase Down for Remote Areas in Alaska. Certain competitive eligible telecommunications carriers serving remote areas in Alaska shall have their support phased down on a later schedule than that described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section.


(i) Remote Areas in Alaska. For the purpose of this paragraph, “remote areas in Alaska” includes all of Alaska except;


(A) The ACS-Anchorage incumbent study area;


(B) The ACS-Juneau incumbent study area;


(C) The fairbankszone1 disaggregation zone in the ACS-Fairbanks incumbent study area; and


(D) The Chugiak 1 and 2 and Eagle River 1 and 2 disaggregation zones of the Matunuska Telephone Association incumbent study area.


(ii) Carriers Subject to Delayed Phase Down. A competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall be subject to the delayed phase down described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section to the extent that it serves remote areas in Alaska, and it certified that it served covered locations in its September 30, 2011, filing of line counts with the Administrator. To the extent a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier serving Alaska is not subject to the delayed phase down, it will be subject to the phase down of support on the schedule described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section.


(iii) Baseline for Delayed Phase Down. For purpose of the delayed phase down for remote areas in Alaska, the baseline amount for each competitive eligible telecommunications carrier subject to the delayed phase down shall be the annualized monthly support amount received for June 2014 or the last full month prior to the implementation of Mobility Fund Phase II, whichever is later.


(iv) Monthly Support Amounts. Competitive eligible telecommunications carriers subject to the delayed phase down for remote areas in Alaska shall receive the following support amounts, except as provided in paragraphs (e)(4) through (e)(6) of this section.


(A) From July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, each competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive 80 percent of its monthly baseline support amount each month.


(B) From July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, each competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive 60 percent of its monthly baseline support amount each month.


(C) From July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, each competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive 40 percent of its monthly baseline support amount each month.


(D) From July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, each competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive 20 percent of its monthly baseline support amount each month.


(E) Beginning July 1, 2018, no competitive eligible telecommunications carrier serving remote areas in Alaska shall receive universal service support pursuant to this section.


(v) Interim Support for Remote Areas in Alaska. From January 1, 2012, until June 30, 2014 or the last full month prior to the implementation of Mobility Fund Phase II, whichever is later, competitive eligible telecommunications carriers subject to the delayed phase down for remote areas in Alaska shall continue to receive the support, as calculated by the Administrator, that each competitive telecommunications carrier would have received under the frozen per-line support amount as of December 31, 2011 capped at $3,000 per year, provided that the total amount of support for all such competitive eligible telecommunications carriers shall be capped pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(v)(A) of this section.


(A) Cap Amount. The total amount of support available on an annual basis for competitive eligible telecommunications carriers subject to the delayed phase down for remote areas in Alaska shall be equal to the sum of “total 2011 support,” as defined in paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section, received by all competitive eligible telecommunications carriers subject to the delayed phase down for serving remote areas in Alaska.


(B) Reduction Factor. To effectuate the cap, the Administrator shall apply a reduction factor as necessary to the support that would otherwise be received by all competitive eligible telecommunications carriers serving remote areas in Alaska subject to the delayed phase down. The reduction factor will be calculated by dividing the total amount of support available amount by the total support amount calculated for those carriers in the absence of the cap.


(4) Further reductions. If a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier ceases to provide services to high-cost areas it had previously served, the Commission may reduce its baseline support amount.


(5) Eligibility for interim support before 5G Fund Phase I auction. Beginning the first day of the month following the effective date of the Report and Order, FCC 20-150, a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives support pursuant to paragraph (a) or (e)(2) of this section shall no longer receive such support and shall instead receive support as described in this paragraph.


(i) A competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that is not a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier, as that term is defined in § 54.5, shall no longer receive monthly baseline support.


(ii) Until the first day of the month following the release of a public notice by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau announcing the final areas eligible for support in the 5G Fund Phase I auction:


(A) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives support pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section shall receive “monthly baseline support” in an amount equal to one-twelfth (
1/12) of its total support received for the preceding 12-month period.


(B) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives support pursuant to paragraph (e)(2) of this section shall receive support at the same level described in paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section.


(iii) Beginning the first day of the month following the release of a public notice by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau announcing the final areas eligible for support in the 5G Fund Phase I auction and until the first day of the month following release of a public notice announcing the close of the 5G Fund Phase I auction, a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives support pursuant to paragraph (e)(5)(ii) of this section for any such eligible area shall receive an adjusted, disaggregated amount of monthly support for that area, which shall be calculated by multiplying the monthly support level described in paragraph (e)(5)(ii) of this section by the areal percentage of the eligible portion of the competitive eligible telecommunications carrier’s service area, weighted by applying the 5G Fund adjustment factor methodology and values adopted by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau and announced in a public notice.


(iv) Beginning the first day of the month following the release of a public notice by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau announcing the final areas eligible for support in the 5G Fund Phase I auction, a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives support pursuant paragraph (e)(5)(ii) of this section for any ineligible area shall receive an adjusted, disaggregated amount of monthly support for that area, which shall be calculated by multiplying the monthly support level described in paragraph (e)(5)(ii) of this section by the areal percentage of the ineligible portion of the competitive eligible telecommunications carrier’s service area, weighted by applying the 5G Fund adjustment factor methodology and values adopted by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau and announced in a public notice, and reduced as follows:


(A) For the first 12 months, each mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive monthly support that is two-thirds (
2/3) of the level described in paragraph (e)(5)(iv) of this section for the ineligible area.


(B) For 12 months starting the first day of the month following the period described in paragraph (e)(5)(iv)(A) of this section, each mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive monthly support that is one-third (
1/3) of the level described in paragraphs (e)(5)(iv) of this section for the ineligible area.


(C) Following the period described in paragraph (e)(5)(iv)(B) of this section, no mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive monthly support for any ineligible area pursuant to this section.


(6) Eligibility for support after 5G Fund Phase I auction. (i) Notwithstanding the schedule described in paragraph (e)(5)(iii) of this section, a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to paragraph (e)(5)(iii) of this section and is a winning bidder in the 5G Fund Phase I auction shall continue to receive support at the same level it was receiving support for such area at the time of the release of a public notice announcing the close of the 5G Fund Phase I auction until such time as the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau determine whether or not to authorize the carrier to receive 5G Fund Phase I support.


(A) Upon the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau’s release of a public notice approving a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier’s application for support submitted pursuant to § 54.1014(b) and authorizing the carrier to receive 5G Fund Phase I support, the carrier shall no longer receive support at the level of monthly support described in paragraph (e)(5)(iii) of this section for such area. Thereafter, the carrier shall receive monthly support in the amount of its 5G Fund Phase I winning bid pursuant to § 54.1017, provided that the Administrator shall decrease the amount of the carrier’s support to the extent necessary to account for any support the carrier received during the period between the close of the 5G Fund Phase I auction and the release of the public notice authorizing the carrier to receive 5G Fund Phase I support.


(B) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that is a winning bidder in the 5G Fund Phase I auction but is not subsequently authorized to receive 5G Fund Phase I support shall no longer receive support at the level of monthly support described in paragraph (e)(5)(iii) of this section for such area following the determination not to authorize the carrier for 5G Fund Phase I support. Thereafter, the carrier shall receive monthly support as set forth in paragraph (e)(6)(iv) of this section for such area, provided that the Administrator shall decrease the amount of the carrier’s support to the extent necessary to account for any support the carrier received during the period between the close of the 5G Fund Phase I auction and the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau’s authorization determination.


(ii) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that does not receive monthly support pursuant to this section and is a winning bidder in the 5G Fund Phase I auction shall receive monthly support pursuant to § 54.1017.


(iii) A mobile eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to paragraph (e)(5)(iii) of this section for an area for which support is not won in the 5G Fund Phase I auction shall continue to receive support at the level of monthly support described in paragraph (e)(5)(iii) of this section provided that it is the carrier receiving the minimum level of sustainable support for the area, but for no more than 60 months from the first day of the month following the release of a public notice by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau announcing the close of the 5G Fund Phase I auction. The “minimum level of sustainable support” is the lowest monthly support received by a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier for the area that has deployed the highest level of technology (e.g., 5G) within the state encompassing the area.


(iv) All other mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carriers that receive monthly support pursuant to paragraph (e)(5)(iii) of this section for eligible areas shall instead receive the following monthly support amounts for such areas:


(A) For 12 months starting the first day of the month following release of a public notice announcing the close of the 5G Fund Phase I auction, each mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive monthly support that is two-thirds (
2/3) of the level described in paragraph (e)(5)(iii) of this section for the area.


(B) For 12 months starting the month following the period described in paragraph (e)(6)(iv)(A) of this section, each mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive monthly support that is one-third (
1/3) of the level described in paragraph (e)(5)(iii) of this section for the area.


(C) Following the period described in paragraph (e)(6)(iv)(B) of this section, no mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive monthly support for the area pursuant to this section.


(7) Eligibility for support after 5G Fund Phase II auction. (i) Notwithstanding the schedule described in paragraphs (e)(6)(iii) or (iv) of this section, a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to paragraphs (e)(6)(iii) or (iv) of this section, as applicable, and is a winning bidder in the 5G Fund Phase II auction shall receive support at the same level it was receiving support for such area at the time of the release of a public notice announcing the close of the 5G Fund Phase II auction until such time as the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau determine whether or not to authorize the carrier to receive 5G Fund Phase II support.


(A) Upon the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau’s release of a public notice approving a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier’s application for support submitted pursuant to § 54.1014(b) and authorizing the carrier to receive 5G Fund Phase II support, the carrier shall no longer receive support at the level of monthly support pursuant to this section for such area. Thereafter, the carrier shall receive monthly support in the amount of its 5G Fund Phase II winning bid pursuant to § 54.1017, provided that the Administrator shall decrease the amount of the carrier’s support to the extent necessary to account for any support the carrier received during the period between the close of the 5G Fund Phase II auction and the release of the public notice authorizing the carrier to receive 5G Fund Phase II support.


(B) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that is a winning bidder in the 5G Fund Phase II auction but is not subsequently authorized to receive 5G Fund Phase II support shall no longer receive support at the level of monthly support pursuant to paragraph (e)(6)(iii) or (iv) of this section for such area, as applicable, following the determination not to authorize the carrier for 5G Fund Phase II support. Thereafter, the carrier shall receive monthly support as set forth in paragraphs (e)(7)(iv) or (v) of this section for such area, as applicable, provided that the Administrator shall decrease the amount of the carrier’s support to the extent necessary to account for any support received during the period between the close of the 5G Fund Phase II auction and the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau’s authorization determination.


(ii) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that does not receive monthly support pursuant to this section and is a winning bidder in the 5G Fund Phase II auction shall receive monthly support pursuant to § 54.1017.


(iii) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to paragraph (e)(6)(iii) of this section for an area for which support is not won in the 5G Fund Phase II auction shall continue to receive support for that area as described in paragraph (e)(6)(iii) of this section.


(iv) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to paragraph (e)(6)(iii) of this section for an area for which support is won in the 5G Fund Phase II auction and for which the carrier is not the winning bidder shall receive the following monthly support amounts for such areas:


(A) For 12 months starting the first day of the month following release of a public notice announcing the close of the 5G Fund Phase II auction, the mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive monthly support that is two-thirds (
2/3) of the level described in paragraph (e)(6)(iii) of this section for the area.


(B) For 12 months starting the month following the period described in paragraph (e)(7)(iv)(A) of this section, the mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive monthly support that is one-third (
1/3) of the level described in paragraph (e)(6)(iii) of this section for the area.


(C) Following the period described in paragraph (e)(7)(iv)(B) of this section, the mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall not receive monthly support for the area pursuant to this section.


(v) All other mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carriers that receive monthly support pursuant to paragraph (e)(6)(iv) of this section for an area shall continue to receive support for the area pursuant to that paragraph.


(8) Line Count Filings. Competitive eligible telecommunications carriers, except those subject to the delayed phase down described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section, shall no longer be required to file line counts beginning January 1, 2012. Competitive eligible telecommunications carriers subject to the delayed phase down described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section shall no longer be required to file line counts beginning July 1, 2014, or the date after the first line count filing following the implementation of Mobility Fund Phase II, whichever is later.


(9) Eligibility for support after Connect America Phase II auction. Starting the first day of the month following the first authorization of Connect America Phase II auction support nationwide, fixed competitive eligible telecommunications carriers shall have the option of receiving support pursuant to paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section as described in the following paragraphs (e)(8)(i) through (iv):


(i) For 12 months following the first authorization of Connect America Phase II auction support nationwide, each fixed competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive two-thirds (
2/3) of the carrier’s total support pursuant to paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section.


(ii) For 12 months starting the month following the period described in paragraph (e)(8)(i) of this section, each fixed competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive one-third (
1/3) of the carrier’s total support pursuant to paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section.


(iii) Following the period described in paragraph (e)(8)(ii) of this section, no fixed competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive any support pursuant to paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section.


(iv) Notwithstanding the foregoing schedule, the phase-down of support below the level described in paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section shall be subject to the restrictions in Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Public Law 114-113, Div. E, Title VI, section 631, 129 Stat. 2242, 2470 (2015), unless and until such restrictions are no longer in effect.


[62 FR 32948, June 17, 1997, as amended at 63 FR 2128, Jan. 13, 1998; 64 FR 67431, Dec. 1, 1999; 65 FR 26516, May 8, 2000; 66 FR 30087, June 5, 2001; 66 FR 59726, Nov. 30, 2001; 68 FR 31623, May 28, 2003; 69 FR 34602, June 22, 2004; 70 FR 29979, May 25, 2005; 76 FR 73871, Nov. 29, 2011; 77 FR 14302, Mar. 9, 2012; 77 FR 30913, May 24, 2012; 77 FR 52618, Aug. 30, 2012; 82 FR 15449, Mar. 28, 2017; 84 FR 8623, Mar. 11, 2019; 85 FR 75817, Nov. 25, 2020]


§ 54.308 Broadband public interest obligations for recipients of high-cost support.

(a) Rate-of-return carrier recipients of high-cost support are required to offer broadband service, at speeds described below, with latency suitable for real-time applications, including Voice over Internet Protocol, and usage capacity that is reasonably comparable to comparable offerings in urban areas, at rates that are reasonably comparable to rates for comparable offerings in urban areas. For purposes of determining reasonable comparability of rates, recipients are presumed to meet this requirement if they offer rates at or below the applicable benchmark to be announced annually by public notice issued by the Wireline Competition Bureau.


(1) Carriers that elect to receive Connect America Fund-Alternative Connect America Cost Model (CAF-ACAM) support pursuant to § 54.311 are required to offer broadband service at actual speeds of at least 10 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream to a defined number of locations as specified by public notice, with a minimum usage allowance of 150 GB per month, subject to the requirement that usage allowances remain consistent with median usage in the United States over the course of the term.

In addition, such carriers must offer other speeds to subsets of locations, as specified below:


(i) Fully funded locations. Fully funded locations are those locations identified by the Alternative-Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) where the average cost is above the funding benchmark and at or below the funding cap. Carriers are required to offer broadband speeds to locations that are fully funded, as specified by public notice at the time of authorization, as follows:


(A) Carriers with a state-level density of more than 10 housing units per square mile, as specified by public notice at the time of election, are required to offer broadband speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream to 75 percent of all fully funded locations in the state by the end of the ten-year period.


(B) Carriers with a state-level density of 10 or fewer, but more than five, housing units per square mile, as specified by public notice at the time of election, are required to offer broadband speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream to 50 percent of fully funded locations in the state by the end of the ten-year period.


(C) Carriers with a state-level density of five or fewer housing units per square mile, as specified by public notice at the time of election, are required to offer broadband speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream to 25 percent of fully funded locations in the state by the end of the ten-year period.


(ii) Capped locations. Capped locations are those locations in census blocks for which A-CAM calculates an average cost per location above the funding cap. Carriers are required to offer broadband speeds to locations that are receiving capped support, as specified by public notice at the time of authorization, as follows:


(A) Carriers with a state-level density of more than 10 housing units per square mile, as specified by public notice at the time of election, are required to offer broadband speeds of at least 4 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream to 50 percent of all capped locations in the state by the end of the ten-year period.


(B) Carriers with a state-level density of 10 or fewer housing units per square mile, as specified by public notice at the time of election, are required to offer broadband speeds of at least 4 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream to 25 percent of capped locations in the state by the end of the ten-year period.


(C) Carriers shall provide to all other capped locations, upon reasonable request, broadband at actual speeds of at least 4 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream.


(iii) Revised A-CAM I carriers, as defined by § 54.311(a)(2), must offer the following broadband speeds to locations that are fully funded, as specified by public notice at the time of the authorizations, as follows:


(A) Revised A-CAM I carriers with a state-level density of more than 10 housing units per square mile, as specified by public notice at the time of election, are required to offer broadband speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream to 85 percent of all fully funded locations in the state by the end of the term.


(B) Revised A-CAM I carriers with a state-level density of 10 or fewer, but more than five, housing units per square mile, as specified by public notice at the time of election, are required to offer broadband speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream to 65 percent of fully funded locations in the state by the end of the term.


(C) Revised A-CAM I carriers with a state-level density of five or fewer housing units per square mile, as specified by public notice at the time of election, are required to offer broadband speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream to 50 percent of fully funded locations in the state by the end of the term.


(iv) A-CAM II carriers, as defined by § 54.311(a)(3), must offer broadband speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream to 100 percent of fully funded locations in the state by the end of the term, and therefore have no additional 10/1 Mbps obligation.


(2) Rate-of-return recipients of Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF BLS) shall be required to offer broadband service at actual speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream, over a five-year period, to a defined number of unserved locations as specified by public notice, as determined by the following methodology:


(i) Percentage of CAF BLS. Each rate-of-return carrier is required to target a defined percentage of its five-year forecasted CAF BLS support to the deployment of broadband service to locations that are unserved with 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream broadband service as follows:


(A) Rate-of-return carriers with less than 20 percent deployment of 25/3 Mbps broadband service in their study areas, as determined by the Bureau, will be required to use 35 percent of their five-year forecasted CAF BLS support to extend broadband service where it is currently lacking.


(B) Rate-of-return carriers with more than 20 percent but less than 40 percent deployment of 25/3 Mbps broadband service in their study areas, as determined by the Bureau, will be required to use 25 percent of their five-year forecasted CAF BLS support to extend broadband service where it is currently lacking.


(C) Rate-of-return carriers with more than 40 percent deployment of 25/3 Mbps broadband service in their study areas, as determined by the Bureau, will be required to use 20 percent of their five-year forecasted CAF BLS support to extend broadband service where it is currently lacking.


(ii) Cost per location. The deployment obligation shall be determined by dividing the amount of support set forth in paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section by a cost per location figure based on one of two methodologies, at the carrier’s election:


(A) The higher of:


(1) The weighted average unseparated cost per loop for carriers of similar density that offer 25/3 Mbps or better broadband service to at least 95 percent of locations, based on the most current FCC Form 477 data as determined by the Bureau, but excluding carriers subject to the current per-line per-month cap set forth in § 54.302 and carriers subject to limitations on operating expenses set forth in § 54.303; or


(2) 150% of the weighted average of the cost per loop for carriers of similar density, but excluding carriers subject to the per line per month cap set forth in § 54.302 and carriers subject to limitations on operating expenses set forth in § 54.303, with a similar level of deployment of 25/3 Mbps or better broadband based on the most current FCC Form 477 data, as determined by Bureau; or


(B) The average cost per location for census blocks lacking 25/3 Mbps broadband service in the carrier’s study area as determined by the A-CAM.


(iii) Restrictions on deployment obligations. No rate-of-return carrier shall deploy terrestrial wireline technology in any census block if doing so would result in total support per line in the study area to exceed the per-line per-month cap in § 54.302.


(iv) Future deployment obligations. Prior to publishing the deployment obligations for subsequent five-year periods, the Administrator shall update the unseparated average cost per loop amounts for carriers with 95 percent or greater deployment of the then-current standard, based on the then-current NECA cost data, and the Wireline Competition Bureau shall examine the density groupings and make any necessary adjustments based on then-current U.S. Census data.


(b) Rate-of-return carrier recipients of high-cost support are required upon reasonable request to bid on category one telecommunications and Internet access services in response to a posted FCC Form 470 seeking broadband service that meets the connectivity targets for the schools and libraries universal service support program for eligible schools and libraries (as described in § 54.501) within that carrier’s service area. Such bids must be at rates reasonably comparable to rates charged to eligible schools and libraries in urban areas for comparable offerings.


(c) Alaskan rate-of-return carriers receiving support from the Alaska Plan pursuant to § 54.306 are exempt from paragraph (a) of this section and are instead required to offer voice and broadband service with latency suitable for real-time applications, including Voice over Internet Protocol, and usage capacity that is reasonably comparable to comparable offerings in urban areas, at rates that are reasonably comparable to rates for comparable offerings in urban areas, subject to any limitations in access to backhaul as described in § w(g). Alaska Plan recipients’ specific broadband deployment and speed obligations shall be governed by the terms of their approved performance plans as described in § 54.306(b). Alaska Plan recipients must also comply with paragraph (b) of this section.


(d) Mobile carriers that are receiving support from the Alaska Plan pursuant to § 54.317(e) shall certify in their annual compliance filings that their rates are reasonably comparable to rates for comparable offerings in urban areas. The mobile carrier must also demonstrate compliance at the end of the five-year milestone and 10-year milestone and may do this by showing that its required stand-alone voice plan, and one service plan that offers broadband data services, if it offers such plans, are:


(1) Substantially similar to a service plan offered by at least one mobile wireless service provider in the cellular market area (CMA) for Anchorage, Alaska, and


(2) Offered for the same or a lower rate than the matching plan in the CMA for Anchorage.


[80 FR 4477, Jan. 27, 2015, as amended at 80 FR 5987, Feb. 4, 2015; 81 FR 24339, Apr. 25, 2016; 81 FR 69712, Oct. 7, 2016; 82 FR 14339, Mar. 20, 2017; 84 FR 4730, Feb. 19, 2019]


§ 54.309 Connect America Fund Phase II Public Interest Obligations.

(a) Recipients of Connect America Phase II support are required to offer broadband service with latency suitable for real-time applications, including Voice over Internet Protocol, and usage capacity that is reasonably comparable to comparable offerings in urban areas, at rates that are reasonably comparable to rates for comparable offerings in urban areas. For purposes of determining reasonable comparable usage capacity, recipients are presumed to meet this requirement if they meet or exceed the usage level announced by public notice issued by the Wireline Competition Bureau. For purposes of determining reasonable comparability of rates, recipients are presumed to meet this requirement if they offer rates at or below the applicable benchmark to be announced annually by public notice issued by the Wireline Competition Bureau, or no more than the non-promotional prices charged for a comparable fixed wireline service in urban areas in the state or U.S. Territory where the eligible telecommunications carrier receives support.


(1) Recipients of Connect America Phase II model-based support are required to offer broadband service at actual speeds of at least 10 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream.


(2) Recipients of Connect America Phase II support awarded through a competitive bidding process are required to offer broadband service meeting the performance standards required in bid tiers based on performance standards.


(i) Winning bidders meeting the minimum performance tier standards are required to offer broadband service at actual speeds of 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream and to offer at least 150 gigabytes of monthly usage.


(ii) Winning bidders meeting the baseline performance tier standards are required to offer broadband service at actual speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream and offer a minimum usage allowance of 150 GB per month, or that reflects the average usage of a majority of fixed broadband customers, using Measuring Broadband America data or a similar data source, whichever is higher, and announced annually by public notice issued by the Wireline Competition Bureau over the 10-year term.


(iii) Winning bidders meeting the above-baseline performance tier standards are required to offer broadband service at actual speeds of at least 100 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream and offer at least 2 terabytes of monthly usage.


(iv) Winning bidders meeting the Gigabit performance tier standards are required to offer broadband service at actual speeds of at least 1 Gigabit per second downstream and 500 Mbps upstream and offer at least 2 terabytes of monthly usage.


(v) For each of the tiers in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section, bidders are required to meet one of two latency performance levels:


(A) Low latency bidders will be required to meet 95 percent or more of all peak period measurements of network round trip latency at or below 100 milliseconds; and


(B) High latency bidders will be required to meet 95 percent or more of all peak period measurements of network round trip latency at or below 750 ms and, with respect to voice performance, demonstrate a score of four or higher using the Mean Opinion Score (MOS).


(b) Recipients of Connect America Phase II model-based support, recipients of Phase II Connect America support awarded through a competitive bidding process, and non-contiguous price cap carriers receiving Phase II frozen support in lieu of model-based support are required to bid on category one telecommunications and Internet access services in response to a posted FCC Form 470 seeking broadband service that meets the connectivity targets for the schools and libraries universal service support program for eligible schools and libraries (as described in § 54.501) located within any area in a census block where the carrier is receiving Phase II model-based support. Such bids must be at rates reasonably comparable to rates charged to eligible schools and libraries in urban areas for comparable offerings.


[80 FR 4477, Jan. 27, 2015, as amended at 80 FR 5987, Feb. 4, 2015; 81 FR 44448, July 7, 2016; 83 FR 23380, May 21, 2018]


§ 54.310 Connect America Fund for Price Cap Territories – Phase II.

(a) Geographic areas eligible for support. Connect America Phase II support may be made available for census blocks or other areas identified as eligible by public notice, including locations identified by the forward-looking cost model as extremely high-cost. The number of supported locations will be identified for each area eligible for support will be identified by public notice.


(b) Term of support. Connect America Phase II model-based support shall be provided to price cap carriers that elect to make a state-level commitment for six years. Connect America Phase II support awarded through a competitive bidding process shall be provided for ten years.


(c) Deployment obligation. Recipients of Connect America Phase II model-based support must complete deployment to 40 percent of supported locations by December 31, 2017, to 60 percent of supported locations by December 31, 2018, to 80 percent of supported locations by December 31, 2019, and to 100 percent of supported locations by December 31, 2020. Recipients of Connect America Phase II awarded through a competitive bidding process must complete deployment to 40 percent of supported locations by the end of the third year, to 60 percent of supported locations by the end of the fourth year, to 80 percent of supported locations by the end of the fifth year, and to 100 percent of supported locations by the end of the sixth year. Compliance shall be determined based on the total number of supported locations in a state.


(1) For purposes of meeting the obligation to deploy to the requisite number of supported locations in a state, recipients of Connect America Phase II model-based support may serve unserved locations in census blocks with costs above the extremely high-cost threshold instead of locations in eligible census blocks, provided that they meet the public interest obligations set forth in § 54.309(a) introductory text and (a)(1) for those locations and provided that the total number of locations covered is greater than or equal to the number of supported locations in the state.


(2) Recipients of Connect America Phase II support may elect to deploy to 95 percent of the number of supported locations in a given state with a corresponding reduction in support computed based on the average support per location in the state times 1.89.


(d) Disbursement of Phase II funding. An eligible telecommunications carrier will be advised by public notice when it is authorized to receive support. The public notice will detail how disbursements will be made.


(e) Provider eligibility. Any eligible telecommunications carrier is eligible to receive Connect America Phase II support in eligible areas.


(1) An entity may obtain eligible telecommunications carrier designation after public notice of winning bidders in a competitive bidding process for the offer of Phase II Connect America support. An applicant in the competitive bidding process shall certify that it is financially and technically qualified to provide the services supported by Connect America Phase II in order to receive such support.


(2) To the extent an applicant in the competitive bidding process seeks eligible telecommunications carrier designation prior to public notice of winning bidders for Phase II Connect America support, its designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier may be conditional subject to the receipt of Phase II Connect America support.


(f) Transition to model-based support. Eligible telecommunications carriers electing model-based support in states where that support is less than their Phase I frozen support will transition to model-based support as follows: In addition to model-based support, in the first year of Phase II, they will receive 75% of the difference between Phase I frozen support and model-based support; in the second year of Phase II, they will receive 50% of the difference between Phase I frozen support and model-based support; and in the third year of Phase II, they will receive 25% of the difference between Phase I frozen support and model-based support.


(g) Extended term of model-based support. Eligible telecommunications carriers receiving model-based support may elect to receive a seventh year of such support. An eligible telecommunications carrier electing to receive this additional year of support makes a state-level commitment to maintain the required voice and broadband services in the areas for which it receives support during this extended term. The Wireline Competition Bureau will implement a mechanism to enable an eligible telecommunications carrier to elect whether to receive an additional seventh year of support.


(h) Transition to Rural Digital Opportunity Fund support. (1) In areas where the eligible telecommunications carrier elects to receive an optional seventh year of model-based support pursuant to paragraph (g) of this section, it shall receive such support for a full calendar year, regardless of the disposition of these areas in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction.


(i) If the eligible telecommunications carrier becomes the winning bidder in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction in these areas, it shall continue to receive model-based support through December 31, 2021. Thereafter, it shall receive monthly support in the amount of its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund winning bid.


(ii) If another provider is the winning bidder in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction in these areas, the new provider shall receive monthly support in the amount of its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund winning bid starting the first day of the month following its authorization by the Wireline Competition Bureau. The eligible telecommunications carrier shall continue to receive model-based support for these areas through December 31, 2021.


(iii) If there is no authorized Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction support recipient in these areas or if these areas are deemed ineligible for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction, the eligible telecommunications carrier shall continue to receive model-based support for these areas through December 31, 2021. Thereafter, it shall receive no additional support.


(2) In areas where the eligible telecommunications carrier declines to receive an optional seventh year of model-based support pursuant to paragraph (g) of this section, it shall cease receiving model-based support for these areas on December 31, 2020.


[79 FR 11335, Feb. 28, 2014, as amended at 79 FR 39188, July 9, 2014; 80 FR 4477, Jan. 27, 2015; 81 FR 44449, July 7, 2016; 85 FR 13797, Mar. 10, 2020]


§ 54.311 Connect America Fund Alternative-Connect America Cost Model Support.

(a) Voluntary election of model-based support. A rate-of-return carrier (as that term is defined in § 54.5) receiving support pursuant to subparts K or M of this part shall have the opportunity to voluntarily elect, on a state-level basis, to receive Connect America Fund-Alternative Connect America Cost Model (CAF-ACAM) support as calculated by the Alternative-Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) adopted by the Commission in lieu of support calculated pursuant to subparts K or M of this part. Any rate-of-return carrier not electing support pursuant to this section shall continue to receive support calculated pursuant to those mechanisms as specified in Commission rules for high-cost support.


(1) For the purposes of this section, “A-CAM I” refers to carriers initially authorized to receive CAF-ACAM support as of January 24, 2017, including any carriers that later elected revised offers, except for carriers described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. For such carriers, the first program year of CAF-ACAM is 2017.


(2) For the purposes of this section, “Revised A-CAM I” refers to carriers initially authorized to receive CAF-ACAM support as of January 24, 2017, and were subsequently authorized to receive CAF-ACAM pursuant to a revised offer after January 1, 2019. For such carriers, the first program year of CAF-ACAM is 2017.


(3) For the purposes of this section, “A-CAM II” refers to carriers first authorized to receive A-CAM support after January 1, 2019. For such carriers, the first program year of CAF-ACAM is 2019.


(b) Geographic areas eligible for support. CAF-ACAM model-based support will be made available for a specific number of locations in census blocks identified as eligible for each carrier by public notice. The eligible areas and number of locations for each state identified by the public notice shall not change during the term of support identified in paragraph (c) of this section.


(c) Term of support. CAF-ACAM model-based support shall be provided to A-CAM I carriers for a term that extends until December 31, 2026, and to Revised A-CAM I and A-CAM II carriers for a term that extends until December 31, 2028.


(d) Interim deployment milestones. Recipients of CAF-ACAM model-based support must meet the following interim milestones with respect to their deployment obligations set forth in § 54.308(a)(1)(i) of this subpart. Compliance shall be determined based on the total number of fully funded locations in a state. Carriers that complete deployment to at least 95 percent of the requisite number of locations will be deemed to be in compliance with their deployment obligations. The remaining locations that receive capped support are subject to the standard specified in § 54.308(a)(1)(ii).


(1) A-CAM I and Revised A-CAM I carriers must complete deployment of 10/1 Mbps service to a number of eligible locations equal to 40 percent of fully funded locations by the end of 2020, to 50 percent of fully funded locations by the end of 2021, to 60 percent of fully funded locations by the end of 2022, to 70 percent of fully funded locations by the end of 2023, to 80 percent of fully funded locations by the end of 2024, to 90 percent of fully funded locations by the end of 2025, and to 100 percent of fully funded locations by the end of 2026. By the end of 2026, A-CAM I carriers must complete deployment of broadband meeting a standard of at least 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream to the requisite number of locations specified in § 54.308(a)(1)(i). For Revised A-CAM I carriers, the deployment milestones for 10/1 Mbps service described in this paragraph shall be based on the number of locations that were fully funded pursuant to authorizations made prior to January 1, 2019.


(2) Revised A-CAM I and A-CAM II carriers must complete deployment of 25/3 Mbps service to a number of eligible locations equal to 40 percent of locations required by § 54.308(a)(1) of this subpart by the end of 2022, 50 percent of requisite locations by the end of 2023, 60 percent of requisite locations by the end of 2024, 70 percent of requisite location by the end of 2025, 80 percent of requisite locations by the end of 2026, 90 percent of requisite locations by the end of 2027, and 100 percent of requisite locations by the end of 2028.


(e) Transition to CAF-ACAM Support. An A-CAM I, Revised A-CAM I, or A-CAM II carrier whose final model-based support is less than the carrier’s legacy rate-of-return support in its base year as defined in paragraph (e)(4) of this section, will transition as follows:


(1) If the difference between a carrier’s model-based support and its base year support, as determined by paragraph (e)(4) of this section, is ten percent or less, it will receive, in addition to model-based support, 50 percent of that difference in program year one, and then will receive model support in program years two through ten.


(2) If the difference between a carrier’s model-based support and its base year support, as determined in paragraph (e)(4) of this section, is 25 percent or less, but more than 10 percent, it will receive, in addition to model-based support, an additional transition payment for up to four years, and then will receive model support in program years five through ten. The transition payments will be phased-down 20 percent per year, provided that each phase-down amount is at least five percent of the total base year support amount. If 20 percent of the difference between a carrier’s model-based support and base year support is less than five percent of the total base year support amount, the transition payments will be phased-down five percent of the total base year support amount each year.


(3) If the difference between a carrier’s model-based support and its base year support, as determined in paragraph (e)(4) of this section, is more than 25 percent, it will receive, in addition to model-based support, an additional transition payment for up to nine years, and then will receive model support in year ten. The transition payments will be phased-down ten percent per year, provided that each phase-down amount is at least five percent of the total base year support amount. If ten percent of the difference between a carrier’s model-based support and its base year support is less than five percent of the total base year support amount, the transition payments will be phased-down five percent of the total base year support amount each year.


(4) The carrier’s base year support for purposes of the calculation of transition payments is:


(i) For A-CAM I and Revised A-CAM I carriers, the amount of high-cost loop support and interstate common line support disbursed to the carrier for 2015 without regard to prior period adjustments related to years other than 2015, as determined by the Administrator as of January 31, 2016 and publicly announced prior to the election period for the voluntary path to the model; and


(ii) For A-CAM II carriers, the amount of high-cost loop support and Connect America Fund – Broadband Loop Support disbursed to the carrier for 2018 without regard to prior period adjustments related to years other than 2018, as determined by the Administrator as of January 31, 2019 and publicly announced prior to the election period for the voluntary path to the model.


81 FR 24340, Apr. 25, 2016, as amended at 82 FR 14339, Mar. 20, 2017; 84 FR 4731, Feb. 19, 2019]


§ 54.312 Connect America Fund for Price Cap Territories – Phase I.

(a) Frozen High-Cost Support. Beginning January 1, 2012, each price cap local exchange carrier and rate-of-return carrier affiliated with a price cap local exchange carrier will have a “baseline support amount” equal to its total 2011 support in a given study area, or an amount equal to $3,000 times the number of reported lines for 2011, whichever is lower. For purposes of this section, price cap carriers are defined pursuant to § 61.3(aa) of this chapter and affiliated companies are determined by § 32.9000 of this chapter. Each price cap local exchange carrier and rate-of-return carrier affiliated with a price cap local exchange carrier will have a “monthly baseline support amount” equal to its baseline support amount divided by twelve. Beginning January 1, 2012, on a monthly basis, eligible carriers will receive their monthly baseline support amount.


(1) “Total 2011 support” is the amount of support disbursed to a price cap local exchange carrier or rate-of-return carrier affiliated with a price cap local exchange carrier for 2011, without regard to prior period adjustments related to years other than 2011 and as determined by USAC on January 31, 2012.


(2) For the purpose of calculating the $3,000 per line limit, the average of lines reported by a price cap local exchange carrier or rate-of-return carrier affiliated with a price cap local exchange carrier pursuant to line count filings required for December 31, 2010, and December 31, 2011 shall be used.


(3) A carrier receiving frozen high cost support under this rule shall be deemed to be receiving Interstate Access Support and Interstate Common Line Support equal to the amount of support the carrier to which the carrier was eligible under those mechanisms in 2011.


(b) Incremental Support in 2012. From January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2012, support in addition to baseline support defined in paragraph (a) of this section will be available for certain price cap local exchange carriers and rate-of-return carriers affiliated with price cap local exchange carriers as follows.


(1) For each carrier for which the Wireline Competition Bureau determines that it has appropriate data or for which it determines that it can make reasonable estimates, the Bureau will determine an average per-location cost for each wire center using a simplified cost-estimation function derived from the Commission’s cost model. Incremental support will be based on the wire centers for which the estimated per-location cost exceeds the funding threshold. The funding threshold will be determined by calculating which funding threshold would allocate all available incremental support, if each carrier that would be offered incremental support were to accept it.


(2) An eligible telecommunications carrier accepting incremental support must deploy broadband to a number of unserved locations, as shown as unserved by fixed broadband on the then-current version of the National Broadband Map, equal to the amount of incremental support it accepts divided by $775.


(3) A carrier may elect to accept or decline incremental support. A holding company may do so on a holding-company basis on behalf of its operating companies that are eligible telecommunications carriers, whose eligibility for incremental support, for these purposes, shall be considered on an aggregated basis. A carrier must provide notice to the Commission, relevant state commissions, and any affected Tribal government, stating the amount of incremental support it wishes to accept and identifying the areas by wire center and census block in which the designated eligible telecommunications carrier will deploy broadband to meet its deployment obligation, or stating that it declines incremental support. Such notification must be made within 90 days of being notified of any incremental support for which it would be eligible. Along with its notification, a carrier accepting incremental support must also submit a certification that the locations to be served to satisfy the deployment obligation are not shown as served by fixed broadband provided by any entity other than the certifying entity or its affiliate on the then-current version of the National Broadband Map; that, to the best of the carrier’s knowledge, the locations are, in fact, unserved by fixed broadband; that the carrier’s current capital improvement plan did not already include plans to complete broadband deployment within the next three years to the locations to be counted to satisfy the deployment obligation; and that incremental support will not be used to satisfy any merger commitment or similar regulatory obligation. If a carrier intends to deploy to census blocks not initially identified at the time of election, it must inform the Commission, the Administrator, relevant state commissions, and any affected Tribal government of the change at least 90 days prior to commencing deployment in the new census blocks. No sooner than 46 days after the Wireline Competition Bureau issues a public notice announcing the updated deployment plans but prior to commencing deployment, the carrier must make the certifications described in this paragraph with respect to the new census blocks. If a carrier no longer intends to deploy to a previously identified census block, it must inform the Commission, the Administrator, relevant state commission, and any affected Tribal government prior to filing its certification pursuant to § 54.313(b)(2).


(c) Incremental Support in 2013. From January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2013, support in addition to baseline support defined in paragraph (a) of this section will be available for certain price cap local exchange carriers and rate-of-return carriers affiliated with price cap local exchange carriers as follows:


(1) For each carrier for which the Wireline Competition Bureau determines that it has appropriate data or for which it determines that it can make reasonable estimates, the Bureau will determine an average per-location cost for each wire center using a simplified cost-estimation function derived from the Commission’s high-cost proxy model. Incremental support will be based on the wire centers for which the estimated per-location cost exceeds the funding threshold. The funding threshold will be determined by calculating which funding threshold would allocate all available incremental support, if each carrier that would be offered incremental support were to accept it.


(2) An eligible telecommunications carrier accepting incremental support must deploy broadband to a number of unserved locations, shown as unserved by fixed Internet access with speeds of at least 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream on the then-current version of the National Broadband Map, equal to the amount of incremental support it accepts divided by $775.


(3) An eligible telecommunications carrier must accept funding pursuant to paragraph (c)(2) of this section before it may accept funding pursuant to paragraph (c)(3) of this section. If an eligible telecommunications carrier has committed to deploy to all locations eligible for support under paragraph (c)(2) of this section on routes or projects that can economically be built with $775 in Connect America funding for each location unserved by 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream plus an equal amount of non-Connect America carrier capital expenditure funding, but the carrier has not fully utilized its allotted funding, it may also count towards its deployment obligation locations shown as unserved by fixed Internet access with speeds of at least 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream equal to the amount of remaining incremental support divided by $550.


(4) A carrier may elect to accept or decline incremental support. A holding company may do so on a holding-company basis on behalf of its operating companies that are eligible telecommunications carriers, whose eligibility for incremental support, for these purposes, shall be considered on an aggregated basis. A carrier must provide notice to the Commission, the Administrator, relevant state commissions, and any affected Tribal government, stating the amount of incremental support it wishes to accept, the number of locations at the $775 amount, and the number of locations at the $550 amount, and identifying the areas by wire center and census block in which the designated eligible telecommunications carrier will deploy broadband to meet its deployment obligation; or stating that it declines incremental support. Such notification must be made within 75 days of being notified of any incremental support for which it would be eligible. If a carrier intends to deploy to census blocks not initially identified at the time of election, it must inform the Commission, the Administrator, relevant state commissions, and any affected Tribal government of the change at least 90 days prior to commencing deployment in the new census blocks. No sooner than 46 days after the Wireline Competition Bureau issues a public notice announcing the updated deployment plans but prior to commencing deployment, the carrier must make the certifications described in paragraph (c)(5) of this section with respect to the new census blocks. If a carrier no longer intends to deploy to a previously identified census block, it must inform the Commission, the Administrator, relevant state commission, and any affected Tribal government prior to filing its certification pursuant to § 54.313(b)(2).


(5) Along with its notification, an eligible telecommunications carrier accepting incremental support must submit the following certifications:


(i) The locations to be served to satisfy the deployment obligation are not shown as served by fixed broadband at the speeds specified in paragraph (c)(2) or (c)(3) of this section provided by any entity other than the certifying entity or its affiliate on the then-current version of the National Broadband Map or that it is challenging the National Broadband Map’s designation of that census block under the challenge process in paragraph (c)(7) of this section;


(ii) To the best of the carrier’s knowledge, the locations are, in fact, unserved by fixed Internet access with speeds of at least 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream, or 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream, as appropriate;


(iii) The carrier’s current capital improvement plan did not already include plans to complete broadband deployment within the next three years to the locations to be counted to satisfy the deployment obligation;


(iv) Incremental support will not be used to satisfy any merger commitment or similar regulatory obligation; and


(v) The carrier has undertaken due diligence to determine the locations in question are not within the service area of either Broadband Initiatives Program or the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program projects that will provide Internet access with speeds of at least 3 Mbps downstream and 768 upstream.


(6) An eligible telecommunications carrier deploying to locations unserved by 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream under paragraph (c)(3) of this section must also certify that it has prioritized its planned projects or routes so as to maximize the deployment of broadband-capable infrastructure to locations lacking Internet access with speeds of 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream.


(7) A person may challenge the designation of a census block as served or unserved by a certain speed as shown on the National Broadband Map. When the Wireline Competition Bureau determines that the evidence presented makes it more likely than not that the census block should be designated as served by broadband with speeds of at least 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream, that locations in that census block will be treated as served by broadband and therefore ineligible to be counted for the purposes of paragraph (c)(3) of this section. When the Wireline Competition Bureau determines that the evidence presented makes it more likely than not that the census block should be designated as served by Internet service with speeds of 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream, but unserved by broadband with speeds of at least 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream, locations in that census block will be treated as served by Internet access with speeds of 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream and therefore eligible to be counted for the purposes of paragraph (c)(3) of this section. When the Wireline Competition Bureau determines that the evidence presented makes it more likely than not that the census block should be designated as unserved by Internet service with speeds of 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream, locations in that census block will be treated as unserved by Internet access with speeds of 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream and therefore eligible to be counted for the purposes of paragraph (c)(2) of this section.


(8) If no entity other than the carrier or its affiliate provides Internet service with speeds of 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream or greater as shown on the National Broadband Map or as determined by the process described in paragraph (c)(7), the carrier may satisfy its deployment obligations at a location shown by the National Broadband Map as being served by that carrier or its affiliate with such service by certifying that it is the only entity providing such service, that the location does not actually receive speeds of 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream, and the location is served through a copper-fed digital subscriber line access multiplexer. The carrier must specifically identify such locations in its election. Such locations will be treated the same as locations under paragraph (c)(3) of this section.


(9) An eligible telecommunications carrier must complete deployment of broadband-capable infrastructure to two-thirds of the required number of locations within two years of providing notification of acceptance of funding, and must complete deployment to all required locations within three years. To satisfy its deployment obligation, the eligible telecommunications carrier must offer broadband service to such locations of at least 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream, with latency sufficiently low to enable the use of real-time communications, including Voice over Internet Protocol, and with usage allowances, if any, associated with a specified price for a service offering that are reasonably comparable to comparable offerings in urban areas.


(d) Eligibility for support after Connect America Phase II auction. (1) A price cap carrier that receives monthly baseline support pursuant to this section and is a winning bidder in the Connect America Phase II auction shall receive support at the same level as described in paragraph (a) of this section for such area until the Wireline Competition Bureau determines whether to authorize the carrier to receive Connect America Phase II auction support for the same area. Upon the Wireline Competition Bureau’s release of a public notice approving a price cap carrier’s application submitted pursuant to § 54.315(b) and authorizing the carrier to receive Connect America Fund Phase II auction support, the carrier shall no longer receive support at the level of monthly baseline support pursuant to this section for such area. Thereafter, the carrier shall receive monthly support in the amount of its Connect America Phase II winning bid.


(2) Starting the first day of the month following the first authorization of Connect America Phase II auction support nationwide, no price cap carrier that receives monthly baseline support pursuant to this section shall receive such monthly baseline support for areas that are ineligible for Connect America Phase II auction support.


(3) To the extent Connect America Phase II auction support is not awarded at auction for an eligible area, as determined by the Wireline Competition Bureau, the price cap carrier shall have the option of continuing to receive support at the level described in paragraph (a) of this section until further Commission action.


(4) Starting the first day of the month following the authorization of Connect America Phase II auction support to a winning bidder other than the price cap carrier that receives monthly baseline support pursuant to this section for such area, the price cap carrier shall no longer receive monthly baseline support pursuant to this section.


(5) Notwithstanding the foregoing schedule, the phase-down of support below the level described in paragraph (a) of this section shall be subject to the restrictions in Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Public Law 114-113, Div. E, Title VI, section 631, 129 Stat. 2242, 2470 (2015), unless and until such restrictions are no longer in effect.


(e) Eligibility for support after Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction. (1) A price cap carrier that receives monthly baseline support pursuant to this section and is a winning bidder in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction shall receive support at the same level as described in paragraph (a) of this section for such area until the Wireline Competition Bureau determines whether to authorize the carrier to receive Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction support for the same area. Upon the Wireline Competition Bureau’s release of a public notice approving a price cap carrier’s application submitted pursuant to § 54.315(b) and authorizing the carrier to receive Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction support, the carrier shall no longer receive support at the level of monthly baseline support pursuant to this section for such area. Thereafter, the carrier shall receive monthly support in the amount of its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund winning bid.


(2) Starting the first day of the month following the release of the final eligible areas list for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction, as determined by the Wireline Competition Bureau, no price cap carrier that receives monthly baseline support pursuant to this section shall receive such monthly baseline support for areas that are ineligible for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction.


(3) Starting the first day of the month following the close of Phase I of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction, no price cap carrier that receives monthly baseline support pursuant to this section shall receive such monthly baseline support for areas where Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction support is not awarded at auction for an eligible area.


(4) Starting the first day of the month following the authorization of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction support to a winning bidder other than the price cap carrier that receives monthly baseline support pursuant to this section for such area, the price cap carrier shall no longer receive monthly baseline support pursuant to this section.


[76 FR 73872, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 31536, May 29, 2012; 78 FR 38233, June 26, 2013; 78 FR 48624, Aug. 9, 2013; 84 FR 8624, Mar. 11, 2019; 85 FR 13797, Mar. 10, 2020]


§ 54.313 Annual reporting requirements for high-cost recipients.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 13797, Mar. 10, 2020.

(a) Any recipient of high-cost support shall provide the following:


(1) Certification that the carrier is able to function in emergency situations as set forth in § 54.202(a)(2);


(2) A certification that the pricing of the company’s voice services is no more than two standard deviations above the applicable national average urban rate for voice service, as specified in the most recent public notice issued by the Wireline Competition Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau;


(3) A certification that the pricing of a service that meets the Commission’s broadband public interest obligations is no more than the applicable benchmark to be announced annually in a public notice issued by the Wireline Competition Bureau, or is no more than the non-promotional price charged for a comparable fixed wireline service in urban areas in the states or U.S. Territories where the eligible telecommunications carrier receives support;


(4) The recipient’s holding company, operating companies, affiliates, and any branding (a “dba,” or “doing-business-as company” or brand designation), as well as universal service identifiers for each such entity by Study Area Codes, as that term is used by the Administrator. For purposes of this paragraph, “affiliates” has the meaning set forth in section 3(2) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended;


(5) To the extent the recipient serves Tribal lands, documents or information demonstrating that the ETC had discussions with Tribal governments that, at a minimum, included:


(i) A needs assessment and deployment planning with a focus on Tribal community anchor institutions;


(ii) Feasibility and sustainability planning;


(iii) Marketing services in a culturally sensitive manner;


(iv) Rights of way processes, land use permitting, facilities siting, environmental and cultural preservation review processes; and


(v) Compliance with Tribal business and licensing requirements. Tribal business and licensing requirements include business practice licenses that Tribal and non-Tribal business entities, whether located on or off Tribal lands, must obtain upon application to the relevant Tribal government office or division to conduct any business or trade, or deliver any goods or services to the Tribes, Tribal members, or Tribal lands. These include certificates of public convenience and necessity, Tribal business licenses, master licenses, and other related forms of Tribal government licensure.


(6) The results of network performance tests pursuant to the methodology and in the format determined by the Wireline Competition Bureau, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology.


(b) In addition to the information and certifications in paragraph (a) of this section:



(1) Any recipient of incremental Connect America Phase I support pursuant to § 54.312(b) and (c) shall provide:


(i) In its next annual report due after two years after filing a notice of acceptance of funding pursuant to § 54.312(b) and (c), a certification that the company has deployed to no fewer than two-thirds of the required number of locations; and


(ii) In its next annual report due after three years after filing a notice of acceptance of funding pursuant to § 54.312(b) and (c), a certification that the company has deployed to all required locations and that it is offering broadband service of at least 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream, with latency sufficiently low to enable the use of real-time communications, including Voice over Internet Protocol, and with usage allowances, if any, associated with a specified price for a service offering that are reasonably comparable to comparable offerings in urban areas.


(2) In addition to the information and certifications required in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, any recipient of incremental Connect America Phase I support pursuant to § 54.312(c) shall provide:


(i) In its annual reports due after one, two, and three years after filing a notice of acceptance of funding pursuant to § 54.312(c), a certification that, to the best of the recipient’s knowledge, the locations in question are not receiving support under the Broadband Initiatives Program or the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program for projects that will provide broadband with speeds of at least 4 Mbps/1 Mbps; and


(ii) In its annual reports due after one, two, and three years after filing a notice of acceptance of funding pursuant to § 54.312(c), a statement of the total amount of capital funding expended in the previous year in meeting Connect America Phase I deployment obligations, accompanied by a list of census blocks indicating where funding was spent.


(c) In addition to the information and certifications in paragraph (a) of this section, price cap carriers that receive frozen high-cost support pursuant to § 54.312(a) shall provide:


(1) By July 1, 2013. A certification that frozen high-cost support the company received in 2012 was used consistent with the goal of achieving universal availability of voice and broadband;


(2) By July 1, 2014. A certification that at least one-third of the frozen-high cost support the company received in 2013 was used to build and operate broadband-capable networks used to offer the provider’s own retail broadband service in areas substantially unserved by an unsubsidized competitor;


(3) By July 1, 2015. A certification that at least two-thirds of the frozen-high cost support the company received in 2014 was used to build and operate broadband-capable networks used to offer the provider’s own retail broadband service in areas substantially unserved by an unsubsidized competitor; and


(4) By July 1, 2016 and in subsequent years. A certification that all frozen-high cost support the company received in the previous year was used to build and operate broadband-capable networks used to offer the provider’s own retail broadband service in areas substantially unserved by an unsubsidized competitor.


(d) In addition to the information and certifications in paragraph (a) of this section, beginning July 1, 2013, price cap carriers receiving high-cost support to offset reductions in access charges shall provide a certification that the support received pursuant to § 54.304 in the prior calendar year was used to build and operate broadband-capable networks used to offer provider’s own retail service in areas substantially unserved by an unsubsidized competitor.


(e) In addition to the information and certifications in paragraph (a) of this section, the requirements in paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section apply to recipients of Phase II, Remote Areas Fund, Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund Stage 2 fixed support, and Connect USVI Fund Stage 2 fixed support:


(1) Any price cap carrier that elects to receive Connect America Phase II model-based support shall provide:


(i) On July 1, 2016 a list of the geocoded locations already meeting the § 54.309 public interest obligations at the end of calendar year 2015, and the total amount of Phase II support, if any, the price cap carrier used for capital expenditures in 2015.


(ii) On July 1, 2017 and every year thereafter ending July 1, 2021, the following information:


(A) The number, names, and addresses of community anchor institutions to which the eligible telecommunications carrier newly began providing access to broadband service in the preceding calendar year;


(B) The total amount of Phase II support, if any, the price cap carrier used for capital expenditures in the previous calendar year; and


(C) A certification that it bid on category one telecommunications and Internet access services in response to all FCC Form 470 postings seeking broadband service that meets the connectivity targets for the schools and libraries universal service support program for eligible schools and libraries (as described in § 54.501) located within any area in a census block where the carrier is receiving Phase II model-based support, and that such bids were at rates reasonably comparable to rates charged to eligible schools and libraries in urban areas for comparable offerings.


(2) Any recipient of Phase II, Remote Areas Fund, Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund Stage 2 fixed, or Connect USVI Fund Stage 2 fixed support awarded through a competitive bidding or application process shall provide:


(i) Starting the first July 1st after receiving support until the July 1st after the recipient’s support term has ended:


(A) The number, names, and addresses of community anchor institutions to which the eligible telecommunications carrier newly began providing access to broadband service in the preceding calendar year;


(B) The total amount of support, if any, the recipient used for capital expenditures in the previous calendar year; and


(C) A certification that it bid on category one telecommunications and Internet access services in response to all FCC Form 470 postings seeking broadband service that meets the connectivity targets for the schools and libraries universal service support program for eligible schools and libraries (as described in § 54.501) located within any area in a census block where the carrier is receiving support awarded through auction, and that such bids were at rates reasonably comparable to rates charged to eligible schools and libraries in urban areas for comparable offerings.


(ii) Starting the first July 1st after receiving support until the July 1st after the recipient’s penultimate year of support, a certification that the recipient has available funds for all project costs that will exceed the amount of support that will be received for the next calendar year.


(iii) Starting the first July 1st after meeting the final service milestone in § 54.310(c) of this chapter until the July 1st after the Phase II recipient’s support term has ended, a certification that the Phase II-funded network that the Phase II auction recipient operated in the prior year meets the relevant performance requirements in § 54.309 of this chapter, or that the network that the Remote Areas Fund recipient operated in the prior year meets the relevant performance requirements for the Remote Areas Fund.


(f) In addition to the information and certifications in paragraph (a) of this section, any rate-of-return carrier shall provide:


(1) On July 1, 2016, a list of the geocoded locations already meeting the § 54.309 public interest obligations at the end of calendar year 2015, and the total amount of Phase II support, if any, the price cap carrier used for capital expenditures in 2015.


(i) If the rate-of-return carrier is receiving support pursuant to subparts K and M of this part, a certification that it is taking reasonable steps to provide upon reasonable request broadband service at actual speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream, with latency suitable for real-time applications, including Voice over internet Protocol, and usage capacity that is reasonably comparable to comparable offerings in urban areas as determined in an annual survey, and that requests for such service are met within a reasonable amount of time; if the rate-of-return carrier receives CAF-ACAM support, a certification that it is meeting the relevant reasonable request standard; or if the rate-of-return carrier is receiving Alaska Plan support pursuant to § 54.306, a certification that it is offering broadband service with latency suitable for real-time applications, including Voice over internet Protocol, and usage capacity that is reasonably comparable to comparable offerings in urban areas, and at speeds committed to in its approved performance plan to the locations it has reported pursuant to § 54.316(a), subject to any limitations due to the availability of backhaul as specified in paragraph (g) of this section.


(ii) The number, names, and addresses of community anchor institutions to which the ETC newly began providing access to broadband service in the preceding calendar year; and


(iii) A certification that it bid on category one telecommunications and Internet access services in response to all reasonable requests in posted FCC Form 470s seeking broadband service that meets the connectivity targets for the schools and libraries universal service support program for eligible schools and libraries (as described in § 54.501) within its service area, and that such bids were at rates reasonably comparable to rates charged to eligible schools and libraries in urban areas for comparable offerings.


(2) Privately held rate-of-return carriers only. A full and complete annual report of the company’s financial condition and operations as of the end of the preceding fiscal year.


(i) Recipients of loans from the Rural Utility Service (RUS) shall provide copies of their RUS Operating Report for Telecommunications Borrowers as filed with the RUS. Such carriers must make their underlying audit and related workpapers and financial information available upon request by the Commission, USAC, or the relevant state commission, relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal government, as appropriate.


(ii) All privately held rate-of-return carriers that are not recipients of loans from the RUS and whose financial statements are audited in the ordinary course of business must provide either: A copy of their audited financial statement; or a financial report in a format comparable to RUS Operating Report for Telecommunications Borrowers, accompanied by a copy of a management letter issued by the independent certified public accountant that performed the company’s financial audit. A carrier choosing the latter option must make its audit and related workpapers and financial information available upon request by the Commission, USAC, or the relevant state commission, relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal government, as appropriate.


(iii) All other privately held rate-of-return carriers must provide either: A copy of their financial statement which has been subject to review by an independent certified public accountant; or a financial report in a format comparable to RUS Operating Report for Telecommunications Borrowers, with the underlying information subjected to a review by an independent certified public accountant and accompanied by an officer certification that: The carrier was not audited in the ordinary course of business for the preceding fiscal year; and that the reported data are accurate. If the carrier elects the second option, it must make the review and related workpapers and financial information available upon request by the Commission, USAC, or the relevant state commission, relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal government, as appropriate.


(3) For rate-of-return carriers participating in the Alaska Plan, funding recipients must certify as to whether any terrestrial backhaul or other satellite backhaul became commercially available in the previous calendar year in areas that were previously served exclusively by performance-limiting satellite backhaul. To the extent that such new terrestrial backhaul facilities are constructed, or other satellite backhaul become commercially available, or existing facilities improve sufficiently to meet the relevant speed, latency and capacity requirements then in effect for broadband service supported by the Alaska Plan, the funding recipient must provide a description of the backhaul technology, the date at which that backhaul was made commercially available to the carrier, and the number of locations that are newly served by the new terrestrial backhaul or other satellite backhaul. Within twelve months of the new backhaul facilities becoming commercially available, funding recipients must certify that they are offering broadband service with latency suitable for real-time applications, including Voice over Internet Protocol, and usage capacity that is reasonably comparable to comparable offerings in urban areas. Funding recipients’ minimum speed deployment obligations will be reassessed as specified by the Commission.


(4) If applicable, the name of any cost consultant and cost consulting firm, or other third-party, retained to prepare financial and operations data disclosures submitted to the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA), the Administrator or the Commission pursuant to subpart D, K, or M of this part.


(5) Rate-of-return carriers receiving support pursuant to the Alternative Connect America Model or the Alaska Plan, that are not otherwise required to file count data pursuant to § 54.903(a)(1) of this subpart, must file the line count data required by § 54.903(a)(1).


(g) Areas with no terrestrial backhaul. Carriers without access to terrestrial backhaul that are compelled to rely exclusively on satellite backhaul in their study area must certify annually that no terrestrial backhaul options exist. Any such funding recipients must certify they offer broadband service at actual speeds of at least 1 Mbps downstream and 256 kbps upstream within the supported area served by satellite middle-mile facilities. To the extent that new terrestrial backhaul facilities are constructed, or existing facilities improve sufficiently to meet the relevant speed, latency and capacity requirements then in effect for broadband service supported by the Connect America Fund, within twelve months of the new backhaul facilities becoming commercially available, funding recipients must provide the certifications required in paragraphs (e) or (f) of this section in full. Carriers subject to this paragraph must comply with all other requirements set forth in the remaining paragraphs of this section. These obligations may be modified for carriers participating in the Alaska Plan.


(h) In their annual reporting due by July 1, 2019 and July 1, 2020, all incumbent local exchange carrier recipients of high-cost support must report all of their rates for residential local service for all portions of their service area, as well as state regulated fees, to the extent the sum of those rates and fees are below $18, and the number of lines for each rate specified. Carriers shall report lines and rates in effect as of June 1. For purposes of this subsection, state regulated fees shall be limited to state subscriber line charges, state universal service fees and mandatory extended area service charges.


(i) All reports pursuant to this section shall be filed with the Office of the Secretary of the Commission clearly referencing WC Docket No. 14-58, with the Administrator, and with the relevant state commissions or relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal governments, as appropriate.


(j) Filing deadlines. (1) In order for a recipient of high-cost support to continue to receive support for the following calendar year, or retain its eligible telecommunications carrier designation, it must submit the annual reporting information required by this section annually by July 1 of each year. Eligible telecommunications carriers that file their reports after the July 1 deadline shall receive a reduction in support pursuant to the following schedule:


(i) An eligible telecommunications carrier that files after the July 1 deadline, but by July 8, will have its support reduced in an amount equivalent to seven days in support;


(ii) An eligible telecommunications carrier that files on or after July 9 will have its support reduced on a pro-rata daily basis equivalent to the period of non-compliance, plus the minimum seven-day reduction.


(2) Grace period. An eligible telecommunications carrier that submits the annual reporting information required by this section after July 1 but before July 5 will not receive a reduction in support if the eligible telecommunications carrier and its holding company, operating companies, and affiliates as reported pursuant to paragraph (a)(8) of this section have not missed the July 1 deadline in any prior year.


(k) This section does not apply to recipients that solely receive support from Phase I of the Mobility Fund.


(l) In addition to the information and certifications in paragraph (a) of this section, any competitive eligible telecommunications carrier participating in the Alaska Plan must provide the following:


(1) Funding recipients that have identified in their approved performance plans that they rely exclusively on satellite backhaul for a certain portion of the population in their service area must certify as to whether any terrestrial backhaul or other satellite backhaul became commercially available in the previous calendar year in areas that were previously served exclusively by satellite backhaul. To the extent that new terrestrial backhaul facilities are constructed or other satellite backhaul become commercially available, the funding recipient must:


(i) Provide a description of the backhaul technology;


(ii) Provide the date on which that backhaul was made commercially available to the carrier;


(iii) Provide the number of the population within their service area that are served by the newly available backhaul option; and


(iv) To the extent the funding recipient has not already committed to providing 4G LTE at 10/1 Mbps to the population served by the newly available backhaul by the end of the plan term, submit a revised performance commitment factoring in the availability of the new backhaul option no later than the due date of the Form 481 in which they have certified that such backhaul became commercially available.


(2) [Reserved]


(m) Any price cap carrier or fixed competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that elects to continue receiving support pursuant to § 54.312(d) or § 54.307(e)(2)(iii) shall provide certifications, starting July 1, 2020 and for each subsequent year they receive such support, that all such support the company received in the previous year was used to provide voice service throughout the high-cost and extremely high-cost census blocks where they continue to have the federal high-cost eligible telecommunications carrier obligation to provide voice service pursuant to § 54.201(d) at rates that are reasonably comparable to comparable offerings in urban areas. Any price cap carrier or fixed competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that solely receives support pursuant to § 54.312(d) or

§ 54.307(e)(2)(iii) in its designated service area shall not be subject to reporting requirements in any other paragraphs in this section for such support.


(n) Recipients of Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund Stage 2 fixed and mobile support and Connect USVI Fund Stage 2 fixed and mobile support shall certify that such support was not used for costs that are (or will be) reimbursed by other sources of support, including Federal or local government aid or insurance reimbursements; and that support was not used for other purposes, such as the retirement of company debt unrelated to eligible expenditures, or other expenses not directly related to network restoration, hardening, and expansion consistent with the framework of the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund or Connect USVI Fund, respectively. Recipients of fixed and mobile support from Stage 2 of the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund and the Connect USVI Fund shall certify that they have conducted an annual review of the documentation required by § 54.1515(a) through (c) to determine the need for and to implement changes or revisions to disaster preparation and recovery documentation.


(o) Recipients of Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund or Connect USVI Fund Stage 2 mobile support shall certify that they are in compliance with all requirements in this part for receipt of such support to continue receiving Stage 2 mobile disbursements.


[76 FR 73873, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 14302, Mar. 9, 2012; 77 FR 30914, May 24, 2012; 78 FR 22201, Apr. 15, 2013; 78 FR 29656, May 21, 2013; 78 FR 3843, Jan. 17, 2013; 78 FR 38233, June 26, 2013; 79 FR 11336, Feb. 28, 2014; 79 FR 39189, July 9, 2014; 80 FR 4477, Jan. 27, 2015; 81 FR 24341, Apr. 25, 2016; 81 FR 44449, July 7, 2016; 81 FR 69713, Oct. 7, 2016; 82 FR 15450, Mar. 28, 2017; 82 FR 39969, Aug. 23, 2017; 83 FR 18964, May 1, 2018; 84 FR 4732, Feb. 19, 2019; 84 FR 8624, Mar. 11, 2019; 84 FR 19876, May 7, 2019; ;85 FR 59963, Nov. 7, 2019; 85 FR 75819, Nov. 25, 2020]


Effective Date Notes:1. At 77 FR 14302, Mar. 9, 2012, § 54.313(a)(9) introductory text and (f)(2) were revised. These paragraphs contain information collection and recordkeeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

2. At 79 FR 11336, Feb. 28, 2014, § 54.313(e)(1), (e)(2), and (e)(3) introductory text were revised. These paragraphs contain information collection and recordkeeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

3. At 80 FR 4476, Jan. 27, 2015, § 54.313 (a)(12) was added and (e) was revised. These paragraphs contain information collection and record keeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

4. At 85 FR 13797, Mar. 10, 2020, § 54.313 was amended by revising paragraphs (e) introductory text, (e)(2) introductory text and (e)(2)(iii). These paragraphs have a delayed effective date. For the convenience of the user, the revised text is set forth as follows:


§ 54.313 Annual reporting requirements for high-cost recipients.


(e) In addition to the information and certifications in paragraph (a) of this section, the requirements in paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section apply to recipients of Phase II, Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund Stage 2 fixed support, and Connect USVI Fund Stage 2 fixed support:


(2) Any recipient of Phase II, Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund Stage 2 fixed, or Connect USVI Fund Stage 2 fixed support awarded through a competitive bidding or application process shall provide:


(iii) Starting the first July 1st after meeting the final service milestone in § 54.310(c) or § 54.802(c) of this chapter until the July 1st after the Phase II recipient’s or Rural Digital Opportunity Fund recipient’s support term has ended, a certification that the Phase II-funded network that the Phase II auction recipient operated in the prior year meets the relevant performance requirements in § 54.309 of this chapter, or that the network that the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund recipient operated in the prior year meets the relevant performance requirements in § 54.805 for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

5. At 85 FR 75819, Nov. 25, 2020, § 54.313 was amended by revising paragraph (n). This paragraph has a delayed effective date, the revised text is set forth to read as follow.

§ 54.313 Annual reporting requirements for high-cost recipients.

(n) In addition to the information and certifications in paragraph (a) of this section, a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier receiving legacy high-cost support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall certify whether it used any support pursuant to § 54.207(f), and if so, whether it used such support in compliance with § 54.7.


§ 54.314 Certification of support for eligible telecommunications carriers.

(a) Certification. States that desire eligible telecommunications carriers to receive support pursuant to the high-cost program must file an annual certification with the Administrator and the Commission stating that all federal high-cost support provided to such carriers within that State was used in the preceding calendar year and will be used in the coming calendar year only for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which the support is intended. High-cost support shall only be provided to the extent that the State has filed the requisite certification pursuant to this section.


(b) Carriers not subject to State jurisdiction. An eligible telecommunications carrier not subject to the jurisdiction of a State that desires to receive support pursuant to the high-cost program must file an annual certification with the Administrator and the Commission stating that all federal high-cost support provided to such carrier was used in the preceding calendar year and will be used in the coming calendar year only for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which the support is intended. Support provided pursuant to the high-cost program shall only be provided to the extent that the carrier has filed the requisite certification pursuant to this section.


(c) Certification format. (1) A certification pursuant to this section may be filed in the form of a letter from the appropriate regulatory authority for the State, and must be filed with both the Office of the Secretary of the Commission clearly referencing WC Docket No. 14-58, and with the Administrator of the high-cost support mechanism, on or before the deadlines set forth in paragraph (d) of this section. If provided by the appropriate regulatory authority for the State, the annual certification must identify which carriers in the State are eligible to receive federal support during the applicable 12-month period, and must certify that those carriers only used support during the preceding calendar year and will only use support in the coming calendar year for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which support is intended. A State may file a supplemental certification for carriers not subject to the State’s annual certification. All certificates filed by a State pursuant to this section shall become part of the public record maintained by the Commission.


(2) An eligible telecommunications carrier not subject to the jurisdiction of a State shall file a sworn affidavit executed by a corporate officer attesting that the carrier only used support during the preceding calendar year and will only use support in the coming calendar year for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which support is intended. The affidavit must be filed with both the Office of the Secretary of the Commission clearly referencing WC Docket No. 14-58, and with the Administrator of the high-cost universal service support mechanism, on or before the deadlines set forth in paragraph (d) of this section. All affidavits filed pursuant to this section shall become part of the public record maintained by the Commission.


(d) Filing deadlines. (1) In order for an eligible telecommunications carrier to receive federal high-cost support, the state or the eligible telecommunications carrier, if not subject to the jurisdiction of a state, must file an annual certification, as described in paragraph (c) of this section, with both the Administrator and the Commission by October 1 of each year. If a state or eligible telecommunications carrier files the annual certification after the October 1 deadline, the carrier subject to the certification shall receive a reduction in its support pursuant to the following schedule:


(i) An eligible telecommunications carrier subject to certifications filed after the October 1 deadline, but by October 8, will have its support reduced in an amount equivalent to seven days in support;


(ii) An eligible telecommunications carrier subject to certifications filed on or after October 9 will have its support reduced on a pro-rata daily basis equivalent to the period of non-compliance, plus the minimum seven-day reduction.


(2) Grace period. If an eligible telecommunications carrier or state submits the annual certification required by this section after October 1 but before October 5, the eligible telecommunications carrier subject to the certification will not receive a reduction in support if the eligible telecommunications carrier and its holding company, operating companies, and affiliates as reported pursuant to § 54.313(a)(8) have not missed the October 1 deadline in any prior year.


[76 FR 73875, Nov. 29, 2011; 79 FR 39189, July 9, 2014; 80 FR 4477, Jan. 27, 2015]


§ 54.315 Application process for Connect America Fund phase II support distributed through competitive bidding.

(a) Application to participate in competitive bidding for Phase II support. In addition to providing information specified in § 1.21001(b) of this chapter and any other information required by the Commission, an applicant to participate in competitive bidding for Phase II auction support shall:


(1) Provide ownership information as set forth in § 1.2112(a) of this chapter;


(2) Certify that the applicant is financially and technically qualified to meet the public interest obligations of § 54.309 for each relevant tier and in each area for which it seeks support;


(3) Disclose its status as an eligible telecommunications carrier to the extent applicable and certify that it acknowledges that it must be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier for the area in which it will receive support prior to being authorized to receive support;


(4) Indicate the tier of bids that the applicant plans to make and describe the technology or technologies that will be used to provide service for each tier of bid;


(5) Submit any information required to establish eligibility for any bidding weights adopted by the Commission in an order or public notice;


(6) To the extent that an applicant plans to use spectrum to offer its voice and broadband services, demonstrate it has the proper authorizations, if applicable, and access to operate on the spectrum it intends to use, and that the spectrum resources will be sufficient to cover peak network usage and deliver the minimum performance requirements to serve all of the fixed locations in eligible areas, and certify that it will retain its access to the spectrum for at least 10 years from the date of the funding authorization; and


(7) Submit specified operational and financial information.


(i) Submit a certification that the applicant has provided a voice, broadband, and/or electric transmission or distribution service for at least two years or that it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of such an entity, and specifying the number of years the applicant or its parent company has been operating, and submit the financial statements from the prior fiscal year that are audited by a certified public accountant. If the applicant is not audited in the ordinary course of business, in lieu of submitting audited financial statements it must certify that it will provide financial statements from the prior fiscal year that are audited by a certified independent public accountant by a specified deadline during the long-form application review process.


(A) If the applicant has provided a voice and/or broadband service it must certify that it has filed FCC Form 477s as required during this time period.


(B) If the applicant has operated only an electric transmission or distribution service, it must submit qualified operating or financial reports that it has filed with the relevant financial institution for the relevant time period along with a certification that the submission is a true and accurate copy of the reports that were provided to the relevant financial institution.


(ii) If an applicant cannot meet the requirements in paragraph (a)(7)(i) of this section, in the alternative it must submit the audited financial statements from the three most recent fiscal years and a letter of interest from a bank meeting the qualifications set forth in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, that the bank would provide a letter of credit as described in paragraph (c) of this section to the bidder if the bidder were selected for bids of a certain dollar magnitude.


(b) Application by winning bidders for Phase II auction support – (1) Deadline. As provided by public notice, winning bidders for Phase II auction support shall file an application for Phase II auction support no later than the number of business days specified after the public notice identifying them as winning bidders.


(2) Application contents. An application for Phase II auction support must contain:


(i) Identification of the party seeking the support, including ownership information as set forth in § 1.2112(a) of this chapter;


(ii) Certification that the applicant is financially and technically qualified to meet the public interest obligations of § 54.309 for each tier in which it is a winning bidder and in each area for which it seeks support;


(iii) Certification that the applicant will meet the relevant public interest obligations for each relevant tier, including the requirement that it will offer service at rates that are equal or lower to the Commission’s reasonable comparability benchmarks for fixed wireline services offered in urban areas;


(iv) A description of the technology and system design the applicant intends to use to deliver voice and broadband service, including a network diagram which must be certified by a professional engineer. The professional engineer must certify that the network is capable of delivering, to at least 95 percent of the required number of locations in each relevant state, voice and broadband service that meets the requisite performance requirements in § 54.309;


(v) Certification that the applicant will have available funds for all project costs that exceed the amount of support to be received from the Phase II auction for the first two years of its support term and that the applicant will comply with all program requirements, including service milestones;


(vi) A description of how the required construction will be funded, including financial projections that demonstrate the applicant can cover the necessary debt service payments over the life of the loan, if any;


(vii) Certification that the party submitting the application is authorized to do so on behalf of the applicant; and


(viii) Such additional information as the Commission may require.


(3) No later than the number of days provided by public notice, the applicant shall submit a letter from a bank meeting the eligibility requirements outlined in paragraph (c) of this section committing to issue an irrevocable stand-by letter of credit, in the required form, to the winning bidder. The letter shall at a minimum provide the dollar amount of the letter of credit and the issuing bank’s agreement to follow the terms and conditions of the Commission’s model letter of credit.


(4) No later than 180 days after the public notice identifying them as a winning bidder, bidders that did not submit audited financial statements in their short-form application pursuant to paragraph (a)(7)(i) of this section must submit the financial statements from the prior fiscal year that are audited by a certified independent public accountant.


(5) No later than 180 days after the public notice identifying it as a winning bidder, the applicant shall certify that it is an eligible telecommunications carrier in any area for which it seeks support and submit the relevant documentation supporting that certification.


(6) Application processing. (i) No application will be considered unless it has been submitted in an acceptable form during the period specified by public notice. No applications submitted or demonstrations made at any other time shall be accepted or considered.


(ii) Any application that, as of the submission deadline, either does not identify the applicant seeking support as specified in the public notice announcing application procedures or does not include required certifications shall be denied.


(iii) An applicant may be afforded an opportunity to make minor modifications to amend its application or correct defects noted by the applicant, the Commission, the Administrator, or other parties. Minor modifications include correcting typographical errors in the application and supplying non-material information that was inadvertently omitted or was not available at the time the application was submitted.


(iv) Applications to which major modifications are made after the deadline for submitting applications shall be denied. Major modifications include, but are not limited to, any changes in the ownership of the applicant that constitute an assignment or change of control, or the identity of the applicant, or the certifications required in the application.


(v) After receipt and review of the applications, a public notice shall identify each winning bidder that may be authorized to receive Phase II auction support after the winning bidder submits a letter of credit and an accompanying opinion letter as described in paragraph (c) of this section, in a form acceptable to the Commission. Each such winning bidder shall submit a letter of credit and accompanying opinion letter as required by paragraph (c) of this section, in a form acceptable to the Commission no later than the number of business days provided by public notice.


(vi) After receipt of all necessary information, a public notice will identify each winning bidder that is authorized to receive Phase II auction support.


(c) Letter of credit. Before being authorized to receive Phase II auction support, a winning bidder shall obtain an irrevocable standby letter of credit which shall be acceptable in all respects to the Commission.


(1) Value. Each recipient authorized to receive Phase II support shall maintain the standby letter of credit or multiple standby letters of credit in an amount equal to at a minimum the amount of Phase II auction support that has been disbursed and that will be disbursed in the coming year, until the Universal Service Administrative Company has verified that the recipient met the final service milestone as described in § 54.310(c).


(i) Once the recipient has met its 60 percent service milestone, it may obtain a new letter of credit or renew its existing letter of credit so that it is valued at a minimum at 90 percent of the total support amount already disbursed plus the amount that will be disbursed in the coming year.


(ii) Once the recipient has met its 80 percent service milestone, it may obtain a new letter of credit or renew its existing letter of credit so that it is valued at a minimum at 60 percent of the total support that has been disbursed plus the amount that will be disbursed in the coming year.


(2) The bank issuing the letter of credit shall be acceptable to the Commission. A bank that is acceptable to the Commission is:


(i) Any United States bank


(A) That is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and


(B) That has a bank safety rating issued by Weiss of B- or better; or


(ii) CoBank, so long as it maintains assets that place it among the 100 largest United States Banks, determined on basis of total assets as of the calendar year immediately preceding the issuance of the letter of credit and it has a long-term unsecured credit rating issued by Standard & Poor’s of BBB- or better (or an equivalent rating from another nationally recognized credit rating agency); or


(iii) The National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, so long as it maintains assets that place it among the 100 largest United States Banks, determined on basis of total assets as of the calendar year immediately preceding the issuance of the letter of credit and it has a long-term unsecured credit rating issued by Standard & Poor’s of BBB- or better (or an equivalent rating from another nationally recognized credit rating agency); or


(iv) Any non-United States bank


(A) That is among the 100 largest non-U.S. banks in the world, determined on the basis of total assets as of the end of the calendar year immediately preceding the issuance of the letter of credit (determined on a U.S. dollar equivalent basis as of such date);


(B) Has a branch office:


(1) Located in the District of Columbia; or


(2) Located in New York City, New York, or such other branch office agreed to by the Commission, that will accept a letter of credit presentation from the Administrator via overnight courier, in addition to in-person presentations;


(C) Has a long-term unsecured credit rating issued by a widely-recognized credit rating agency that is equivalent to a BBB- or better rating by Standard & Poor’s; and


(D) Issues the letter of credit payable in United States dollars


(3) A winning bidder for Phase II auction support shall provide with its letter of credit an opinion letter from its legal counsel clearly stating, subject only to customary assumptions, limitations, and qualifications, that in a proceeding under Title 11 of the United States Code, 11 U.S.C. 101 et seq. (the “Bankruptcy Code”), the bankruptcy court would not treat the letter of credit or proceeds of the letter of credit as property of the winning bidder’s bankruptcy estate under section 541 of the Bankruptcy Code.


(4) Authorization to receive Phase II auction support is conditioned upon full and timely performance of all of the requirements set forth in this section, and any additional terms and conditions upon which the support was granted.


(i) Failure by a Phase II auction support recipient to meet its service milestones as required by § 54.310 will trigger reporting obligations and the withholding of support as described in § 54.320(c). Failure to come into full compliance within 12 months will trigger a recovery action by the Universal Service Administrative Company. If the Phase II recipient does not repay the requisite amount of support within six months, the Universal Service Administrative Company will be entitled to draw the entire amount of the letter of credit and may disqualify the Phase II auction support recipient from the receipt of Phase II auction support or additional universal service support.


(ii) The default will be evidenced by a letter issued by the Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau or the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, or their respective designees, which letter, attached to a standby letter of credit draw certificate, shall be sufficient for a draw on the standby letter of credit for the entire amount of the standby letter of credit.


[81 FR 44449, July 7, 2016, as amended at 83 FR 15994, Apr. 13, 2018; 83 FR 18454, Apr. 27, 2018; 85 FR 75819, Nov. 25, 2020]


§ 54.316 Broadband deployment reporting and certification requirements for high-cost recipients.

(a) Broadband deployment reporting. Rate-of Return ETCs, ETCs that elect to receive Connect America Phase II model-based support, and ETCs awarded support to serve fixed locations through a competitive bidding process shall have the following broadband reporting obligations:


(1) Recipients of high-cost support with defined broadband deployment obligations pursuant to § 54.308(a), 54.308(c), or § 54.310(c) shall provide to the Administrator on a recurring basis information regarding the locations to which the eligible telecommunications carrier is offering broadband service in satisfaction of its public interest obligations, as defined in either § 54.308 or § 54.309.


(2) Recipients subject to the requirements of § 54.308(a)(1) shall report the number of locations for each state and locational information, including geocodes, separately indicating whether they are offering service providing speeds of at least 4 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream, 10 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream, and 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream.


(3) Recipients subject to the requirements of § 54.308(a)(2) shall report the number of newly served locations for each study area and locational information, including geocodes, separately indicating whether they are offering service providing speeds of at least 4 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream, 10 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream, and 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream.


(4) Recipients subject to the requirements of § 54.310(c) shall report the number of locations for each state and locational information, including geocodes, where they are offering service at the requisite speeds. Recipients of Connect America Phase II auction support shall also report the technology they use to serve those locations.


(5) Recipients subject to the requirements of § 54.308(c) shall report the number of newly deployed and upgraded locations and locational information, including geocodes, where they are offering service providing speeds they committed to in their adopted performance plans pursuant to § 54.306(b).


(6) Recipients subject to the requirements of § 54.308(c) or § 54.317(e) shall submit fiber network maps or microwave network maps covering eligible areas. At the end of any calendar year for which middle-mile facilities were deployed, these recipients shall also submit updated maps showing middle-mile facilities that are or will be used to support their services in eligible areas.


(7) Recipients subject to the requirements of § 54.1506 shall report the number of locations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and locational information, including geocodes, where they are offering service at the requisite speeds. Recipients shall also report the technologies they use to serve those locations.


(8) Recipients subject to the requirements of § 54.802(c) shall report the number of locations for each state and locational information, including geocodes, where they are offering service at the requisite speeds. Recipients of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund support shall also report the technology they use to serve those locations.


(b) Broadband deployment certifications. Rate-of Return ETCs, ETCs that elect to receive Connect America Phase II model-based support, and ETCs awarded support through a competitive bidding process shall have the following broadband deployment certification obligations:


(1) Price cap carriers that elect to receive Connect America Phase II model-based support shall provide: No later than March 1, 2017, and every year thereafter ending on no later than March 1, 2021, a certification that by the end of the prior calendar year, it was offering broadband meeting the requisite public interest obligations specified in § 54.309 to the required percentage of its supported locations in each state as set forth in § 54.310(c).


(2) Rate-of-return carriers electing CAF-ACAM support pursuant to § 54.311 shall provide:


(i) No later than March 1, 2021, and every year thereafter ending on no later than March 1, 2029, a certification that by the end of the prior calendar year, it was offering broadband meeting the requisite public interest obligations specified in § 54.308 to the required percentage of its fully funded locations in the state, pursuant to the interim deployment milestones set forth in § 54.311(d).


(ii) No later than March 1, 2027, a certification that as of December 31, 2026, it was offering broadband meeting the requisite public interest obligations specified in § 54.308(a)(1) to all of its fully funded locations in the state and to the required percentage of its capped locations in the state.


(3) Rate-of-return carriers receiving support pursuant to subparts K and M of this part shall provide:


(i) No later than March 1, 2024, a certification that it fulfilled the deployment obligation meeting the requisite public interest obligations as specified in § 54.308(a)(2) to the required number of locations as of December 31, 2023.


(ii) Every subsequent five-year period thereafter, a certification that it fulfilled the deployment obligation meeting the requisite public interest obligations as specified in § 54.308(a)(2)(iv).


(4) Recipients of Connect America Phase II auction support shall provide: By the last business day of the second calendar month following each service milestone in § 54.310(c), a certification that by the end of the prior support year, it was offering broadband meeting the requisite public interest obligations specific in § 54.309 to the required percentage of its supported locations in each state as set forth in § 54.310(c).


(5) Recipients of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund support shall provide: No later than March 1 following each service milestone specified by the Commission, a certification that by the end of the prior support year, it was offering broadband meeting the requisite public interest obligations to the required percentage of its supported locations in each state.


(6) A rate-of-return carrier authorized to receive Alaska Plan support pursuant to § 54.306 shall provide:


(i) No later than March 1, 2022 a certification that it fulfilled the deployment obligations and is offering service meeting the requisite public interest obligations as specified in § 54.308(c) to the required number of locations as of December 31, 2021.


(ii) No later than March 1, 2027 a certification that it fulfilled the deployment obligations and is offering service meeting the requisite public interest obligations as specified in § 54.308(c) to the required number of locations as of December 31, 2026.


(7) Recipients of Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund Stage 2 fixed and Connect USVI Fund fixed Stage 2 fixed support shall provide: On an annual basis by the last business day of the second calendar month following each service milestone in § 54.1506, a certification that by the end of the prior support year, it was offering broadband meeting the requisite public interest obligations specified in § 54.1507 to the required percentage of its supported locations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as set forth in § 54.1506. The annual certification shall quantify the carrier’s progress toward or, as applicable, completion of deployment in accordance with the resilience and redundancy commitments in its application and in accordance with the detailed network plan it submitted to the Wireline Competition Bureau.


(c) Filing deadlines. In order for a recipient of high-cost support to continue to receive support for the following calendar year, or retain its eligible telecommunications carrier designations, it must submit the annual reporting information as set forth below.


(1) Price cap carriers that accepted Phase II model-based support, rate-of-return carriers, and recipients of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund support must submit the annual reporting information required by March 1 as described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section. Eligible telecommunications carriers that file their reports after the March 1 deadline shall receive a reduction in support pursuant to the following schedule:


(i) An eligible telecommunications carrier that files after the March 1 deadline, but by March 8, will have its support reduced in an amount equivalent to seven days in support;


(ii) An eligible telecommunications carrier that files on or after March 9 will have its support reduced on a pro-rata daily basis equivalent to the period of non-compliance, plus the minimum seven-day reduction;


(iii) Grace period. An eligible telecommunications carrier that submits the annual reporting information required by this section after March 1 but before March 5 will not receive a reduction in support if the eligible telecommunications carrier and its holding company, operating companies, and affiliates as reported pursuant to § 54.313(a)(8) in their report due July 1 of the prior year have not missed the March 1 deadline in any prior year.


(2) Recipients of support to serve fixed locations awarded through a competitive bidding process must submit the annual reporting information required by the last business day of the second calendar month following the relevant support years as described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section. Eligible telecommunications carriers that file their reports after the deadline shall receive a reduction in support pursuant to the following schedule:


(i) An eligible telecommunications carrier that files after the deadline, but within seven days of the deadline, will have its support reduced in an amount equivalent to seven days in support;


(ii) An eligible telecommunications carrier that filed on or after the eighth day following the deadline will have its support reduced on a pro-rata daily basis equivalent to the period of non-compliance, plus the minimum seven-day reduction;


(iii) Grace period. An eligible telecommunications carrier that submits the annual reporting information required by this section within three days of the deadline will not receive a reduction in support if the eligible telecommunications carrier and its holding company, operating companies, and affiliates as reported pursuant to § 54.313(a)(8) in their report due July 1 of the prior year have not missed the deadline in any prior year.


[81 FR 24341, Apr. 25, 2016, as amended at 81 FR 44451, July 7, 2016; 81 FR 69713, Oct. 7, 2016; 82 FR 14340, Mar. 20, 2017; 84 FR 4732, Feb. 19, 2019; 84 FR 59964, Nov. 7, 2019, 85 FR 13798, Mar. 10, 2020; 87 FR 13948, Mar. 11, 2022]


§ 54.317 Alaska Plan for competitive eligible telecommunications carriers serving remote Alaska.

(a) Election of support. Subject to the requirements of this section, certain competitive eligible telecommunications carriers serving remote areas in Alaska, as defined in § 54.307(e)(3)(i), shall have a one-time option to elect to participate in the Alaska Plan. Carriers exercising this option with approved performance plans shall have their support frozen for a period of ten years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, at a date set by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, notwithstanding § 54.307.


(b) Carriers eligible for support. A competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall be eligible for frozen support pursuant to the Alaska Plan if that carrier serves remote areas in Alaska as defined by § 54.307(e)(3)(i) and if that carrier certified that it served covered locations in Alaska in its September 30, 2011, filing of line counts with the Administrator and submitted a performance plan by August 23, 2016.


(c) Interim support for remote areas in Alaska. From January 1, 2012, until December 31, 2016, competitive eligible telecommunications carriers subject to the delayed phase down for remote areas in Alaska pursuant to § 54.307(e)(3) shall receive support as calculated in § 54.307(e)(3)(v).


(d) Support amounts and support term. For a period of 10 years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, at a date set by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, notwithstanding § 54.307, each Alaska Plan participant shall receive monthly Alaska Plan support in an amount equal to the annualized monthly support amount it received for December 2014. Alaska Plan participants shall no longer be required to file line counts.


(e) Use of frozen support. Frozen support allocated through the Alaska Plan may only be used to provide mobile voice and mobile broadband service in those census blocks in remote areas of Alaska, as defined in § 54.307(e)(3)(i), that did not, as of December 31, 2014, receive 4G LTE service directly from providers that were either unsubsidized or ineligible to claim the delayed phase down under § 54.307(e)(3) and covering, in the aggregate, at least 85 percent of the population of the block. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to limit the use of frozen support to build or upgrade middle-mile infrastructure outside such remote areas of Alaska if such middle mile infrastructure is necessary to the provision of mobile voice and mobile broadband service in such remote areas. Alaska Plan participants may use frozen support to provide mobile voice and mobile broadband service in remote areas of Alaska served by competitive eligible telecommunications carrier partners of ineligible carriers if those areas are served using the competitive eligible telecommunications carrier’s infrastructure.


(f) Performance plans. In order to receive support pursuant to this section, a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier must be subject to a performance plan approved by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. The performance plan must indicate specific deployment obligations and performance requirements sufficient to demonstrate that support is being used in the public interest and in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section and the requirements adopted by the Commission for the Alaska Plan. For each level of wireless service offered (2G/Voice, 3G, and 4G LTE) and each type of middle mile used in connection with that level of service, the performance plan must specify minimum speeds that will be offered to a specified population by the end of the fifth year of support and by the end of the tenth year of support. Alaska Plan participants shall, no later than the end of the fourth year of the ten-year term, review and modify their end-of-term commitments in light of any new developments, including newly available infrastructure. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau may require the filing of revised commitments at other times if justified by developments that occur after the approval of the initial performance commitments. If the specific performance obligations are not achieved in the time period identified in the approved performance plans the carrier shall be subject to § 54.320(c) and (d).


(g) Phase down of non-participating competitive eligible telecommunications carrier high-cost support. Notwithstanding § 54.307, and except as provided in paragraph (h) of this section, support distributed in Alaska on or after January 1, 2017 to competitive eligible telecommunications carriers that serve areas in Alaska other than remote areas of Alaska, that are ineligible for frozen support under paragraphs (b) or (e) of this section, or that do not elect to receive support under this section, shall be governed by this paragraph. Such support shall be subject to phase down in three years as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, except that carriers that are not signatories to the Alaska Plan will instead be subject to a three-year phase down commencing on September 1, 2017, and competitive eligible telecommunications carriers that are signatories to the Alaska Plan but did not submit a performance plan by August 23, 2016 shall not receive support in remote areas beginning January 1, 2017.


(1) From January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017, each such competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive two-thirds of the monthly support amount the carrier received for December 2014 for the relevant study area.


(2) From January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018, each such competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive one-third of the monthly support amount the carrier received for December 2014 for the relevant study area.


(3) Beginning January 1, 2019, no such competitive eligible telecommunications carrier shall receive universal service support for the relevant study area pursuant to this section or § 54.307.


(h) Support for unserved remote areas of Alaska. Beginning January 1, 2017, support that, but for paragraph (g) of this section, would be allocated to carriers subject to paragraph (g) of this section shall be allocated for a reverse auction, with performance obligations established at the time of such auction, for deployment of mobile service to remote areas of Alaska, as defined in § 54.307(e)(3)(i), that are without commercial mobile radio service as of December 31, 2014.


[81 FR 69714, Oct. 7, 2016]


§ 54.318 [Reserved]

§ 54.319 Elimination of high-cost support in areas with 100 percent coverage by an unsubsidized competitor.

(a)-(c) [Reserved]


(d) High-cost universal service support pursuant to subpart K of this part shall be eliminated for those census blocks of an incumbent rate-of-return local exchange carrier study area where an unsubsidized competitor, or combination of unsubsidized competitors, as defined in § 54.5, offer(s) voice and broadband service meeting the public interest obligations in § 54.308(a)(2) to at least 85 percent of residential locations in the census block. Qualifying competitors must be able to port telephone numbers from consumers.


(e) After a determination that a particular census block is served by a competitor as defined in paragraph (d) of this section, support provided pursuant to subpart K of this part shall be disaggregated pursuant to a method elected by the incumbent local exchange carrier. The sum of support that is disaggregated for competitive and non-competitive areas shall equal the total support available to the study area without disaggregation.


(f) For any incumbent local exchange carrier for which the disaggregated support for competitive census blocks represents less than 25 percent of the support the carrier would have received in the study area in the absence of this rule, support provided pursuant to subpart K of this part shall be reduced according to the following schedule:


(1) In the first year, 66 percent of the incumbent’s disaggregated support for the competitive census block will be provided;


(2) In the second year, 33 percent of the incumbent’s disaggregated support for the competitive census blocks will be provided;


(3) In the third year and thereafter, no support shall be provided pursuant to subpart K of this part for any competitive census block.


(g) For any incumbent local exchange carrier for which the disaggregated support for competitive census blocks represents 25 percent or more of the support the carrier would have received in the study area in the absence of this rule, support shall be reduced for each competitive census block according to the following schedule:


(1) In the first year, 83 percent of the incumbent’s disaggregated support for the competitive census blocks will be provided;


(2) In the second year, 66 percent of the incumbent’s disaggregated support for the competitive census blocks will be provided;


(3) In the third year, 49 percent of the incumbent’s disaggregated support for the competitive census blocks will be provided;


(4) In the fourth year, 32 percent of the incumbent’s disaggregated support the competitive census block will be provided;


(5) In the fifth year, 15 percent of the incumbent’s disaggregated support the competitive census blocks will be provided;


(6) In the sixth year and thereafter, no support shall be paid provided pursuant to subpart K of this part for any competitive census block.


(h) The Wireline Competition Bureau shall update its analysis of competitive overlap in census blocks every seven years, utilizing the current public interest obligations in § 54.308(a)(2) as the standard that must be met by an unsubsidized competitor.


[80 FR 4478, Jan. 27, 2015, as amended at 81 FR 24342, Apr. 25, 2016; 82 FR 14340, Mar. 20, 2017; 83 FR 14189, Apr. 3, 2018; 84 FR 4732, Feb. 19, 2019]


§ 54.320 Compliance and recordkeeping for the high-cost program.

(a) Eligible telecommunications carriers authorized to receive universal service high-cost support are subject to random compliance audits and other investigations to ensure compliance with program rules and orders.


(b) All eligible telecommunications carriers shall retain all records required to demonstrate to auditors that the support received was consistent with the universal service high-cost program rules. This documentation must be maintained for at least ten years from the receipt of funding. All such documents shall be made available upon request to the Commission and any of its Bureaus or Offices, the Administrator, and their respective auditors.


(c) Eligible telecommunications carriers authorized to receive high-cost support that fail to comply with public interest obligations or any other terms and conditions may be subject to further action, including the Commission’s existing enforcement procedures and penalties, reductions in support amounts, potential revocation of ETC designation, and suspension or debarment pursuant to § 54.8.


(d) Eligible telecommunications carriers subject to defined build-out milestones must notify the Commission and USAC, and the relevant state, U.S. Territory, or Tribal government, if applicable, within 10 business days after the applicable deadline if they have failed to meet a build-out milestone.


(1) Interim build-out milestones. Upon notification that an eligible telecommunications carrier has defaulted on an interim build-out milestone after it has begun receiving high-cost support, the Wireline Competition Bureau – or Wireless Telecommunications Bureau in the case of mobile carrier participants – will issue a letter evidencing the default. For purposes of determining whether a default has occurred, a carrier must be offering service meeting the requisite performance obligations. The issuance of this letter shall initiate reporting obligations and withholding of a percentage of the eligible telecommunication carrier’s total monthly high-cost support, if applicable, starting the month following the issuance of the letter:


(i) Tier 1. If an eligible telecommunications carrier has a compliance gap of at least five percent but less than 15 percent of the number of locations that the eligible telecommunications carrier is required to have built out to or, in the case of Alaska Plan mobile-carrier participants, population covered by the specified technology, middle mile, and speed of service in the carrier’s approved performance plan, by the interim milestone, the Wireline Competition Bureau or Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, will issue a letter to that effect. Starting three months after the issuance of this letter, the eligible telecommunications carrier will be required to file a report every three months identifying the geocoded locations to which the eligible telecommunications carrier has newly deployed facilities capable of delivering broadband meeting the requisite requirements with Connect America support in the previous quarter, or, in the case of Alaska Plan mobile-carrier participants, the populations to which the competitive eligible telecommunications carrier has extended or upgraded service meeting their approved performance plan and obligations. Eligible telecommunications carriers that do not file these quarterly reports on time will be subject to support reductions as specified in § 54.313(j). The eligible telecommunications carrier must continue to file quarterly reports until the eligible telecommunications carrier reports that it has reduced the compliance gap to less than five percent of the required number of locations (or population, if applicable) for that interim milestone and the Wireline Competition Bureau or Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issues a letter to that effect.


(ii) Tier 2. If an eligible telecommunications carrier has a compliance gap of at least 15 percent but less than 25 percent of the number of locations that the eligible telecommunications carrier is required to have built out to or, in the case of Alaska Plan mobile-carrier participants, population covered by the specified technology, middle mile, and speed of service in the carrier’s approved performance plan, by the interim milestone, USAC will withhold 15 percent of the eligible telecommunications carrier’s monthly support for that support area and the eligible telecommunications carrier will be required to file quarterly reports. Once the eligible telecommunications carrier has reported that it has reduced the compliance gap to less than 15 percent of the required number of locations (or population, if applicable) for that interim milestone for that support area, the Wireline Competition Bureau or Wireless Telecommunications Bureau will issue a letter to that effect, USAC will stop withholding support, and the eligible telecommunications carrier will receive all of the support that had been withheld. The eligible telecommunications carrier will then move to Tier 1 status.


(iii) Tier 3. If an eligible telecommunications carrier has a compliance gap of at least 25 percent but less than 50 percent of the number of locations that the eligible telecommunications carrier is required to have built out to by the interim milestone, or, in the case of Alaska Plan mobile-carrier participants, population covered by the specified technology, middle mile, and speed of service in the carrier’s approved performance plan, USAC will withhold 25 percent of the eligible telecommunications carrier’s monthly support for that support area and the eligible telecommunications carrier will be required to file quarterly reports. Once the eligible telecommunications carrier has reported that it has reduced the compliance gap to less than 25 percent of the required number of locations (or population, if applicable) for that interim milestone for that support area, the Wireline Competition Bureau or Wireless Telecommunications Bureau will issue a letter to that effect, the eligible telecommunications carrier will move to Tier 2 status.


(iv) Tier 4. If an eligible telecommunications carrier has a compliance gap of 50 percent or more of the number of locations that the eligible telecommunications carrier is required to have built out to or, in the case of Alaska Plan mobile-carrier participants, population covered by the specified technology, middle mile, and speed of service in the carrier’s approved performance plan, by the interim milestone:


(A) USAC will withhold 50 percent of the eligible telecommunications carrier’s monthly support for that support area, and the eligible telecommunications carrier will be required to file quarterly reports.

As with the other tiers, as the eligible telecommunications carrier reports that it has lessened the extent of its non-compliance, and the Wireline Competition Bureau or Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issues a letter to that effect, it will move down the tiers until it reaches Tier 1 (or no longer is out of compliance with the relevant interim milestone).


(B) If after having 50 percent of its support withheld for six months the eligible telecommunications carrier has not reported that it is eligible for Tier 3 status (or one of the other lower tiers), USAC will withhold 100 percent of the eligible telecommunications carrier’s monthly support and will commence a recovery action for a percentage of support that is equal to the eligible telecommunications carrier’s compliance gap plus 10 percent of the ETC’s support that has been disbursed to that date.


(v) If at any point during the support term, the eligible telecommunications carrier reports that it is eligible for Tier 1 status, it will have its support fully restored, USAC will repay any funds that were recovered or withheld, and it will move to Tier 1 status.


(2) Final milestone. Upon notification that the eligible telecommunications carrier has not met a final milestone, the eligible telecommunications carrier will have twelve months from the date of the final milestone deadline to come into full compliance with this milestone. If the eligible telecommunications carrier does not report that it has come into full compliance with this milestone within twelve months, the Wireline Competition Bureau – or Wireless Telecommunications Bureau in the case of mobile carrier participants – will issue a letter to this effect. In the case of Alaska Plan mobile carrier participants, USAC will then recover the percentage of support that is equal to 1.89 times the average amount of support per location received by that carrier over the support term for the relevant percentage of population. For other recipients of high-cost support, USAC will then recover the percentage of support that is equal to 1.89 times the average amount of support per location received in the support area for that carrier over the term of support for the relevant number of locations plus 10 percent of the eligible telecommunications carrier’s total relevant high-cost support over the support term for that support area. Where a recipient is unable to demonstrate compliance with a final performance testing milestone, USAC will recover the percentage of support that is equal to 1.89 times the average amount of support per location received in the support area for the relevant number of locations for that carrier plus 10 percent of the eligible telecommunications carrier’s total relevant high cost-support over the support term for that support area, the total of which will then be multiplied by the percentage of time since the carrier was last able to demonstrate compliance based on performance testing, on a quarterly basis. In the event that a recipient fails to meet a final milestone both for build-out and performance compliance, USAC will recover the total of the percentage of support that is equal to 1.89 times the average amount of support per location received by that carrier over the support term for the relevant number of locations to which the carrier failed to build out; the percentage of support that is equal to 1.89 times the average amount of support per location received in the support area for the relevant number of locations for that carrier multiplied by the percentage of time since the carrier was last able to demonstrate compliance based on performance testing; and 10 percent of the eligible telecommunications carrier’s total relevant high-cost support over the support term for that support area.


(3) Compliance reviews. If subsequent to the eligible telecommunications carrier’s support term, USAC determines in the course of a compliance review that the eligible telecommunications carrier does not have sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it is offering service to all of the locations required by the final milestone or, in the case of Alaska Plan participants, did not provide service consistent with the carrier’s approved performance plan, USAC shall recover a percentage of support from the eligible telecommunications carrier as specified in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.


[76 FR 73876, Nov. 29, 2011, as amended at 80 FR 4478, Jan. 27, 2015; 81 FR 69714, Oct. 7, 2016; 84 FR 67235, Dec. 9, 2019]


§ 54.321 Reporting and certification requirements for Alaska Plan participants.

Any competitive eligible telecommunications carrier authorized to receive Alaska Plan support pursuant to § 54.317 shall provide:


(a) No later than 60 days after the end of each participating carrier’s first five-year term of support, a certification that it has met the obligations contained in the performance plan approved by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, including any obligations pursuant to a revised approved performance plan and that it has met the requisite public interest obligations contained in the Alaska Plan Order. For Alaska Plan participants receiving more than $5 million annually in support, this certification shall be accompanied by data received or used from drive tests analyzing network coverage for mobile service covering the population for which support was received and showing mobile transmissions to and from the carrier’s network meeting or exceeding the minimum expected download and upload speeds delineated in the approved performance plan.


(b) No later than 60 days after the end of each participating carrier’s second five-year term of support, a certification that it has met the obligations contained in the performance plan approved by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, including any obligations pursuant to a revised approved performance plan, and that it has met the requisite public interest obligations contained in the Alaska Plan Order. For Alaska Plan participants receiving more than $5 million annually in support, this certification shall be accompanied by data received or used from drive tests analyzing network coverage for mobile service covering the population for which support was received and showing mobile transmissions to and from the carrier’s network meeting or exceeding the minimum expected download and upload speeds delineated in the approved performance plan.


[81 FR 69716, Oct. 7, 2016]


§ 54.322 Public interest obligations and performance requirements, reporting requirements, and non-compliance mechanisms for mobile legacy high-cost support recipients.

(a) General. A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) shall deploy voice and broadband data services that meet at least the 5G-NR (New Radio) technology standards developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project with Release 15, or any successor release that may be adopted by the Office of Economics and Analytics and the Wireline Competition Bureau after notice and comment.


(b) Service milestones and deadlines. A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) shall deploy 5G service that meets the performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section to a percentage of the service areas for which the carrier receives monthly support and on a schedule as specified and adopted by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau after notice and comment.


(c) Support usage. A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii) or (e)(7)(iii) shall use an increasing percentage of such support for the deployment, maintenance, and operation of mobile networks that provide 5G service as specified in paragraph (a) of this section and that meet the performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section as follows:


(1) Year one support usage. The carrier shall use at least one-third (
1/3) of the total monthly support received pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) in calendar year 2021 as specified in paragraph (c) of this section by December 31, 2021.


(2) Year two support usage. The carrier shall use at least two-thirds (
2/3) of the total monthly support received pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) in calendar year 2022 as specified in paragraph (c) of this section by December 31, 2022.


(3) Year three and subsequent year support usage. The carrier shall use all monthly support received pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) as specified in paragraph (c) of this section in 2023 and thereafter.


(4) Year one support usage flexibility. If the carrier is unable to meet the support usage requirement in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the carrier shall have the flexibility to instead proportionally increase the support usage requirement in paragraph (c)(2) of this section such that its combined usage of monthly support received pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) in calendar years 2021 and 2022 is equal to the total amount of such support that the carrier receives annually, provided that the carrier certifies to the Wireline Competition Bureau this amount and that it will make up for any shortfall in a filing due by March 31, 2021 or 30 days after Paperwork Reduction Act approval, whichever is later.


(d) Performance requirements. A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) shall meet the following minimum baseline performance requirements for data speeds, data latency, and data allowances in areas that it has deployed 5G service as specified in paragraph (a) of this section and for which it receives support for at least one plan that it offers:


(1) Median data transmission rates of 35 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload, and with at least 90 percent of measurements recording data transmission rates of not less than 7 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload;


(2) Transmission latency of 100 milliseconds or less round trip for successfully transmitted measurements (i.e., ignoring lost or timed-out packets); with at least 90 percent of measurements recording latency of 100 milliseconds or less round trip, and


(3) At least one service plan offered must include a data allowance that is equivalent to the average United States subscriber data usage as specified and adopted by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau after notice and comment.


(e) Collocation obligations. A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall allow for reasonable collocation by other carriers of services that would meet the technological requirements specified in paragraph (a) of this section on all cell-site infrastructure constructed with universal service funds that it owns or manages in the area for which it receives such monthly support. In addition, during the time that the mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier receives such support, the carrier may not enter into facilities access arrangements that restrict any party to the arrangement from allowing others to collocate on the cell-site infrastructure.


(f) Voice and data roaming obligations. A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall comply with the Commission’s voice and data roaming requirements that are currently in effect on networks that are built with universal service funds.


(g) Reasonably comparable rates. A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall offer its services in the areas for which it receives such monthly support at rates that are reasonably comparable to those rates offered in urban areas and must advertise the voice and broadband services it offers in its subsidized service areas. A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier’s rates shall be considered reasonably comparable to urban rates, based upon the most recently-available decennial U.S. Census Bureau data identifying areas as urban, if rates for services in rural areas fall within a reasonable range of urban rates for reasonably comparable voice and broadband services.


(1) If the carrier offers service in urban areas, it may demonstrate that it offers reasonably comparable rates if it offers the same rates, terms, and conditions (including usage allowances, if any, for a specific rate) in both urban and rural areas or if one of the carrier’s stand-alone voice service plans and one service plan offering data are substantially similar to plans it offers in urban areas.


(2) If the carrier does not offer service in urban areas, it may demonstrate that it offers reasonably comparable rates by identifying a carrier that does offer service in urban areas and the specific rate plans to which its plans are reasonably comparable, along with submission of corroborating evidence that its rates are reasonably comparable, such as marketing materials from the identified carrier.


(h) Initial report of current service offerings. (1) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall submit an initial report describing its current service offerings in its subsidized service areas and how the monthly support it is receiving is being used in such areas no later than three months after the effective date of the Report and Order, FCC 20-150, and Paperwork Reduction Act approval. This report shall include the following information:


(i) Information regarding the carrier’s current service offerings in its subsidized service areas, including the highest level of technology deployed, a target date for when 5G broadband service meeting the performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section will be deployed within the subsidized service area, and an estimate of the percentage of area covered by 5G deployment meeting the performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section within the subsidized service area;


(ii) A brief narrative describing its current service offerings and providing an accounting of how monthly support has been used to provide mobile wireless services for the 12-month period prior to the deadline of this report;


(iii) Detailed cell-site and sector infrastructure information for infrastructure that the carrier uses to provide service in its subsidized service areas;


(iv) Certification that the carrier has filed relevant deployment data (either via FCC Form 477 or the Digital Opportunity Data Collection, as appropriate) that reflect its current deployment covering its subsidized service areas;


(v) Certification that the carrier is in compliance with the public interest obligations as set forth in this section and all of the terms and conditions associated with the continued receipt of such monthly support disbursements; and


(vi) Additional information as required by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau after release of a public notice detailing the procedures to file this report.


(2) The party submitting the report must certify that it has been authorized to do so by the mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives support.


(3) Each initial report of current service offerings shall be submitted solely via the Administrator’s online portal.


(i) The Commission and the Administrator shall treat infrastructure data submitted as part of such reports as presumptively confidential.


(ii) The Administrator shall make such reports available to the Commission and to the relevant state, territory, and Tribal governmental entities, as applicable.


(4) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall have a continuing obligation to maintain the accuracy and completeness of the information provided in its initial report. Any substantial change in the accuracy or completeness of such a report must be reported as an update to its submitted report within ten (10) business days after the reportable event occurs.


(5) The Commission shall retain the authority to look behind a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier’s initial report and to take action to address any violations.


(i) Annual reports. (1) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5) (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall submit an annual report no later than July 1 in each year following the year in which its initial report of current service offerings as specified in paragraph (h) of this section is submitted. Each such report shall include the following information:


(i) Except for areas for which the carriers receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(iv), (e)(6)(iv) or (e)(7)(iv), updated information regarding the carrier’s current service offerings in its subsidized service areas for the previous calendar year, including the highest level of technology deployed, a target date for when 5G broadband service meeting the performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section will be deployed within the subsidized service area, and an estimate of the percentage of area covered by 5G deployment meeting the performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section within the subsidized service area;


(ii) A brief narrative providing an accounting of the support the carrier has received and how monthly support has been used to provide mobile wireless services for the previous calendar year, with an indication of which of these expenditures were used to meet the requirements specified in paragraph (c) of this section within the subsidized service area;


(iii) Detailed cell-site and sector infrastructure information for infrastructure that the carrier uses to provide service in its subsidized service areas;


(iv) Certification that the carrier has filed relevant deployment data (either via FCC Form 477 or the Digital Opportunity Data Collection, as appropriate) that reflect its current deployment covering its subsidized service areas;


(v) Certification that the carrier is in compliance with the public interest obligations as set forth in this section and all of the terms and conditions associated with the continued receipt of monthly support; and


(vi) Additional information as required by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau after release of a public notice detailing the procedures to file these reports.


(2) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall supplement the information provided to the Administrator in any annual report within ten (10) business days from the onset of any reduction in the percentage of areas for which the recipient receives support being served after the filing of an initial or annual certification report or in the event of any failure to comply with any of the requirements for continued receipt of such support.


(3) The party submitting the annual report must certify that it has been authorized to do so by mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives support.


(4) Each annual report shall be submitted solely via the Administrator’s online portal.


(i) The Commission and the Administrator shall treat infrastructure data submitted as part of such a report as presumptively confidential.


(ii) The Administrator shall make such reports available to the Commission and to the relevant state, territory, and Tribal governmental entities, as applicable.


(5) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall have a continuing obligation to maintain the accuracy and completeness of the information provided in its annual reports. Any substantial change in the accuracy or completeness of any such report must be reported as an update to the submitted annual report within ten (10) business days after the reportable event occurs.


(6) The Commission shall retain the authority to look behind a mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier’s annual reports and to take action to address any violations.


(j) Service milestone reports. (1) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) shall submit a report after each of the service milestones described in paragraph (b) of this section by the deadlines established by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau demonstrating that it has deployed 5G service that meets the performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section, which shall include information as required by the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau in a public notice.


(2) All data submitted in or certified to in any service milestone report shall be subject to verification by the Administrator for compliance with the performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section.


(k) Non-compliance measures for failure to comply with performance requirements or public interest obligations. (1) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5) (e)(6), or (e)(7) that fails to comply with the public interest obligations set forth in paragraphs (e) through (j) of this section, fails to comply with the performance requirements set forth in paragraph (d) of this section at the prescribed level by the applicable service milestone deadline established in paragraph (b) of this section, or that fails to use monthly support as set forth in paragraph (c) of this section must notify the Wireline Competition Bureau and the Administrator within 10 business days of its non-compliance.


(2) Upon notification by a carrier of its non-compliance pursuant to paragraph (k) of this section, or a determination by the Administrator or Wireline Competition Bureau of a carrier’s non-compliance with any of the public interest obligations set forth in paragraphs (e) through (j) of this section or the performance requirements set forth in paragraph (d) of this section, the carrier will be deemed to be in default, and for monthly support received pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7), will no longer be eligible to receive such support, will receive no further support disbursements, and may be subject to recovery of up to the amount of support received since the effective date of the Report and Order, FCC 20-150, that was not used for the deployment, maintenance, and operation of mobile networks that provide 5G service as specified in paragraph (a) of this section and that meet the performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section. The carrier may also be subject to further action, including the Commission’s existing enforcement procedures and penalties, potential revocation of ETC designation, and suspension or debarment pursuant to § 54.8.


(3) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that voluntarily relinquishes receipt of monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) will no longer be required to comply with the public interest obligations specified in this section, except that the carrier may be deemed to be in default and subject to recovery of support as set forth in paragraph (k)(2) of this section.


[85 FR 75819, Nov. 25, 2020]



Effective Date Note:At 85 FR 75819, Nov. 25, 2020, § 54.322 was added, However, paragraphs (b), (g), (h), (i) and (j), have a delayed effective date.

Subpart E – Universal Service Support for Low-Income Consumers

54.400 Terms and definitions.

As used in this subpart, the following terms shall be defined as follows:


(a) Qualifying low-income consumer. A “qualifying low-income consumer” is a consumer who meets the qualifications for Lifeline, as specified in § 54.409.


(b) Toll blocking service. “Toll blocking service” is a service provided by an eligible telecommunications carrier that lets subscribers elect not to allow the completion of outgoing toll calls from their telecommunications channel.


(c) Toll control service. “Toll control service” is a service provided by an eligible telecommunications carrier that allows subscribers to specify a certain amount of toll usage that may be incurred on their telecommunications channel per month or per billing cycle.


(d) Toll limitation service. “Toll limitation service” denotes either toll blocking service or toll control service for eligible telecommunications carriers that are incapable of providing both services. For eligible telecommunications carriers that are capable of providing both services, “toll limitation service” denotes both toll blocking service and toll control service.


(e) Eligible resident of Tribal lands. An “eligible resident of Tribal lands” is a “qualifying low-income consumer,” as defined in paragraph (a) of this section, living on Tribal lands. For purposes of this subpart, “Tribal lands” include any federally recognized Indian tribe’s reservation, pueblo, or colony, including former reservations in Oklahoma; Alaska Native regions established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688); Indian allotments; Hawaiian Home Lands – areas held in trust for Native Hawaiians by the state of Hawaii, pursuant to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920 July 9, 1921, 42 Stat. 108, et. seq., as amended; and any land designated as such by the Commission for purposes of this subpart pursuant to the designation process in § 54.412.


(f) Income. “Income” means gross income as defined under section 61 of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 61, for all members of the household. This means all income actually received by all members of the household from whatever source derived, unless specifically excluded by the Internal Revenue Code, Part III of Title 26, 26 U.S.C. 101 et seq.


(g) Duplicative support. “Duplicative support” exists when a Lifeline subscriber is receiving two or more Lifeline services concurrently or two or more subscribers in a household are receiving Lifeline services or Tribal Link Up support concurrently.


(h) Household. A “household” is any individual or group of individuals who are living together at the same address as one economic unit. A household may include related and unrelated persons. An “economic unit” consists of all adult individuals contributing to and sharing in the income and expenses of a household. An adult is any person eighteen years or older. If an adult has no or minimal income, and lives with someone who provides financial support to him/her, both people shall be considered part of the same household. Children under the age of eighteen living with their parents or guardians are considered to be part of the same household as their parents or guardians.


(i) National Lifeline Accountability Database or Database. The “National Lifeline Accountability Database” or “Database” is an electronic system, with associated functions, processes, policies and procedures, to facilitate the detection and elimination of duplicative support, as directed by the Commission.


(j) Qualifying assistance program. A “qualifying assistance program” means any of the federal or Tribal assistance programs the participation in which, pursuant to § 54.409(a) or (b), qualifies a consumer for Lifeline service, including Medicaid; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Supplemental Security Income; Federal Public Housing Assistance; Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit; Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance; Tribally administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF); Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard); or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).


(k) Direct service. As used in this subpart, direct service means the provision of service directly to the qualifying low-income consumer.


(l) Broadband Internet access service. “Broadband Internet access service” is defined as a mass-market retail service by wire or radio that provides the capability to transmit data to and receive data from all or substantially all Internet endpoints, including any capabilities that are incidental to and enable the operation of the communications service, but excluding dial-up service.


(m) Voice telephony service. “Voice telephony service” is defined as voice grade access to the public switched network or its functional equivalent; minutes of use for local service provided at no additional charge to end users; access to the emergency services provided by local government or other public safety organizations, such as 911 and enhanced 911, to the extent the local government in an eligible carrier’s service area has implemented 911 or enhanced 911 systems; and toll limitation services to qualifying low-income consumers as provided in subpart E of this part.


(n) Supported service. Voice telephony service is the supported service for the Lifeline program.


(o) National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier. The “National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier” or “National Verifier” is an electronic and manual system with associated functions, processes, policies and procedures, to facilitate the determination of consumer eligibility for the Lifeline program, as directed by the Commission.


(p) Enrollment representatives. An employee, agent, contractor, or subcontractor, acting on behalf of an eligible telecommunications carrier or third-party entity, who directly or indirectly provides information to the Universal Service Administrative Company or a state entity administering the Lifeline Program for the purpose of eligibility verification, enrollment, recertification, subscriber personal information updates, benefit transfers, or de-enrollment.


[77 FR 12966, Mar. 2, 2012, as amended at 80 FR 40935, July 14, 2015; 81 FR 33089, May 24, 2016; 84 FR 71327, Dec. 27, 2019; 86 FR 1021, Jan.7, 2021]


§ 54.401 Lifeline defined.

(a) As used in this subpart, Lifeline means a non-transferable retail service offering provided directly to qualifying low-income consumers:


(1) For which qualifying low-income consumers pay reduced charges as a result of application of the Lifeline support amount described in § 54.403; and


(2) That provides qualifying low-income consumers with voice telephony service or broadband Internet access service as defined in § 54.400. Toll limitation service does not need to be offered for any Lifeline service that does not distinguish between toll and non-toll calls in the pricing of the service. If an eligible telecommunications carrier charges Lifeline subscribers a fee for toll calls that is in addition to the per month or per billing cycle price of the subscribers’ Lifeline service, the carrier must offer toll limitation service at no charge to its subscribers as part of its Lifeline service offering.


(b) Eligible telecommunications carriers may allow qualifying low-income consumers to apply Lifeline discounts to any residential service plan with the minimum service levels set forth in § 54.408 that includes fixed or mobile voice telephony service, broadband Internet access service, or a bundle of broadband Internet access service and fixed or mobile voice telephony service; and plans that include optional calling features such as, but not limited to, caller identification, call waiting, voicemail, and three-way calling.


(1) Eligible telecommunications carriers may permit qualifying low-income consumers to apply their Lifeline discount to family shared data plans.


(2) Eligible telecommunications carriers may allow qualifying low-income consumers to apply Lifeline discounts to any residential service plan that includes voice telephony service without qualifying broadband Internet access service prior to December 1, 2021.


(3) Beginning December 1, 2016, eligible telecommunications carriers must provide the minimum service levels for each offering of mobile voice service as defined in § 54.408.


(4) Beginning December 1, 2021, eligible telecommunications carriers must provide the minimum service levels for broadband Internet access service in every Lifeline offering.


(c) Eligible telecommunications carriers may not collect a service deposit in order to initiate Lifeline for voice-only service plans that:


(1) Do not charge subscribers additional fees for toll calls; or


(2) That charge additional fees for toll calls, but the subscriber voluntarily elects toll limitation service.


(d) When an eligible telecommunications carrier is designated by a state commission, the state commission shall file or require the eligible telecommunications carrier to file information with the Administrator demonstrating that the carrier’s Lifeline plan meets the criteria set forth in this subpart and describing the terms and conditions of any voice telephony service plans offered to Lifeline subscribers, including details on the number of minutes provided as part of the plan, additional charges, if any, for toll calls, and rates for each such plan. To the extent the eligible telecommunications carrier offers plans to Lifeline subscribers that are generally available to the public, it may provide summary information regarding such plans, such as a link to a public Web site outlining the terms and conditions of such plans. Lifeline assistance shall be made available to qualifying low-income consumers as soon as the Administrator certifies that the carrier’s Lifeline plan satisfies the criteria set out in this subpart.


(e) Consistent with § 52.33(a)(1)(i)(C) of this chapter, eligible telecommunications carriers may not charge Lifeline customers a monthly number-portability charge.


(f) Eligible telecommunications carriers may aggregate eligible subscribers’ benefits to provide a collective service to a group of subscribers, provided that each qualifying low-income consumer subscribed to the collective service receives residential service that meets the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section and § 54.408.


[77 FR 12967, Mar. 2, 2012, as amended at 80 FR 40935, July 14, 2015; 81 FR 33090, May 24, 2016]


§ 54.403 Lifeline support amount.

(a) The federal Lifeline support amount for all eligible telecommunications carriers shall equal:


(1) Basic support amount. Federal Lifeline support in the amount of $9.25 per month will be made available to an eligible telecommunications carrier providing Lifeline service to a qualifying low-income consumer, except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, if that carrier certifies to the Administrator that it will pass through the full amount of support to the qualifying low-income consumer and that it has received any non-federal regulatory approvals necessary to implement the rate reduction.


(2) For a Lifeline provider offering either standalone voice service, subject to the minimum service standards set forth in § 54.408, or voice service with broadband below the minimum standards set forth in § 54.408, the support levels will be as follows:


(i) Until December 1, 2019, the support amount will be $9.25 per month.


(ii) From December 1, 2019 until November 30, 2020, the support amount will be $7.25 per month.


(iii) From December 1, 2020 until November 30, 2021, the support amount will be $5.25 per month.


(iv) On December 1, 2021, standalone voice service, or voice service not bundled with broadband which meets the minimum standards set forth in § 54.408, will not be eligible for Lifeline support unless the Commission has previously determined otherwise.


(v) Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(2)(iv) of this section, on December 1, 2021, the support amount for standalone voice service, or voice service not bundled with broadband which meets the minimum standards set forth in § 54.408, provided by a provider that is the only Lifeline provider in a Census block will be the support amount specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section.


(3) Tribal lands support amount. Additional federal Lifeline support of up to $25 per month will be made available to a eligible telecommunications carrier providing facilities-based Lifeline service to an eligible resident of Tribal lands, as defined in § 54.400(e), if the subscriber’s residential location is rural, as defined in § 54.505(b)(3)(i) and (ii), and the eligible telecommunications carrier certifies to the Administrator that it will pass through the full Tribal lands support amount to the qualifying eligible resident of Tribal lands and that it has received any non-federal regulatory approvals necessary to implement the required rate reduction.


(b) Application of Lifeline discount amount. (1) Eligible telecommunications carriers that charge Federal End User Common Line charges or equivalent Federal charges must apply Federal Lifeline support to waive the Federal End User Common Line charges for Lifeline subscribers if the carrier is seeking Lifeline reimbursement for eligible voice telephony service provided to those subscribers. Such carriers must apply any additional Federal support amount to a qualifying low-income consumer’s intrastate rate, if the carrier has received the non-Federal regulatory approvals necessary to implement the required rate reduction. Other eligible telecommunications carriers must apply the Federal Lifeline support amount, plus any additional support amount, to reduce the cost of any generally available residential service plan or package offered by such carriers that provides at least one service commensurate with the requirements outlined in § 54.408, and charge Lifeline subscribers the resulting amount.


(2) [Reserved]


[77 FR 12967, Mar. 2, 2012, as amended at 81 FR 33090, May 24, 2016; 83 FR 2084, Jan. 16, 2018; 86 FR 1021, Jan. 7, 2021]


Effective Date Note:At 83 FR 2084, Jan. 16, 2018, § 54.403(a)(3) was revised. This paragraph contains information collection and recordkeeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

§ 54.404 The National Lifeline Accountability Database.

(a) State certification. An eligible telecommunications carrier operating in a state that provides an approved valid certification to the Commission in accordance with this section is not required to comply with the requirements set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section with respect to the eligible telecommunications carriers’ subscribers in that state. A valid certification must include a statement that the state has a comprehensive system in place to prevent duplicative federal Lifeline support that is at least as robust as the system adopted by the Commission and that incorporates information from all eligible telecommunications carriers receiving low-income support in the state and their subscribers. A valid certification must also describe in detail how the state system functions and for each requirement adopted by the Commission to prevent duplicative support, how the state system performs the equivalent functions. The certification must be submitted to the Commission no later than six months from the effective date of this section of the Commission’s rules to be valid. Such certification will be considered approved unless the Wireline Competition Bureau rejects the certification within 90 days of filing.


(b) The National Lifeline Accountability Database. In order to receive Lifeline support, eligible telecommunications carriers operating in states that have not provided the Commission with approved valid certification pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section must comply with the following requirements:


(1) All eligible telecommunications carriers must query the National Lifeline Accountability Database to determine whether a prospective subscriber who has executed a certification pursuant to § 54.410(d) is currently receiving a Lifeline service from another eligible telecommunications carrier; and whether anyone else living at the prospective subscriber’s residential address is currently receiving a Lifeline service.


(2) If the Database indicates that a prospective subscriber, who is not seeking to port his or her telephone number, is currently receiving a Lifeline service, the eligible telecommunications carrier must not provide and shall not seek or receive Lifeline reimbursement for that subscriber.


(3) If the Database indicates that another individual at the prospective subscriber’s residential address is currently receiving a Lifeline service, the eligible telecommunications carrier must not seek and will not receive Lifeline reimbursement for providing service to that prospective subscriber, unless the prospective subscriber has certified, pursuant to § 54.410(d), that to the best of his or her knowledge, no one in his or her household is already receiving a Lifeline service. This certification may be collected by the eligible telecommunications carrier prior to initial enrollment, but the certification shall not be recorded in the Database unless the eligible telecommunications carrier receives a notification from the Database or state administrator that another Lifeline subscriber resides at the same address as the prospective subscriber.


(4) An eligible telecommunications carrier is not required to comply with paragraphs (b)(1) through (3) of this section if it receives notice from a state Lifeline administrator or other state agency that the administrator or other agency has queried the Database about a prospective subscriber and that providing the prospective subscriber with a Lifeline benefit would not result in duplicative support.


(5) Eligible telecommunications carriers may query the Database only for the purposes provided in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(3) of this section, and to determine whether information with respect to its subscribers already in the Database is correct and complete.


(6) Eligible telecommunications carriers must transmit to the Database in a format prescribed by the Administrator each new and existing Lifeline subscriber’s full name; full residential address; date of birth and the last four digits of the subscriber’s Social Security number or Tribal Identification number, if the subscriber is a member of a Tribal nation and does not have a Social Security number; the telephone number associated with the Lifeline service; the date on which the Lifeline service was initiated; the date on which the Lifeline service was terminated, if it has been terminated; the amount of support being sought for that subscriber; and the means through which the subscriber qualified for Lifeline.


(7) In the event that two or more eligible telecommunications carriers transmit the information required by this paragraph to the Database for the same subscriber, only the eligible telecommunications carrier whose information was received and processed by the Database first, as determined by the Administrator, will be entitled to reimbursement from the Fund for that subscriber.


(8) All eligible telecommunications carriers must update an existing Lifeline subscriber’s information in the Database within ten business days of receiving any change to that information, except as described in paragraph (b)(10) of this section.


(9) All eligible telecommunications carriers must obtain, from each new and existing subscriber, consent to transmit the subscriber’s information. Prior to obtaining consent, the eligible telecommunications carrier must describe to the subscriber, using clear, easily understood language, the specific information being transmitted, that the information is being transmitted to the Administrator to ensure the proper administration of the Lifeline program, and that failure to provide consent will result in subscriber being denied the Lifeline service.


(10) When an eligible telecommunications carrier de-enrolls a subscriber, it must transmit to the Database the date of Lifeline service de-enrollment within one business day of de-enrollment.


(11) All eligible telecommunications carriers must securely retain subscriber documentation that the ETC reviewed to verify subscriber eligibility, for the purposes of production during audits or investigations or to the extent required by NLAD processes, which require, inter alia, verification of eligibility, identity, address, and age.


(12) An eligible telecommunications carrier must not enroll or claim for reimbursement a prospective subscriber in Lifeline if the National Lifeline Accountability Database or National Verifier cannot verify the identity of the subscriber or the subscriber’s status as alive, unless the subscriber produces documentation to demonstrate his or her identity and status as alive.


(c) Tribal Link Up and the National Lifeline Accountability Database. In order to receive universal service support reimbursement for Tribal Link Up, eligible telecommunications carriers operating in states that have not provided the Commission with a valid certification pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, must comply with the following requirements:


(1) Such eligible telecommunications carriers must query the Database to determine whether a prospective Link Up recipient who has executed a certification pursuant to § 54.410(d) has previously received a Link Up benefit at the residential address provided by the prospective subscriber.


(2) If the Database indicates that a prospective subscriber has received a Link Up benefit at the residential address provided by the subscriber, the eligible telecommunications provider must not seek Link Up reimbursement for that subscriber.


(3) An eligible telecommunications carrier is not required to comply with paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(2) of this section, if it receives notice from a state Lifeline administrator or other state agency that the administrator or other agency has queried the Database about a prospective subscriber and that providing the prospective subscriber with a Link Up benefit would not result in duplicative support or support to a subscriber who had already received Link Up support at that residential address.


(4) All eligible telecommunications carriers must transmit to the Database in a format prescribed by the Administrator each new and existing Link Up recipient’s full name; residential address; date of birth; and the last four digits of the subscriber’s Social Security number, or Tribal identification number if the subscriber is a member of a Tribal nation and does not have a Social Security number; the telephone number associated with the Link Up support; and the date of service activation. Where two or more eligible telecommunications carriers transmit the information required by this paragraph to the Database for the same subscriber, only the eligible telecommunications carrier whose information was received and processed by the Database first, as determined by the Administrator, will be entitled to reimbursement from the Fund for that subscriber.


(5) All eligible telecommunications carriers must obtain, from each new and existing subscriber, consent to transmit the information required in paragraph (c) of this section. Prior to obtaining consent, the eligible telecommunications carrier must describe to the subscriber, using clear, easily understood language, the specific information being transmitted, that the information is being transmitted to the Administrator to ensure the proper administration of the Link Up program, and that failure to provide consent will result in the subscriber being denied the Link Up benefit.


[77 FR 12968, Mar. 2, 2012, as amended at 80 FR 40935, July 14, 2015; 84 FR 71327, Dec. 27, 2019]


§ 54.405 Carrier obligation to offer Lifeline.

All eligible telecommunications carriers must:


(a) Make available Lifeline service, as defined in § 54.401, to qualifying low-income consumers.


(b) Publicize the availability of Lifeline service in a manner reasonably designed to reach those likely to qualify for the service.


(c) Indicate on all materials describing the service, using easily understood language, that it is a Lifeline service, that Lifeline is a government assistance program, the service is non-transferable, only eligible consumers may enroll in the program, and the program is limited to one discount per household. For the purposes of this section, the term “materials describing the service” includes all print, audio, video, and web materials used to describe or enroll in the Lifeline service offering, including application and certification forms.


(d) Disclose the name of the eligible telecommunications carrier on all materials describing the service.


(e) De-enrollment – (1) De-enrollment generally. If an eligible telecommunications carrier has a reasonable basis to believe that a Lifeline subscriber no longer meets the criteria to be considered a qualifying low-income consumer under § 54.409, the carrier must notify the subscriber of impending termination of his or her Lifeline service. Notification of impending termination must be sent in writing separate from the subscriber’s monthly bill, if one is provided, and must be written in clear, easily understood language. A carrier providing Lifeline service in a state that has dispute resolution procedures applicable to Lifeline termination that requires, at a minimum, written notification of impending termination, must comply with the applicable state requirements. The carrier must allow a subscriber 30 days following the date of the impending termination letter required to demonstrate continued eligibility. A subscriber making such a demonstration must present proof of continued eligibility to the carrier consistent with applicable annual re-certification requirements, as described in § 54.410(f). An eligible telecommunications carrier must de-enroll any subscriber who fails to demonstrate eligibility within five business days after the expiration of the subscriber’s time to respond. A carrier providing Lifeline service in a state that has dispute resolution procedures applicable to Lifeline termination must comply with the applicable state requirements.


(2) De-enrollment for duplicative support. Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(1) of this section, upon notification by the Administrator to any eligible telecommunications carrier that a subscriber is receiving Lifeline service from another eligible telecommunications carrier or that more than one member of a subscriber’s household is receiving Lifeline service and therefore that the subscriber should be de-enrolled from participation in that carrier’s Lifeline program, the eligible telecommunications carrier must de-enroll the subscriber from participation in that carrier’s Lifeline program within five business days. An eligible telecommunications carrier shall not be eligible for Lifeline reimbursement for any de-enrolled subscriber following the date of that subscriber’s de-enrollment.


(3) De-enrollment for non-usage. Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(1) of this section, if a Lifeline subscriber fails to use, as “usage” is defined in § 54.407(c)(2), for 30 consecutive days a Lifeline service that does not require the eligible telecommunications carrier to assess and collect a monthly fee from its subscribers, an eligible telecommunications carrier must provide the subscriber 15 days’ notice, using clear, easily understood language, that the subscriber’s failure to use the Lifeline service within the 15-day notice period will result in service termination for non-usage under this paragraph. Eligible telecommunications carriers shall report to the Commission annually the number of subscribers de-enrolled for non-usage under this paragraph. This de-enrollment information must be reported by month and must be submitted to the Commission at the time an eligible telecommunications carrier submits its annual certification report pursuant to § 54.416.


(4) De-enrollment for failure to re-certify. Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(1) of this section, an eligible telecommunications carrier must de-enroll a Lifeline subscriber who does not respond to the carrier’s attempts to obtain re-certification of the subscriber’s continued eligibility as required by § 54.410(f); or who fails to provide the annual one-per-household re-certifications as required by § 54.410(f). Prior to de-enrolling a subscriber under this paragraph, the eligible telecommunications carrier must notify the subscriber in writing separate from the subscriber’s monthly bill, if one is provided, using clear, easily understood language, that failure to respond to the re-certification request will trigger de-enrollment. A subscriber must be given 60 days to respond to recertification efforts. If a subscriber does not respond to the carrier’s notice of impending de-enrollment, the carrier must de-enroll the subscriber from Lifeline within five business days after the expiration of the subscriber’s time to respond to the re-certification efforts.


(5) De-enrollment requested by subscriber. If an eligible telecommunications carrier receives a request from a subscriber to de-enroll, it must de-enroll the subscriber within two business days after the request.


[77 FR 12969, Mar. 2, 2012, as amended at 80 FR 35577, June 22, 2015; 81 FR 33090, May 24, 2016; 81 FR 45974, July 15, 2016; 81 FR 33090, May 24, 2016]


§ 54.406 Activities of representatives of eligible telecommunications carriers.

(a) Enrollment representative registration. An eligible telecommunications carrier must require that enrollment representatives register with the Universal Service Administrative Company before the enrollment representative can provide information directly or indirectly to the National Lifeline Accountability Database or the National Verifier.


(1) As part of the registration process, eligible telecommunications carriers must require that all enrollment representatives must provide the Universal Service Administrative Company with identifying information, which may include first and last name, date of birth, the last four digits of his or her social security number, email address, and residential address. Enrollment representatives will be assigned a unique identifier, which must be used for:


(i) Accessing the National Lifeline Accountability Database;


(ii) Accessing the National Verifier;


(iii) Accessing any Lifeline eligibility database; and


(iv) Completing any Lifeline enrollment or recertification forms.


(2) Eligible telecommunications carriers must ensure that enrollment representatives shall not use another person’s unique identifier to enroll Lifeline subscribers, recertify Lifeline subscribers, or access the National Lifeline Accountability Database or National Verifier.


(3) Eligible telecommunications carriers must ensure that enrollment representatives shall regularly recertify their status with the Universal Service Administrative Company to maintain their unique identifier and maintain access to the systems that rely on a valid unique identifier. Eligible telecommunications carriers must also ensure that enrollment representatives shall update their registration information within 30 days of any change in such information.


(4) Enrollment representatives are not required to register with the Universal Service Administrative Company if the enrollment representative operates solely in a state that has been approved by the Commission to administer the Lifeline program without reliance on the Universal Service Administrative Company’s systems. The exemption in this paragraph (a)(4) will not apply to any part of a state’s administration of the Lifeline program that relies on the Universal Service Administrative Company’s systems.


(b) Prohibition of commissions for enrollment representatives. An eligible telecommunications carrier shall not offer or provide to enrollment representatives or their direct supervisors any commission compensation that is based on the number of consumers who apply for or are enrolled in the Lifeline program with that eligible telecommunications carrier.


[84 FR 71328, Dec. 27, 2019]


§ 54.407 Reimbursement for offering Lifeline.

(a) Universal Service support for providing Lifeline shall be provided directly to an eligible telecommunications carrier based on the number of actual qualifying low-income customers listed in the National Lifeline Accountability Database that the eligible telecommunications carrier serves directly as of the first of the month. Eligible telecommunications carriers operating in a state that has provided the Commission with an approved valid certification pursuant to § 54.404(a) must comply with that state administrator’s process for determining the number of subscribers to be claimed for each month, and in those states Universal Service support for providing Lifeline shall be provided directly to the eligible telecommunications carrier based on that number of actual qualifying low-income customers, according to the state administrator or other state agency’s process.


(b) For each qualifying low-income consumer receiving Lifeline service, the reimbursement amount shall equal the federal support amount, including the support amounts described in § 54.403(a) and (c). The eligible telecommunications carrier’s universal service support reimbursement shall not exceed the carrier’s rate for that offering, or similar offerings, subscribed to by consumers who do not qualify for Lifeline.


(c) An eligible telecommunications carrier offering a Lifeline service that does not require the eligible telecommunications carrier to assess and collect a monthly fee from its subscribers:


(1) Shall not receive universal service support for a subscriber to such Lifeline service until the subscriber activates the service by whatever means specified by the carrier, such as completing an outbound call; and


(2) After service activation, an eligible telecommunications carrier shall only continue to receive universal service support reimbursement for such Lifeline service provided to subscribers who have used the service within the last 30 days, or who have cured their non-usage as provided for in § 54.405(e)(3). Any of these activities, if undertaken by the subscriber, will establish “usage” of the Lifeline service:


(i) Completion of an outbound call or usage of data;


(ii) Purchase of minutes or data from the eligible telecommunications carrier to add to the subscriber’s service plan;


(iii) Answering an incoming call from a party other than the eligible telecommunications carrier or the eligible telecommunications carrier’s agent or representative;


(iv) Responding to direct contact from the eligible communications carrier and confirming that he or she wants to continue receiving Lifeline service; or


(v) Sending a text message.


(d) In order to receive universal service support reimbursement, an officer of each eligible telecommunications carrier must certify, as part of each request for reimbursement, that:


(1) The eligible telecommunications carrier is in compliance with all of the rules in this subpart; and


(2) The eligible telecommunications carrier has obtained valid certification and recertification forms to the extent required under this subpart for each of the subscribers for whom it is seeking reimbursement.


(e) In order to receive universal service support reimbursement, an eligible telecommunications carrier must keep accurate records of the revenues it forgoes in providing Lifeline services. Such records shall be kept in the form directed by the Administrator and provided to the Administrator at intervals as directed by the Administrator or as provided in this subpart.


[77 FR 12970, Mar. 2, 2012, as amended at 77 FR 38534, June 28, 2012; 80 FR 35577, June 22, 2015; 80 FR 40935, July 14, 2015; 81 FR 33091, May 24, 2016; 84 FR 71328, Dec. 27, 2019]


§ 54.408 Minimum service standards.

(a) As used in this subpart, with the following exception of paragraph (a)(2) of this section, a minimum service standard is:


(1) The level of service which an eligible telecommunications carrier must provide to an end user in order to receive the Lifeline support amount.