Nevada Telecommunications Association Monthly Newsletter
March 2017, Volume 173 Serving the Industry for over 59 Years Editor: Mike Eifert
This month's NTA Associate of the Month is Innovative Systems!
Learn more about Innnovative Systems and what they do by clicking the NTA Associate of the Month photo, top right of any NTA website page.
USAC Files Federal USF Support Mechanism Fund Size Projection for 2Q 2017
USAC filed Federal Universal Service Support Mechanisms Fund Size Projections for the Second Quarter 2017 on February 1, 2017. The high-cost support mechanism funding requirements are projected as follows: $155.34 million for HCL support; $233.97 million for CAF BLS; $36.75 million for frozen price cap carrier support; $402.14 for CAF Phase II; $0.83 for Rural Broadband Experiments; $124.59 million for frozen CETC support; $107.96 million for CAF ICC support; $32.08 for Alaska Plan support; and $31.34 million for the high-cost account, resulting in total high-cost support mechanism projected demand of $1,125.00 million. (Appendices available on USAC's website). [Source: Washington Watch, 02/03/2017]
Groups Suggest Designation of Senior White House Member to Focus on Rural Issues
Organizations representing rural America sent a letter to President Trump on February 8, 2017, suggesting the designation of a senior member of the White House staff and/or an Office of Rural Policy within the Executive Office of the President to focus specifically on rural issues. They said multiple federal agencies have an impact on rural areas, and coordination among those agencies is essential to ensuring the resources of the federal government are efficiently and effectively used.[Source: Washington Watch, 02/10/2017]
AT&T flies first drones in network-support test
AT&T has taken another step toward introducing cell site drones known as "flying COWs" -- cellsites-on-wheels -- as a fail-safe mechanism to meet disaster-recovery needs or increased capacity for major events, the telecom said in displaying the video of the drones' inaugural flight. The drone-mounted radios and antennas can reach a height of 400 feet, the maximum allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration. Read More...[Source: USTelecom dailyLead, 02/20/2017]
FCC Announces 2017 Local Service Rate Floor, Reasonable Comparability Benchmarks for Fixed Voice and Broadband Services
The Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice on February 14, 2017, announcing the 2017 local voice service rate floor for incumbent ETCs is $22.49. All ILEC recipients of high-cost support must report in their annual Form 481 the number of residential service lines for which the sum of the local rate and state fees (as of June 1, 2017) is below $22.49 by July 1, 2017. The Bureau indicated that, as the full impact of the local rate floor was waived for a four-year period, to the extent an ILEC's local rates plus state regulated fees in 2017 are less than $20, that carrier's high-cost support will be reduced on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The Bureau also announced the reasonable comparability benchmark for voice services is $49.51, and the reasonable comparability benchmarks for broadband services range from $76.47 for 10/1 Mbps (100 GB usage allowance) through $90.76 for 25/5 Mbps (unlimited usage). The minimum monthly usage allowance for 2017 has been increased to 160 GBs for both price cap carriers receiving Phase II model-based support and rate-of-return carriers. The Bureau also announced the posting of the fixed voice and broadband services data collected in the most recent urban rate survey and the explanatory notes. [Source: Washington Watch, 02/14/2017]
FCC's O'Rielly touts USF
The federal government should abstain from funding more broadband infrastructure projects, Federal Communications Commission member Michael O'Rielly argued in a blog post, noting the country's relatively sparse population density and a 90% broadband penetration rate. O'Rielly said the Universal Service Fund was a more appropriate vehicle for expanding broadband access. Read more...[Source: USTelecom dailyLead, 02/03/2017]
FCC orders set path for increased broadband investment
This week, the Federal Communications Commission approved orders that would facilitate buildout of rural broadband, modernize broadband provider accounting rules, and temporarily waive enhanced transparency reporting requirements for small broadband providers with 250,000 or fewer subscribers. "Today's adoption of the auction order is an important step toward expanding broadband infrastructure in rural America and connecting more people to the internet. We look forward to working with the commission on remaining auction requirements to reach a speedy and successful result," said USTelecom President & CEO Jonathan Spalter. Learn more. [Source: USTelecom dailyLead, 02/24/2017]
Senators Urge Trump to Prioritize Broadband Deployment
Forty-eight senators sent a letter to President Trump on January 31, 2017, urging him to prioritize policies that will promote deployment of high-speed, reliable broadband for all Americans as part of any infrastructure initiative. They said for every $5 billion invested in broadband infrastructure, 250,000 jobs are created, and with every percentage point increase in new broadband distribution, employment expands by 300,000. [Source: Washington Watch, 02/03/2017]
Congress Introduces "New Deal Rural Broadband Act"
On February 1, Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jared Huffman (D-CA), and Rick Nolan(D-MN) introduced
the New Deal Rural Broadband Act of 2017, an "ambitious plan to connect every American home, business, and school to high-speed,
reliable broadband internet that is based on Roosevelt's New Deal rural electrification model," according to a press release. The New
Deal Rural Broadband Act would reportedly:
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