Nevada Telecommunications Association Monthly Newsletter
May 2016, Volume 163 Serving the Industry for over 58 Years Editor: Mike Eifert
Please welcome Nor-Cal Battery, our newest Associate Member!
Nor-Cal Battery provides full sales and service of Battery and Rectifier solutions from cradle to grave. We offer full design engineering on products including but not limited to Enersys, NorthStar and GNB and now we offer GE (Lineage) DC power systems as our new partner. Nor-Cal can do full system integration with installation and removal and provide disposal certificate of old batteries. We are a full product and service company with Battery Preventative Maintenance and monitoring available, we also offer full load bank testing using the Alber BT2000 monitoring system. Nor-Cal Battery is your one stop supplier.
This month's NTA Associate of the Month is GENBAND!
Learn more about GENBAND and what they do by clicking the NTA Associate of the Month photo, top right of any NTA website page.
Broadband Economic Impact Report: Rural Broadband Supports 70K Jobs, $100B in E-Commerce
Investment in rural broadband boosts the economy - not just locally, but beyond - according to a new broadband economic impact report from The Hudson Institute sponsored by the Foundation for Rural Service. Rural broadband service providers contributed $24.2 billion to the economies of thestates in which they operate in 2015. Full Story [Source: Telecompetitor, 04/22/2016]
Making Progress on Copyright Enforcement
In comments submitted to the US Copyright Office, USTelecom underlined the importance of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) safe harbor provisions to internet service providers (ISP). The DMCA generally exempts ISPs from liability for the actions of subscribers that violate copyright law, stating that ISPs simply act as a conduit. "Safe harbor" provisions are crucial to ensuring the continuing growth of the internet economy, USTelecom said. Because material is not stored on ISP servers, any allegedly infringing material cannot be removed nor access to it disabled. A series of roundtables seeking further input will take place in New York and California this May. Learn more. [Source: USTelecom dailyLead, 04/06/2016]
USDA Plans to Award Almost $12 Million in Broadband Grants for Rural Communities
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on April 18, 2016, the USDA is soliciting applications for grants to establish broadband in unserved rural communities through its Community Connect program, and plans to award up to $11.7 million in grants. The minimum grant is $100,000 for FY 2016; the maximum award is $3 million. For more information on how to apply for grants, go to https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-04-18/pdf/2016-08931.pdf [Source: Washington Watch, 04/19/2016]
FCC Adopts Order to Further Reform Lifeline Program
The FCC issued a News Release on March 31, 2016, announcing it adopted an Order at its March 31, 2016 Open Meeting to modernize and reform the Lifeline program. The Order, among other things, refocuses Lifeline support on broadband, and will, for the first time, support stand-alone broadband service, as well as bundled voice and data packages. The Order also establishes an independent National Eligibility Verifier to confirm subscriber eligibility, and adopts a budget mechanism that will limit Lifeline's cost to ratepayers. The initial budget will be set at $2.25 billion and indexed to inflation. The Order is not yet released. Statements issued by: Chairman Wheeler | Commissioner Rosenworcel [Source: Washington Watch, 04/01/2016]
FCC Announces 2016 Local Service Rate Floor and Reasonable Comparability Benchmarks for Fixed Voice and Broadband Services
The Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice on April 5, 2016, announcing the 2016 local voice service rate floor for incumbent ETCs is $21.93. 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 2016 are less than $18, 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 $41.07 and the reasonable comparability benchmarks for broadband services range from $69.14 for 10/1 Mbps (100 GB usage allowance) through $89.24 for 25/5 Mbps (unlimited usage). 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 regarding the data, and announced the required minimum usage allowance for 2016 for ETCs subject to broadband public interest obligations. [Source: Washington Watch, 04/06/2016]
FCC Plans Largest Fine to Date for Lifeline Overbilling
On April 7, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau announced that it plans to fine Total Call Mobile $51,070,322
for apparently enrolling tens of thousands of duplicate and ineligible consumers into the Lifeline program. This is the largest fine
that the FCC has proposed against a Lifeline provider. Further, the FCC has indicated in its formal notice that it may initiate
proceedings to revoke Total Call's authorizations to operate as a Lifeline provider and a common carrier.
According to a press release, the FCC alleges that since 2014, Total Call has requested and received an estimated $9.7 million dollars
in improper payments from the Universal Service Fund for duplicate or ineligible consumers despite repeated and explicit warnings from
its own employees, in some cases compliance specialists, that company sales agents were engaged in widespread enrollment fraud.
The Enforcement Bureau's Universal Service Fund Strike Force conducted the investigation of the California-headquartered Total Call,
which provides Lifeline services in at least 19 states and territories. The Strike Force's investigation found that Total Call
apparently engaged in systematic and egregious misconduct, including the following alleged violations:
House Subcommittee to Consider Lifeline Bill
The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a legislative hearing on April 13, 2016, to examine several bills, including HR 4884, the CURB Lifeline Act, authored by Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), which seeks to reform the FCC's Lifeline subsidy program by capping the program at $1.5 billion. It also seeks to prohibit the use of the subsidy for devices and the phasing out of the subsidy for voice-only mobile service. [Source: Washington Watch, 04/06/2016]
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