Nevada Telecommunications Association Monthly Newsletter

October 2017, Volume 180           Serving the Industry for over 59 Years           Editor: Mike Eifert

Association News

Industry News

FCC News

Federal Legislation


NTA 2018 Conference

     The Nevada Telecommunications Association will hold its 2018 conference at Harvey's Resort in South Lake Tahoe July 31st through August 1st. Look forward to seeing everyone then!

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State associations work to close the digital divide

     Last week, Vice President, Law & Policy Lynn Follansbee presented at the National Council of State Telecom Association Executives (NCSTAE) Annual Conference to offer USTelecom's perspective on top-of-mind issues for small broadband providers. She presented on the current smart policy work the association has accomplished, including the promotion of rural broadband deployment and infrastructure funding as well as USF funding and changes to the Lifeline program. USTelecom aims to find ways to build support and partner with state associations to help in the efforts of closing the digital divide. Read More. [Source: USTelecom dailyLead, 09/11/2017]

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Fourth Quarter 2017 Proposed USF Contribution Factor is 18.8 Percent

     The FCC Managing Director issued a Public Notice on September 12, 2017, announcing the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter of 2017 will be 18.8 percent, up from the current 17.1 percent. [Source: Washington Watch, 09/13/2017]

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FCC Announces Launch of Lifeline National Verifier

     The Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice on August 31, 2017, announcing that the Lifeline National Verifier will launch in six states -Colorado, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming - in December 2017. It said there will be a soft launch date of December 5, 2017, during which ETCs may begin using the National Verifier for eligibility determinations but may also continue to use existing eligibility determination processes. The hard launch date is March 13, 2018, when all eligibility determinations and re-certifications in these initial six states must be conducted by the National Verifier, pursuant to the Commission's rules. [Source: Washington Watch, 09/01/2017]

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O'Rielly Discusses RoR USF Reform at WTA Conference

     Commissioner O'Rielly spoke at the WTA's Fall Conference on September 19, 2017, discussing RoR USF reform. He discussed the "punch list" of technical items that still need to be addressed, and noted there is an item currently under consideration that would revise the ARC imputation rule. He also expected to address an item specifying in more detail which expenses are not recoverable through universal service or allowable in the rate base. He said he is generally favorable to adding some additional funding to the RoR portion of the high-cost budget, and noted the FCC anticipated in 2011 that it would undertake a review of the entire high-cost budget by the end of 2017. He suggested as part of this budget review, the Commission also should consider the state of the reserves and whether to continue the policy of reserving funding going forward. O'Rielly also said he could not entertain proposals to broaden the USF contribution base to include broadband users absent Congressional direction. [Source: Washington Watch, 09/20/2017]

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Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Lifeline

     The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing on September 6, 2017, entitled Addressing the Risk of Waste, Fraud and Abuse in the Federal Communications Commission's Lifeline Program. Seto Bagdoyan of the GAO discussed key findings of the recent GAO Lifeline report, and said while the FCC and USAC have implemented some controls to improve subscriber eligibility verification, weaknesses remain. Chris Nelson, Commissioner of the South Dakota PUC, said the states must remain involved in the ETC designation process and it should be a priority to make sure the federal Lifeline program can work synergistically with the 23 states that have state Lifeline programs. Other testimony was given by: Deborah Collier of Citizens Against Government Waste, Jeffrey Eisenach, Ph.D., and Jessica J. Gonzalez of Free Press. [Source: Washington Watch, 09/07/2017]

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Congress Passes SANDy Act

     On September 11, the Senate passed the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act - or "SANDy Act". The bill, which now only requires President Trump's signature to pass into law, amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to expand the categories of essential communications service providers that may access a disaster site to restore and repair essential services in an emergency or major disaster without being denied or impeded by a federal agency. Under the bill, services to be considered essential will now include wireline or mobile telephone service, Internet access service, radio or television broadcasting, cable service, or direct broadcast satellite service.

     The bill also requires the FCC to investigate and report on the public safety benefits, technical feasibility, and cost of providing the public with emergency access to 9-1-1 services, when mobile service is unavailable during certain presidentially declared emergencies or major disasters or during gubernatorially declared emergencies, through telecommunications service provider-owned WiFi access points and other communications technologies operating on unlicensed spectrum, without requiring any login credentials; non-telecommunications service provider-owned WiFi access points; and other alternative means. [Source: BloostonLaw Telecom Update, 09/13/2017]

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Democrats Unveil $40B Broadband Infrastructure Plan

     Senate and House Democrats announced their economic agenda entitled "A Better Deal: Universal High-Speed Internet" on September 28, 2017. They said the agenda proposes to bring high-speed, affordable internet to every American by investing $40 billion in federal dollars to build the kind of broadband infrastructure that will finally connect communities that have been left behind by the big ISPs. They claimed the plan would also upgrade the nation's critical safety infrastructure and create accurate maps of areas that lack adequate internet access to ensure rural Americans are not left out. [Source: Washington Watch, 09/29/2017]

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Up Coming Events

October 2 - 5 2017 - Arizona New Mexico Telecommunications Association (ANMTA) Fall Conference Wekopa Resort & Conference Center, Scottsdale - Fountain Hills, Arizona

October 5 - 6 2017 - Minnesota Telecom Alliance (MTA) Fall Conference Minneapolis Marriott Northwest, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

October 9 - 11 2017 - WSTA Wisconsin's Broadband Association Conference & Exhibits Glacier Canyon (Wilderness), Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

October 9 - 13 2017 - Telecommunications Association of the Southeast Annual Convention Marriott Grand Hotel, Point Clear, Alabama

October 11 - 13 2017 - Texas Statewide Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (TSTCI) Annual Membership Meeting Renaissance Austin Hotel, Austin, Texas

October 16 - 18 2017 - Telephone Association of New England (TANE) Annual Meeting and Convention Mountain View Grand Resort, Whitefield, New Hampshire

October 16 - 18 2017 - California Communications Association (CalCom) Annual Conference South Lake Tahoe, CA

October 17 - 19 2017 - Kentucky Telecom Association (KTA) and Tennessee Telecommunications Association (TTA) Joint Fall Conference & Supplier Showcase Holiday Inn University Plaza, Bowling Green, Kentucky

October 25 - 26 2017 - Alaska Telephone Association Tech Showcase Hilton Anchorage Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska

October 26 2017 - Nebraska Telecommunications Association (NTA) Broadband Today! Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, Lincoln, Nebraska

November 2 - 3 2017 - South Carolina Telecommunications and Broadband Association (SCTBA) Fall Conference & Showcase Doubletree Hotel, Columbia, South Carolina

November 5 - 8 2017 - NECA EXPO 2017 Grand Hyatt Riverwalk, San Antonio

November 8 - 9 2017 - Iowa Communications Alliance (ICA) Impact Conference West Des Moines Marriott, West Des Moines, Iowa

November 27 - 29 2017 - North Dakota Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives (NDATC) Annual Meeting Ramkota Hotel, Bismarck, North Dakota

November 29 - 30 2017 - Montana Telecommunications Association (MTA) 36th Annual Showcase Billings Hotel & Convention Center, Billings, Montana

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