Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
In addition, one copy of each pleading must be sent to each of the following:
(1) Jay Schwarz, Industry Analysis and Technology Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, 445 12th Street, SW., 6-A134, Washington, DC 20554; email:
(2) Alexander Minard, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, 445 12th Street, SW., 5-A334, Washington, DC 20554; email:
This is a summary of the Public Notice, WC Docket No. 10-90; DA 12-1199, released on July 26, 2012. The full text of this document is available for public inspection during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Room CY-A257, 445 12th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20554. The document may also be purchased from the Commission's duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. 445 12th Street, SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, telephone number (800) 378-3160 or (202) 863-2898, or via the Internet at
1. In this public notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on a proposed survey of urban rates for fixed voice and fixed broadband residential services. The Bureau also seeks comment concerning how, using data from the urban rates survey, to determine the local voice rate floor and the reasonable comparability
3. The rate survey, conducted once each year, will be used to establish a rate floor that carriers receiving high-cost loop support (HCLS) or high-cost model support must meet in order to receive their full support amounts, beginning in 2014. In addition, the rate survey will be used to develop reasonable comparability benchmarks for voice and broadband rates that carriers will annually certify their rates do not exceed, with the first certification due July 1, 2013.
5. In the fixed voice section of the survey, the Bureau proposes that providers will separately report non-discounted rates and other charges (i.e. taxes, fees, etc.) for their unlimited or flat-rate local service, unlimited all-distance service, and measured or messaged local service. If the provider does not offer such service, it will indicate as such and not report data for that item. Providers will report rates for both public switched telephone network (PSTN) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service, to the extent each is offered. Various non-recurring charges will also be surveyed. We seek comment on the proposed data to be collected in the fixed voice section of the survey.
6. In the fixed broadband section of the survey, the Bureau proposes that providers will separately report non-discounted rates and other charges for four specific advertised speed tiers of broadband service. Are the four proposed speed tiers a reasonable set on which to collect rates? For each offering, the provider will also report on any capacity limits and what action is taken if the capacity limit is reached. Such actions may include overage charges, blocking traffic, and rate limiting. Are there any other service provider practices regarding capacity limits that should be included? Do the survey's questions about capacity limits adequately capture market offerings given the current market for residential, fixed broadband? Is the proposed format appropriate for collecting information on usage-based broadband pricing for fixed services, and, if not, how should the format be modified?
7. The Bureau intends to implement this survey through an online reporting form accessible to those urban providers of fixed voice and broadband services who are selected to participate. Urban providers will be chosen to create a statistically valid sample for the purpose of setting a reasonable comparability benchmark for fixed voice and fixed broadband services and a rate floor for fixed voice service. Independent samples will be chosen for the fixed voice and fixed broadband sections of the survey. The proposed survey will use as a population from which to sample all terrestrial providers of residential voice or broadband services in urban areas. The Bureau proposes defining “urban” for the purposes of this survey as all 2010 Census urban areas and urban clusters that sit within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). We seek comment on this approach.
8. For each section (fixed voice
9. In the interest of simplicity, the proposed survey will not collect rates for bundles of applications (i.e., voice and broadband bundle; voice, broadband, and TV bundle, etc.). The survey will also only collect non-discounted rates that are available to potential customers rather than actual rates paid by existing customers. For the survey's intended purposes, obtaining information about bundles, discounts and promotional pricing of limited duration would unnecessarily increase the complexity and burden of the data collection on service providers that are selected to respond to the survey. We seek comment on this approach.
10. To the extent commenters contend that we should modify the content of the proposed survey, they should specify with particularity how the proposed survey should be altered and explain why their preferred approach better serves to accomplish the Commission's objectives. Should any of the survey's questions or terminology be altered for clarity or accuracy? Should we modify proposed sampling and collection process in any way? Are there any other changes that should be made?
13. For fixed voice service, the Bureau seeks comment on deriving the national average for rate comparability purposes solely from data collected regarding local, flat rate voice service in urban areas. Alternatively, should we instead develop the national average based solely on urban data for unlimited, all-Distance service, as determined from the survey? A reason to adopt a national average based on the urban unlimited, all-distance rates rather than the local, flat rate is that the unlimited, all-distance service best reflects the varied ways—in terms of call frequency, duration, and distance—that households typically communicate using voice services. We seek comment on these two alternatives and the implications of each in terms of the ability of carriers to meet the certification requirement. Under
14. The Bureau proposes to establish a single benchmark for fixed voice service by which supported carriers would certify their rates, for purposes of reasonable comparability, regardless of the voice service offered (i.e. flat, local; unlimited, all-distance; measured local). One reason for doing so is that the urban availability of some services may diminish over time and reduce the available sample population for a given service. This in turn could increase the year-to-year variability in the benchmarks, while also creating, as a statistical artifact, wide deviations in the benchmarks for different types of voice services.
15. Another alternative would be to develop a separate national average for each voice service surveyed (i.e. flat, local; unlimited, all distance; measured, local). To the extent commenters believe the Bureau should establish multiple, service-specific reasonable comparability benchmarks for voice rather than simply developing a single average for urban voice service, they should explain why such an approach is preferable and consistent with the framework established by the Commission in the
19. Alternatively, should the several speed tiers be combined to form a single benchmark? How, if at all, should we take into account non-recurring charges when computing the fixed broadband benchmark? How, if at all, should the capacity limit data be used for determining reasonable comparability? Given the emergence of usage-based broadband pricing, how should such rates be incorporated into the benchmark? Should the Bureau collect usage data on such plans so a “blended” rate can be calculated? How might a supported broadband provider with a usage-based service certify its rates?
21. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of
Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.
22. The proceeding this Notice initiates shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission's
25. The Public Notice seeks comment on a proposed survey of urban rates for fixed voice and fixed broadband residential services. The Bureau also seeks comment concerning how, using data from the urban rates survey, to determine the local voice rate floor and the reasonable comparability benchmarks for fixed voice and fixed broadband services. The rate survey, and benchmarks and rate floors based on the survey, is part of implementing the
26. The legal basis for any action that may be taken pursuant to the Notice is contained in sections 1, 2, 4(i), 214, 254, 303(r), 403, and 706 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 214, 254, 303(r), 403, and 706, and §§ 1.1 and 1.1421 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.1, 1.421.
27. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small-business concern” under the Small Business Act. A small-business concern” is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA.
32. We have included small incumbent LECs in this present RFA analysis. As noted above, a “small business” under the RFA is one that,
41. In this Public Notice, the Commission seeks public comment on a proposed survey of urban rates for fixed voice and fixed broadband residential services. The Bureau also seeks comment concerning how, using data from the urban rates survey, to determine the local voice rate floor and the reasonable comparability benchmarks for fixed voice and fixed broadband services. The Public Notice seeks comment on data requirements that would require reporting by small entities. Specifically, the Public Notice seeks comment on the collection of advertised rates and product offerings from small entities in urban areas that are included in the sample.
42. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, specifically small business, alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): “(1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements under the rules for such small entities; (3) the use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for such small entities.”
43. The Public Notice seeks comment on issues related to the rates survey and how the benchmarks and rate floors should be determined. The rate survey issues are not anticipated to have a significant economic impact on small entities because the survey will only sample a small number of providers. Furthermore, since the statistical sampling methodology will result in larger entities being more likely to be surveyed, we anticipate small entities will only compose a minor portion of the overall sample. Moreover, the survey only asks about advertised rates and product offerings which should be readily available to entities of any size. Furthermore, any significant economic impact cannot necessarily be minimized through alternatives since the survey sample will already be restricted to a small set of the total population of carriers necessary for generating a statistically valid sample, and the survey will only ask for readily available advertised rates and will be implemented in an easily accessible online format.
The below survey instrument is intended to be implemented via an online interface accessible to survey participants. The particular format used in this appendix is for explanatory purposes only.
This survey asks questions about PROVIDER NAME's (FIXED VOICE, FIXED BROADBAND, MOBILE) services and rates. Please answer all questions as they pertain to the specific geographic location indicated below on MONTH DAY, YEAR.
Enter identifying information below as it pertain to the location identified in the bottom line of Section I.
Report rates on
Report rates on