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Advancing The Cause of Competition in the Telecommunications Industry
FCC VOTES TO EXPAND USF CONTRIBUTION BASE TO INCLUDE VoIP PROVIDERS;
INCREASES WIRELESS SAFE HARBOR
As expected, at yesterday's Open Meeting the Federal Communications
Commission ("Commission") adopted two modifications to its approach
for assessing contributions to the Universal Service Fund ("USF").
The following changes were announced via News Release:
First, the Commission raised the existing wireless "safe harbor"
percentage used to estimate interstate revenue from 28.5 percent to
37.1 percent of total end-user telecommunications revenue to better
reflect growing demand for wireless services. Wireless carriers
continue to retain the option to base contributions on their actual
revenues or on traffic studies that estimate their actual interstate
Second, the Commission expanded the base of USF contributions by
extending universal service contribution obligations to providers of
"interconnected voice over Internet Protocol," or VoIP, service. For
interconnected VoIP providers, the Commission establishes a safe
harbor percentage of interstate revenue at 64.9 percent of total VoIP
service revenue. Interconnected VoIP providers also may calculate
their interstate revenues based on their actual revenues or by using
The full text of the Commission's Report and Order is not currently
available. The increased wireless safe harbor and addition of VoIP to
the USF contribution base will become effective 30 days after
publication of the full text of the Report and Order in the Federal
The Commission also adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking
comment on interim contribution obligations imposed in its Order.
According to its News Release, the Commission's measured interim steps
will stabilize the contribution base for the Fund in the near-term and
minimize the impact of any changes on consumers, Fund contributors,
and Fund administration, while the Commission considers more
fundamental reform of the contribution methodology.
For more information on how the Commission's Order will affect your
business, please contact your regulatory counsel. If you do not have
counsel, please contact Jonathan S. Marashlian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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