April 1 USF Form Released: MPLS, Conferencing Among the Changes

On February 25, the FCC released the 2009 Form 499-A and instructions. All telecommunications carriers are required to report their 2008 revenues on this form to calculate universal service and other regulatory fund contribution obligations. As usual, the instructions contain a number of changes in the treatment of revenues for USF purposes, which are highlighted in a Public Notice issued by the Wireline Competition Bureau. (These changes, however are of dubious legality because they are not adopted by the FCC under notice and comment rulemaking). Most notable are the following:

  • The instructions now explicitly instruct telecommunications carriers to report revenues from MPLS-based services as telecommunications services (i.e., subject to USF). The Bureau asserts that MPLS is merely an updated technique” and a substitute for ATM transmission.
  • The instructions add conference service providers (CSPs) to the list of entities that must file. The Bureau initially referred to conferencing services as telecommunications services,” but quickly revised its notice to state that conferencing is merely telecommunications.”

Telecommunications carriers must file their 499-A by April 1, 2009. April 1 also is the last day for carriers to revise their 2008 499-A (reporting 2007 revenues).