FCC Seeks Comment on Two USF Appeals

Continuing its recent custom, the FCC quickly sought comment on two Universal Service Appeals. The issues involved in these appeals include classification of information services, classification of reseller revenues and identification of subscriber line charge (SLC) revenues. Carriers offering similar services take note.

Telepacific Appeal and Request for Stay. In this appeal, Telepacific seeks reversal of USAC’s classification of an integrated T-1 service as telecommunications. Telepacific contends that its service is an information service based on the FCC’s 2005 Wireline Broadband Internet Access Order. Telepacific also seeks a stay of the instruction that it refile a Form 499-A consistent with USAC’s decision. Comments are due January 29; replies February 3.

USF filers should note that this appeal did not result from a USAC audit. Instead, Telepacific attempted to revise its 499-A form, and USAC raised questions about the revision. Ultimately, USAC disagreed with the classification reflected in the revision and rejected the filing. In my view, USAC’s rejection is procedurally improper. All Form 499-As are certified by an officer of the company under penalty of perjury. USAC should be obligated to accept and process a revision properly certified by an officer.

Grande Communications. In this appeal, Grande challenges three conclusions made in an audit of its 2004, 2005 and 2006 revenues. First, Grande challenges USAC presumption that Grande assessed an interstate Subscriber Line Charge (SLC). Second, Grande challenges USAC’s classification of a wireline broadband Internet access service as telecommunications for a portion of the audit period. Finally, Grande challenges USAC’s reclassification of Grande reseller revenues, including at least one instance where USAC is seeking to collect USF from Grande and Grande’s reseller customer simultaneously.

Comments on the Grande appeal are due February 18. Replies are due March 5.

Full Disclosure: Kelley Drye represents Grande in its appeal.