New International Reporting Rules Remain Pending but FCC Solicits Participants to Test Online Filing System under Latest Draft of Filing Manual

The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) moved a step closer last Friday to making effective changes adopted in 2011 and 2013 establishing revised international traffic and revenue as well as circuit capacity reporting requirements. As we reported in previous posts and advisories, changes include new reporting obligations for interconnected voice over Internet protocol (“VoIP”) providers and for certain non-common carriers (e.g., non-common carrier satellite operators and submarine cable landing licensees), among other modifications. In addition, affected providers will be required to use new reporting forms and follow new procedures.

The FCC is inviting providers that will have to file international traffic and revenue reports or circuit capacity reports under the rule changes to volunteer for testing and to provide feedback on its test online filing system. Interested parties must notify the FCC by Friday, October 31 of a desire to participate in the online filing system trials. Testing will commence in November. The trials create an opportunity for filers to familiarize themselves with the new reporting requirements and help shape the filing system through feedback and comments.

Actions necessary before the new electronic report filing system and the revised rules take effect remain pending, but the FCC on October 24, 2014, released its latest draft of the Section 43.62 filing manual detailing the new filing requirements and procedures. The FCC announced simultaneously that it anticipates the new reporting rules and procedures will take effect, and the online filing system will be finalized, in time for the 2015 filings – annual circuit capacity reports for 2014 will be due no later March 31, 2015, and the annual traffic and revenue reports for 2014 will be due no later than July 31, 2015.

The new section 43.62 of the rules will consolidate the circuit status and international traffic and revenue reporting obligations currently found in sections 43.61 and 43.82, respectively, of the Commission’s rules, as modified by the 2011 and 2013 orders, and the filing manual expands and revises the details of the reports.

Among other changes, the filing manual requires submission of a registration form providing general contact information and data regarding the filer’s international section 214 service authorization, a services checklist identifying the services provided by the filer, and data schedules specific to the services provided. Moreover, interconnected VoIP providers and certain non-common carriers – including certain satellite operators and submarine cable landing licensees that heretofore have not been required to file reports – will also be subject to certain reporting requirements. Accordingly, entities providing international telecommunications or capacity – even those not previously subject to the 43.61 and 43.82 reporting requirements – should carefully review the section 43.62 rules and the draft filing manual to determine potential applicability of the reporting obligations.

We anticipate providing a more detailed advisory on the recently released Section 43.62 manual in the near future.