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Christian Watson
Christian Watson

When China Rules The World: The End Of The West...

The US should not make the same mistake twice. It should support other claimants that may want to pursue legal action against China (Vietnam is currently considering this course of action). Then, when the tribunal rules once more against China, the US should lead the charge to enforce the ruling.

When China Rules the World: The End of the West...


26. The Commission also seeks comment on the impact of challenges to the Broadband Data Collection map. The Broadband DATA Act requires the Commission to accept challenges to both the Fabric and the availability maps, and those challenges will occur regularly to help improve all subsequent versions of the Fabric and the map. Given the importance of challenges to the accuracy of the Fabric and the map, and the continuous opportunity for challenges, when for the purposes of the Enhanced A-CAM should the Commission establish the post-Fabric locations? Should the Commission allow for a period of challenges to the fixed deployment reflected in the maps before relying upon them to award funding? Challenges to fixed broadband must be resolved within the timeframe established by the Commission when establishing the rules for the Broadband Data Collection. Can the Commission establish a different deadline for resolution of challenges associated with Enhanced A-CAM locations? If so, how long should challengers and providers have to resolve challenges before the Commission award funding? The Commission seeks comment on these questions and any other aspect of how it should comply with the requirements of the Broadband DATA Act in this program.

61. Third, the Commission seeks comment on a proposal to more closely link support reductions with failing to certify locations in order to minimize confusion and improve carrier accountability. The Commission's rules establish deadlines for carriers to file reports and certifications, as well as a schedule for reducing support if the deadlines are missed. Currently, support reductions do not occur until January of the following year, well after the carrier may have come into compliance. The Commission proposes to more closely align any support reduction with the failure to comply with the reporting deadline by reducing support in the month immediately following the date of the missed deadline. The Commission believes this change will eliminate confusion that has occurred when support decreases unexpectedly months after a deadline is missed (and well after a carrier may have come into compliance) and facilitate carrier accountability. Since support reductions are based on the number of days late and payments usually occur mid-month, there may be situations where a filing is not received in time for USAC to calculate the requisite support reduction for the next month's payment. In those instances, the Commission proposes that USAC implement the support reduction in the following month as needed. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal. Alternatively, should the Commission continue to defer support reductions until January 1 of the following year? What is the best process to reduce support to ensure carriers comply with the reporting and certification deadlines and avoid confusion?

73. Since the rate floor has been eliminated, there is no longer the same justification for carving out voice rates so they cover the year the report is filed rather than the prior year. Because all other reporting in the FCC Form 481 coves the prior calendar year, including compliance with the broadband rates, it creates confusion to treat voice rates differently. Recipients, not infrequently, have expressed confusion as to what year's rate benchmarks they are certifying compliance with when completing the FCC Form 481. To address this confusion and aid in program administration, the Commission proposes to modify the voice and broadband rate certification rules to make explicit that recipients are certifying to compliance with pricing benchmarks in the prior year. In other words, when certifying the FCC Form 481 by July 1, 2022, recipients will be certifying compliance with voice and broadband benchmarks for 2021. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal, and it also proposes to modify the rules to reflect that the Public Notice announcing the benchmarks is issued by the Bureau and the Office of Economics and Analytics.

75. The Commission's rules set forth an explicit support reduction mechanism when recipients fail to certify on time. However, the Commission's rules do not allow a recipient that certified locations by the deadline to later certify additional locations that were deployed to during that reporting year. Since the Commission's rules require recipients to certify all locations deployed to in the prior year by the deadline, currently recipients must seek a waiver showing good cause to certify additional locations after the deadline.

80. The Commission proposes to amend its rules to provide a simpler process for rate-of-return carriers seeking to merge, consolidate, or acquire one or more rate-of-return study areas to calculate the new entity's Access Recovery Charge; CAF ICC (Connect America Fund Intercarrier Compensation) support; and reciprocal compensation and switched access rate caps. The Commission anticipates that adopting such revisions to its rules would reduce the burden on carriers that currently have to seek waivers of the existing rules whenever they seek to merge, consolidate or acquire one or more rate-of-return study areas. Such rule revisions would also reduce the burden on the Commission of acting on these waiver requests and facilitate the Commission's goal of encouraging carriers to become more efficient and to increase productivity. The Commission seeks comment on these proposals and on the costs and benefits of adopting these proposals.

85. The waiver process has imposed additional costs on these carriers and, in some instances, delayed mergers or acquisitions. The Commission's experience in reviewing these waiver requests has shown that certain patterns recur with predictable outcomes that can be addressed through rule revisions rather than by requiring individual waiver requests in the future. Adopting such revisions to the Commission's rules would reduce the burden on carriers and on the Commission. The Commission, therefore, proposes to revise its rules to eliminate the need for a rate-of-return LEC that is involved in a merger, consolidation, or acquisition with another rate-of-return carrier to obtain a waiver of these intercarrier compensation rules when certain conditions apply.

106. Section 54.205 of the Commission's rules requires an ETC seeking to relinquish its ETC designation granted by a state commission to give advance notice to the state commission. The Commission proposes to extend that obligation to also require advance notice to them. In addition, after the state commission grants its request to relinquish its designation, the Commission proposes to require the ETC to notify them within 10 days. The Commission believes the proposed notification requirements would help deter waste, fraud, and abuse in the management of the USF. In that regard, the Commission notes that, while states are largely responsible for granting ETC status, ETCs receive universal service support from them on the basis of this designation. Moreover, such notification would enable the Commission to end support payments in a timely fashion and, where applicable, take action where a carrier fails to meet its deployment, performance, or other obligations. Conversely, when an ETC does not receive any federal USF support, the Commission believes such notification is appropriate as it would allow to us confirm that in fact, there are not federal USF issues as stake. Given the impact of relinquishments on federal USF support, the Commission believes it has ample legal authority to adopt the foregoing notice requirements, under Section 254 and as reasonably ancillary thereto. The Commission also proposes to find that the benefits of providing an additional safeguard to protect the integrity of the Fund outweighs any modest burden resulting from the proposed notification obligation. The Commission seeks comment on these proposals and assessments of legal authority and costs and benefits. 041b061a72


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