Locus Addresses Private Carrier Revenue Exemption Issues with FCC Commissioners

Locus Telecommunications, LLC (“Locus” or “the Company”) recently filed two Ex Parte letters (see Letter 1 and Letter 2), recounting its meetings with Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) staff last week to discuss its pending  Request for Review and Petition for Declaratory Ruling seeking relief relative to the unlawful treatment of private carriage revenues, including both the narrower economic impact on Locus as well as the broader issues implicated by these pending filings.

As explained in Locus’s Request for Review, USAC has adopted a policy of sharing all Form 499-A revenue data with the other universal service program administrators for purposes of TRS, LNP and NANP fee billing, unless the carrier identifies “private service provider” as its primary (#1) service in Line 105 of the Form.   On its 2016 Form 499-A, Locus identified “private service provider” as its #2 service category (by revenue), and indicated its partial exemption from TRS, LNP and NANP fees in Line 603.  USAC ignored Locus’s Line 603 exemption, passed all revenue data on the Form on to the other fund administrators, who then over-billed Locus based upon that data.  Locus appealed first to the TRS and LNP fund administrators, who refused to act on those appeals.  Thereafter, in November 2016, Locus sought review of those decisions with the Commission and simultaneously filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling seeking to declare USAC’s policy unlawful.

Locus discussed these issues during its meetings with Commission staff and encouraged the Commission to take measures to promote de-regulation through clarification of existing law relative to the treatment of private carriage offerings.  In short, Locus asked that staff:

  1. Impress upon the Wireline Competition Bureau the ease of providing USAC with guidance to follow the rules and permit Locus (and other carriers) to use Line 603 to exclude private carriage revenue from TRS, NANP and LNP fees;
  2. Encourage the Commission to rule on the Request for Review; and
  3. Encourage the FCC to put Locus’s Petition for Declaratory Ruling out for public notice.

Locus also shared a White Paper which outlines the path for the FCC to follow in order to fully embrace the Commission’s de-regulatory agenda through clarification of the private carriage classification and a PowerPoint Presentation detailing the harms Locus (and similarly situated carriers) suffered as a result of USAC’s policy.

Contact Us to Determine if Your Company is Impacted by USAC’s Policy and/or the Broader Lack of Clarify Surrounding the Private Carrier Exemption from Title II Regulations and Fees

Clients are encouraged to evaluate whether they: (1) qualify (in whole or in part) as a private service provider and/or (2) are impacted by USAC’s “policy” with respect to listing revenue in Line 105 in accordance with total revenue relative to other activities.  Please contact Jonathan S. Marashlian at 703-714-1313 or by email, jsm@commlawgroup.com, for an evaluation of the opportunity, benefits and risks of private carriage classification under the current regulatory environment or future environment, should the FCC act favorably on pending requests.

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