FCC Seeks Comments on Changes to FCC Form 499 Including Important Updates for International Carriers

In DA 18-1298, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on changes to Forms 499-A and 499-Q to “ensure ‘sound and efficient administration of the universal service programs.'” Some of these changes affect how service providers should report revenue.

On Form 499-A, the FCC proposes the following substantive changes:

  • Line 410: In addition to reporting revenues from roaming services provided to end users, providers should now report “[r]evenues received from a foreign carrier for roaming services provided in the U.S. to customers of that carrier”
  • Line 412: Providers should report “‘traditional transiting traffic” revenues in Line 412 (excluded from the USF contribution base) (The new term “traditional transiting traffic” is not defined, but Appendix C defines Traditional Transiting International Calling Service (ICS) as “ICS from a foreign point that (a) transits the United States prior to completion at a foreign point and (b) is settled at a rate agreed upon by the Foreign Service Provider in the origination foreign point and the Foreign Service Provider in the destination foreign point. The U.S. International Service Provider that provides the transiting service is reimbursed for its handling and transmission of the traffic by the Foreign Service Provider in the origination foreign point. (“Foreign Service Provider” is defined as “a Foreign Carrier; or any person or entity in a foreign point that provides VoIP service connected to the PSTN in a foreign point or between a foreign point and the United States; or any person or entity in a foreign point that provides International Call Completion Service to a U.S. International Service Provider or obtains International Call Completion Service from a U.S. International Service Provider; See also Appendix C for the definition of “Foreign Carrier.”).
  • Line 418:  Adds revenues from the provision of broadband transmission service offered on a common-carrier basis by rate-of-return carriers that are exempt from contribution obligations on those services pursuant to Commission order; clarifies that Line 418 should include non-telecommunications revenues from contributing resellers (as well as end users)
  • Line 421: No longer specifies that uncollectibles be reported consistent with GAAP

The new Form also clarifies that a new filer that already started providing telecommunications services prior to its registration with the FCC and obtaining a 499 Filer ID from USAC must file FCC Forms 499-A for all prior applicable years in which it provided telecommunications services and/or VoIP (already a requirement in place which now appears “officially” in the instructions). 

Also for Form 499-A, the FCC also proposed definitions for the following terms regarding International Reporting, as detailed in Appendix C (pp. 54-55). 

  • Country-Beyond Service
  • Country-Direct Service
  • Foreign-Billed (ICS)
  • Foreign Carrier
  • Foreign Service Provider
  • International Calling Service (ICS)
  • International VoIP Service Connected to the PSTN
  • Re-originated Foreign ICS
  • Settlement Payout
  • Settlement Receipt
  • Traditional Transiting ICS
  • U.S.-Billed Facilities ICS
  • U.S.-Billed ICS

On Form 499-Q, the FCC proposes changes that largely mimic the proposed changes on the Form 499-A.

For more information regarding how the FCC’s proposed changes might affect your company, please contact Jackie Neff at jrn@commlawgroup.com or at 703-714-1314.

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