Federal Communications Commission

Proposed Fourth Quarter 2016 Universal Service Contribution Factor is 17.4 Percent

In this Public Notice, the Office of Managing Director (OMD) announces that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter of 2016 will be 0.174 or 17.4 percent. Contributions to the federal universal service support mechanisms are determined using a quarterly contribution factor calculated by the Federal Communications Commission (Commission). The Commission calculates the quarterly contribution factor based on the ratio of total projected quarterly costs of the universal service support mechanisms to contributors’ total projected collected end-user interstate and international telecommunications revenues, net of projected contributions. USAC submitted projected collected end-user telecommunications revenues for October through December 2016 based on information contained in the Fourth Quarter 2016 Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (FCC Form 499-Q).

The amount is as follows: Total Projected Collected Interstate and International End-User Telecommunications Revenues for Fourth Quarter 2016: $14.215126 billion. To determine the quarterly contribution base, we decrease the fourth quarter 2016 estimate of projected collected interstate and international end-user telecommunications revenues by the projected revenue requirement to account for circularity, and decrease the result by one percent to account for uncollectible contributions. Accordingly, the quarterly contribution base for the fourth quarter of 2016 is as follows: Adjusted Quarterly Contribution Base for Universal Service Support Mechanism Fourth Quarter 2016 Revenues - Projected Revenue Requirement - 1% ($14.218126 billion – $2.083590 billion) * 0.99 $12.013191 billion.

Modernizing the E-rate Program for Schools and Libraries

In this Order, the Wireline Competition Bureau adopts the proposals we made in the ESL Public Notice and releases the eligible services list (ESL) for funding year 2017 for the schools and libraries universal service support program (more commonly referred to as the E-rate program). We also authorize the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to open the annual application filing window no earlier than 60 days after release of this Order.

FCC Seeks USAC Board Nominations

The Federal Communications Commission seeks nominations for board member positions on the Board of Directions of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) for a three-year term:

  • Representative for incumbent local exchange carriers (Bell Operating Companies), (position currently held by Joel Lubin, Consultant, AT&T);
  • Representative for libraries that are eligible to receive discounts pursuant to section 54.501 of the Commission’s rules (position currently held by Robert Bocher, Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction);
  • Representative for state consumer advocates (position currently held by Wayne Jortner);
  • Representative for commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers (position currently held by Matt Gerst, Director for Regulatory Affairs, CTIA – The Wireless Association);
  • Representative for cable operators (position currently held by Jose Jimenez, Executive Director, Cox Communications, Inc.); and
  • Representative for schools that are eligible to receive discounts pursuant to section 54.501 of the Commission’s rules (position currently held by Dr. Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators).

All nominations must be filed with the Office of the Secretary by October 21, 2016.

Fact Sheet: Chairman Wheeler's Proposal to Increase Consumer Choice & Innovation in the Video Marketplace

Ninety-nine percent of pay-TV subscribers currently rent set-top boxes because there aren’t meaningful alternatives.Congress recognized the importance of a competitive marketplace and directed the Commission to adopt rules that will ensure consumers will be able to use the device they prefer for accessing programming they’ve paid for. The new rules, if adopted, simplify the Commission’s original proposal to finally provide consumers with choice in how they access pay-TV service while satisfying Congress’ mandate.

Following constructive engagement from a wide range of stakeholders, the proposed final rules will allow consumers to access their pay-TV content via free apps on a variety of devices so they no longer have to pay monthly rental fees, enable integrated search, and protect content and privacy. The Commission will vote on these simplified consumer-first, app-driven rules at its next open meeting on September 29, 2016. If adopted, the largest pay-TV providers, who serve 95% of pay-TV subscribers, will have two years to comply with the rules.

Tentative Agenda for September 2016 Open Meeting of the FCC

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that the following items are tentatively on the agenda for the Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 29, 2016:

Improving Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). The Commission will consider a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would leverage advancements in technology to improve wireless emergency alert content, delivery and testing, while seeking comment on further measures to ensure effective alerts. (PS Docket No. 15-91)

Review of Foreign Ownership Policies. The Commission will consider a Report and Order that extends to broadcast licensees the same streamlined rules and procedures that common carrier wireless licensees use to seek approval for foreign ownership, with appropriate broadcast-specific modifications. The item also establishes a framework for a publicly traded common carrier or broadcast licensee or controlling U.S. parent to ascertain its foreign ownership levels. (GN Docket No. 15-236)

Independent Programming: The Commission will consider a NPRM that proposes steps the Commission can take to promote the distribution of independent and diverse programming to consumers. (MB Docket No. 16-41)

Expanding Consumer Choice: The Commission will consider a Report and Order that modernizes the Commission’s rules to allow consumers to use a device of their choosing to access multichannel video programming instead of leasing devices from their cable or satellite providers. (MB Docket No. 16-42)

FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel on SETDA Broadband Imperative and the Homework Gap

The Federal Communications Commission has taken action to address the Homework Gap, but we need to do more—and I believe that more takes place at the state and local level. We need to tap into the creative efforts to bridge the Homework Gap in communities across the country—and make sure that federal policy supports these efforts.

The State Education Technology Directors Association report calls attention to some of these local initiatives. As we wrestle with the new challenges of technology, access, and equity, local solutions deserve federal support. Cooperative policymaking between state and federal authorities is the way forward—just like it has always been the way to tackle our hardest and most intractable problems. By working together we can bridge the Homework Gap and close the cruelest part of the digital divide. And when we do we are going to be able to turn all of our students—all of our students—into not just digital consumers but digital creators. We are going to build a better education system, a stronger economy, and a brighter future.

FCC Commissioner O'Rielly Letter to Paul Wiedefeld, General Manager, WMATA

Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Michael O'Rielly sent Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority CEO Paul Wiedefeld a letter saying he’s baffled by the decision of the system to halt a pilot program for Wi-Fi service in train stations. Metro officials have said that an ongoing pilot program bringing Wi-Fi service to six downtown stations will stop after 45 days so they can examine the service. Commissioner O'Rielly wants to know why Metro couldn’t keep the service operational while it evaluated the success of the pilot. “Given the overall questionable state of communications capabilities within the entire system, it seems counterintuitive to cease operations of an additional mechanism that the public can use to reach emergency personnel when warranted."

FCC Commissioner Pai Letter to Chris Henderson, CEO of USAC

Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Ajit Pai sent a letter to Chris Henderson, CEO of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), requesting information on Lifeline subscribers on tribal lands, including: any maps of qualifying tribal lands USAC may use to verify eligibility for the enhanced subsidy; certifications from subscribers that they reside on tribal lands; wireless resellers; and inclusion of a subscriber's eligibility in the National Lifeline Accountability database. Commissioner Pai also asked for information on investigations, audits, or reviews that USAC has conducted from October 2014 to the present that examined whether a wireless carrier sought enhanced subsidies only for eligible subscribers living on tribal lands, specific information about USAC’s checks to detect fraud and information regarding subscribers and provision of Lifeline on Oklahoma tribal lands.

Enhancing Experimentation and Innovation for 5G and Beyond

The program experimental license offers a new paradigm for the Experimental Radio Service (ERS), one that significantly reduces the barriers to experimentation for qualified entities. Under a program experimental license, a licensee is able to post a notification that it is experimenting in a particular band to a web portal. Other parties, specifically entities that hold licenses in bands that the experiment may use or affect (in a controlled manner) then have to proactively object if they have concerns about the interference potential from the experiment. The concept here is simple: allow entities with radio frequency expertise, that are able to manage radio frequency devices in a controlled environment without affecting other users, experiment more freely. We have been working to stand up the IT system necessary to facilitate the program experimental license for several years, and we are near completion. Within a few weeks, we will release a Public Notice announcing that the program experimental license is open for business. This could have huge benefits in the development of new wireless technologies, including 5G. Under the ERS, all of the bands the Commission adopted and proposed in the Spectrum Frontiers R&O and FNPRM are open for experimentation now. Under the new program experimental license, qualifying entities will have even fewer administrative hurdles to jump through, easing the path toward experimentation, and ultimately, innovation.

Remarks of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, CTIA Super Mobility Show 2016, Las Vegas

“What do we need to do seize the 5G opportunity?” The answer, of course, starts with competition. With four nationwide carriers, the US wireless industry continues to invest in faster, better networks with $33 billion invested in 2015 and nearly $100 billion invested over the past 3 years. That’s over and above the investment of billions in spectrum acquisition. New services and applications are constantly being introduced and consumer demand seems insatiable. Wireless data use more than doubled from 2014 to 2015, and continued growth is projected for the foreseeable future.

There are three keys for what the Commission can do to help unlock the 5G opportunity: 1) ensuring ample availability of spectrum to a range of competitors; 2) taking all steps to foster competitive provision of infrastructure; and 3) removing unnecessary hurdles to siting. In all these areas, the Federal Communications Commission has activities underway. Yet, let’s be realistic, there is more to be done if 5G is to realize its promise.