[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 89 (Tuesday, May 8, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 26987-26989]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-10631]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 51 and 54

[WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 07-135, 05-337, 03-109; GN Docket No. 09-51; CC 
Docket Nos. 01-92, 96-45; WT Docket No. 10-208; FCC 11-161]


Connect America Fund; A National Broadband Plan for Our Future; 
Establishing Just and Reasonable Rates for Local Exchange Carriers; 
High-Cost Universal Service Support

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule; announcement of effective date.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission 
(Commission) announces that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
has approved, for a period of three years, the information collection 
associated with the Commission's Connect America Fund; A National 
Broadband Plan for Our Future; Establishing Just and Reasonable Rates 
for Local Exchange Carriers; High-Cost Universal Service Support, 
Report and Order, (Order), released on November 18, 2011. The 
Commission submitted revisions to information collections under control 
number 3060-0986 to the OMB for review and approval, as required by the 
Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), 77 FR 
13320, March 6, 2012, which were approved by the OMB on April 16, 2012. 
This notice is consistent with the Order, which stated that the 
Commission would publish a document in the Federal Register announcing 
the effective date of those rules once it receives OMB approval. This 
document also notifies Eligible Telecommunications Carriers and other 
stakeholders that information filed pursuant to Sec.  54.313(a)(2) 
through (a)(6) and (h) of the Commission's rules must be filed by July 
2, 2012.

DATES: Effective date: Sections 54.312(b)(3), 54.313(b), 54.313(h), 
54.314 and 54.320(b), published at 76 FR 73830, November 29, 2011, are 
effective May 8, 2012.
    Applicability date: Sections 54.305(f), 54.307(b) and (c), and 
54.313 (a)(1) through (a)(6) are applicable May 8, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alex Minard, Wireline Competition 
Bureau, (202) 418-7400.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This document announces that, on April 13, 
2012, OMB approved, for a period of six months, the information 
collection requirements contained in the Commission's Order, FCC 12-11, 
published at 77 FR 12952, March 2, 2012. The OMB Control Number is 
3060-0986. The Commission publishes this document as an announcement of 
the effective date of the revision to Sec. Sec.  54.312(b)(3), 
54.313(b), 54.313(h), 54.314 and 54.320(b), and an announcement of the 
applicability dates of Sec. Sec.  54.305(f), 54.307(b) and (c), and 
54.313 (a)(1) through (a)(6) . If you have any comments on the burden 
estimates listed below, or how the Commission can improve the 
collections and reduce any burdens caused thereby, please contact 
Judith Boley-Herman, Federal Communications Commission, Room 1-B441, 
445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. Please include the OMB 
Control Number, 3060-0986, in your correspondence. The Commission also 
will accept comments via email. Please send them to PRA@fcc.gov.
    The Wireline Competition Bureau also recently released a Public 
Notice in WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 07-135, 05-337, 03-109; GN Docket No. 
09-51; CC Docket Nos. 01-92, 96-45; WT Docket No. 10-208 that notifies 
Eligible Telecommunications Carriers and other stakeholders that 
information filed pursuant to Sec. Sec.  54.313(a)(2) through (a)(6) 
and (h) of the Commission's rules must be filed by July 2, 2012.
    To request materials in accessible formats for people with 
disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), 
send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental 
Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

Synopsis

    As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3507), the FCC is notifying the public that it received OMB approval on 
April 16, 2012, for the information collection requirements contained 
in the Commission's rules at 47 CFR 54.312(b)(3), 54.313(b), 54.313(h), 
54.314 and 54.320(b), and an announcement of the applicability dates of 
Sec. Sec.  54.305(f), 54.307(b) and (c), and 54.313 (a)(1) through 
(a)(6).
    Under 5 CFR part 1320, an agency may not conduct or sponsor a 
collection

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of information unless it displays a current, valid OMB Control Number.
    No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply 
with a collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act 
that does not display a current, valid OMB Control Number. The OMB 
Control Number is 3060-0986.
    The foregoing notice is required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995, Public Law 104-13, October 1, 1995, and 44 U.S.C. 3507.
    The total annual reporting burdens and costs for the respondents 
are as follows:
    OMB Control Number: 3060-0986.
    OMB Approval Date: April 16, 2012.
    OMB Expiration Date: April 30, 2015.
    Title: Competitive Carrier Line Count Report and Self-Certification 
as a Rural Carrier.
    Form Number: Form 525.
    Respondents: Business or other for-profit, not-for-profit 
institutions, and state, local or Tribal Government.
    Number of Respondents and Responses: 4,934 respondents; 5,048 
responses.
    Estimated Time per Response: .50 hours to 80 hours.
    Frequency of Response: On occasion, Quarterly, Annually, Third 
Party Disclosure requirements.
    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. 
Statutory authority for this information collection is contained in 47 
U.S.C. 151-154, 201-206, 214, 218-220, 251, 252, 254, 256, 303(r), 332, 
403, 405, and 410.
    Total Annual Burden: 163,435 hours.
    Total Annual Cost: N/A.
    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: The Commission is not 
requesting that respondents submit confidential information to the 
Commission. We note that the Universal Service Administrative Company 
(USAC), who administers the universal service program, must preserve 
the confidentiality of all data obtained from respondents and 
contributors to the universal service support program mechanisms; must 
not use the data except for purposes of administering the universal 
service support program; and must not disclose data in company-specific 
form unless directed to do so by the Commission. Also, respondents may 
request materials or information submitted to the Commission be 
withheld from public inspection under 47 CFR 0.459 of the Commission's 
rules.
    Needs and Uses: In November 2011, the Commission adopted a Report 
and Order, FCC 11-161, 76 FR 73830, November 29, 2011, Connect America 
Fund; A National Broadband Plan for Our Future; Establish Just and 
Reasonable Rates for Local Exchange Carriers; High-Cost Universal 
Service Support; Developing a Unified Intercarrier Compensation Regime; 
Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service; Life-line and Link-Up; 
and Universal Service Reform--Mobility Fund.
    The order provides that existing high-cost support for price cap 
incumbent local exchange carriers will be frozen at 2011 levels. In 
addition, the order provides for up to $300 million annually in 
incremental support to those carriers, to be allocated by the use of a 
cost equation. Carriers accepting such incremental funding will be 
required to meet defined broadband deployment obligations. Eligible 
carriers will be required to notify the Commission, the universal 
service fund Administrator, as well as relevant state and Tribal 
authorities of the amount, if any, of funds they accept. Carriers 
accepting funding must certify that (a) the locations that will be 
served in satisfaction of the deployment requirement associated with 
its identified funds are shown as unserved by fixed terrestrial 
broadband on the then-current version of the National Broadband Map; 
(b) to the best of the carrier's knowledge, its identified locations 
are, in fact, unserved by fixed terrestrial broadband; (c) the 
carrier's current capital improvement plan did not already include 
plans to complete broadband deployment, without CAF Phase I incremental 
support, within the next three years to the locations to be counted to 
satisfy its deployment requirement; and (d) incremental support will 
not be used to satisfy any merger commitment or similar regulatory 
obligation. Carriers accepting funding will also be required to 
identify, for each location to be counted toward satisfaction of the 
carrier's deployment obligation, the following information: The 
location's census block information based on the Federal Information 
Processing Standard (FIPS) code, the carrier's NECA-assigned operating 
company code (OCN), the carrier's study area code (SAC), the wire 
center's eight-digit Common Language Location Identifier (CLLI) code, 
the latitude (to 6 decimal places), and the longitude (to 6 decimal 
places). Carriers accepting funding have the option of providing all of 
the required location-identifying information at the time they file 
their notice of acceptance of support, or, in the alternative, they may 
elect to only identify the census blocks and wire centers where they 
will deploy. Carriers electing this latter option must provide all 
required information for each location no later than one year after 
filing notices of acceptance for purposes of satisfying the carrier's 
deployment obligation. That is, carriers electing to initially provide 
only census block and wire center information must provide complete 
location information for all of their locations no later than one year 
after they file their notices of acceptance.
    The order also adopts a rule to reduce, dollar-for-dollar, a 
carrier's high-cost loop support (for rate-of-return carriers) or 
Connect America Fund Phase I frozen high-cost support (for price cap 
carriers) to the extent that the carrier's local end user rate plus 
state regulated fees do not meet a specified urban rate floor. 
Accordingly, carriers will be required to report, on an annual basis, 
the local end user rates that fall below the specified urban rate 
floor, and the number of lines associated with each rate so that the 
universal service fund Administrator can calculate reductions in 
support.
    The order also modifies Sec.  54.307 of the Commission's rules, 47 
CFR 54.307, (often called the ``identical support rule'') and related 
rules, which provide that competitive eligible telecommunications 
carriers receive the same per-line level of support as received by 
incumbent LECs serving the same areas. Competitive eligible 
telecommunications carriers, with limited exceptions, will not continue 
to receive support pursuant to the identical support rule and will have 
their support phased down over five years. (The limited exceptions 
relate to certain competitive eligible telecommunications carriers 
serving remote parts of Alaska and a single Tribally-owned competitive 
eligible telecommunications carrier. For these carriers, the phasedown 
is delayed by five years.) As a result, the Commission will be reducing 
the burdens associated with a number of collections in this control 
number, including line count filings for competitive ETCs and incumbent 
LECs serving competitive areas, disaggregation plans (which permit 
incumbent LECs to target support for the purpose of calculating per-
line support amounts), and certifications for carriers serving Tribal 
lands and Alaska native regions. In addition, the Commission eliminates 
the ``own costs'' exception to the interim cap for competitive ETCs. 
The interim cap limited the total annual amount of high-cost support 
competitive ETCs in any state could receive to the amount competitive 
ETCs in that state received in March 2008 on an annualized basis. The 
``own costs'' exception provided that competitive ETCs that showed that 
they met the support threshold in the

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same manner as the incumbent LEC would not be subject to the cap. 
Eliminating the ``own costs'' exception does not alter the content of 
this information collection; it does, however, address and satisfy the 
terms of clearance in the May 2009 Notice of Office of Management and 
Budget Notice of Approval.
    The order also revises the certifications that states (or ETCs that 
are not subject to state jurisdiction) are required to file annually 
with the Commission and the universal service fund Administrator to 
ensure that carriers use universal service support ``only for the 
provision, maintenance and upgrading of facilities and services for 
which the support is intended'' consistent with section 254(e) of the 
Act. Although the existing certifications are prospective only, the 
revised certification will ensure that carriers not only will use 
support in the next year for the intended purposes, but also have used 
support in the prior year for the intended purposes.
    The order also eliminates eligibility for Safety Net Additive 
support for costs incurred after 2009. Accordingly, this collection is 
being revised to eliminate the requirement that carriers notify the 
Commission and USAC that they qualify for Safety Net Additive Support.
    The order also eliminates the distinction between ``rural'' and 
``non-rural'' carriers. Therefore, this collection is being revised to 
eliminate the reporting requirements for self-certification as a rural 
carrier.
    The order also moves the recordkeeping requirement from 47 CFR 
54.202(e) to new 47 CFR 54.320. It also increases the required document 
retention period from five to ten years and makes clear that carriers 
are subject to random compliance audits and other investigations and 
must make all documents and records available to the Commission, any of 
its Bureaus or Offices, the USF Administrator, and their respective 
auditors.
    The order extends current federal annual reporting requirements to 
all ETCs, including those designated by states. Specifically, the order 
requires that all ETCs must include in their annual reports the 
information that is currently required by Sec.  54.209(a)(1) through 
(a)(6)--specifically, a progress report on their five-year build-out 
plans; data and explanatory text concerning outages; unfulfilled 
requests for service; complaints received; certification of compliance 
with applicable service quality and consumer protection standards; and 
certification of its ability to function in emergency situations. All 
ETCs that receive high-cost support will file this information with the 
Commission, USAC, and the relevant state commission, relevant authority 
in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal government, as appropriate.
    Finally, this submission eliminates the recordkeeping requirements 
from OMB Control Number 3060-0894. Upon OMB approval of this 
information collection revision, the Commission will voluntarily 
discontinue OMB Control Number 3060-0894.
    The Commission plans to submit additional revisions or new 
collections for OMB review and approval to address other reforms 
adopted in the Order at a later date.

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2012-10631 Filed 5-7-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P