[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 18 (Monday, January 28, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 5765-5767]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01597]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 54

[WC Docket Nos. 10-90 and 05-337; DA 12-1561, 12-1687, 12-2011, 12-
2029, 13-70]


Wireline Competition Bureau Releases Connect America Phase II 
Cost Model Virtual Workshop Discussion Topics

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Wireline Competition Bureau releases for 
discussion a number of virtual workshop topics related to the 
development and adoption of the forward-looking cost model for Connect 
America Phase II.

DATES: Comments are due on or before February 27, 2013 and reply 
comments are due on or before March 14, 2013. If you anticipate that 
you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within 
the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the 
contact listed below as soon as possible.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by WC Docket Nos. 10-90 
and 05-337, by any of the following methods:
    [ssquf] Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
    [ssquf] Federal Communications Commission's Web Site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting 
comments.
    [ssquf] Virtual Workshop: In addition to the usual methods for 
filing electronic comments, the Commission is allowing comments, reply 
comments, and ex parte comments in this proceeding to be filed by 
posting comments at http://www.fcc.gov/blog/wcb-cost-model-virtual-workshop-2012.
    [ssquf] People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language 
interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: (202) 418-
0530 or TTY: (202) 418-0432.
    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katie King, Wireline Competition 
Bureau at (202) 418-7491 or TTY (202) 418-0484.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a synopsis of the Commission's 
Public Notices in WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337; DA 12-1561, 12-1687, 
12-2011, 12-2029, 13-70 released October 9, 2012, October 19, 2012, 
December 11, 2012, December 17, 2012, and January 17, 2013 as well as 
information posted online in the Wireline Competition Bureau's Virtual 
Workshop. The complete text of the Public Notices is available for 
inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC 
Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-
A257, Washington, DC 20554. These documents may also be purchased from 
the Commission's duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. 
(BCPI), 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, 
telephone (800) 378-3160 or (202) 863-2893, facsimile (202) 863-2898, 
or via the Internet at http://www.bcpiweb.com. In addition, the Virtual 
Workshop may be accessed via the Internet at http://www.fcc.gov/blog/wcb-cost-model-virtual-workshop-2012.

I. Introduction

    1. On November 18, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission 
(Commission) released the USF/ICC Transformation Order, 76 FR 73829, 
November 29, 2011, adopting a framework for providing ongoing support 
to areas served by price cap

[[Page 5766]]

carriers, including areas where broadband service is not currently 
provided, known as Connect America Phase II. The Commission delegated 
authority to provide this ongoing support through a combination of a 
forward-looking cost model and competitive bidding to the Wireline 
Competition Bureau (Bureau).
    2. On December 15, 2011, the Bureau released the Request for Models 
PN, 76 FR 80941, December 27, 2011, inviting interested parties to 
submit proposed forward-looking cost models. In response, parties 
submitted two models into the record, and thereafter, on June 8, 2012, 
the Bureau released the Model Design PN, 77 FR 38804, June 29, 2012, 
seeking comment on certain model design and input issues. The Bureau 
also held an in-person workshop to discuss the two models on September 
13 and 14, 2012.
    3. To provide additional opportunities for all affected 
stakeholders and interested parties to provide input on additional 
model design and input issues, on September 12, 2012, the Bureau 
announced that it would encourage and facilitate public participation 
on the characteristics of a model that will best fulfill the objectives 
established by the Commission via an ongoing ``virtual workshop.''

II. Discussion

    4. The Bureau commenced the Connect America Cost Model Virtual 
Workshop on October 9, 2012, and has begun soliciting input on a number 
of topics that the Bureau will consider--in addition to the topics 
previously raised in the Model Design PN--in developing and adopting 
the forward-looking cost model for Connect America Phase II. The 
virtual workshop may be accessed via the Internet at http://www.fcc.gov/blog/wcb-cost-model-virtual-workshop-2012.
    5. On December 11, 2012, the Bureau announced the release of the 
first version of the Connect America Cost Model and solicited input in 
the virtual workshop as to whether any other functionalities or 
capabilities should be added to the Connect America Cost Model 
platform.
    6. On December 17, 2012, the Bureau announced it was soliciting 
public input on two newly added virtual workshop discussion topics: 
calculating average per-unit costs/take rate; and assigning shared 
costs.
    7. In addition, the Bureau asked the public to provide input on 
topics on which it previously sought comment in light of the release of 
version one of the Connect America Cost Model: determining customer 
locations; clustering; routing; capturing variation by geography; 
inter-office transport cost; voice capability; wire center facilities; 
sizing of network facilities; the use of company-specific values; 
calculating opex; determining the annualized cost of capital 
investments; determining the sharing factor for outside plant; plant 
mix; labor-cost adjustment based on location. In particular, commenters 
are invited to address the questions previously posed, focusing 
specifically on the choices made in both version one and version two of 
the Connect America Cost Model.
    8. Parties wishing to participate in the virtual workshop may do so 
by visiting http://www.fcc.gov/blog/wcb-cost-model-virtual-workshop-2012 and posting their comments by the deadlines indicated above. 
Parties also may choose to address any issue raised in the virtual 
workshop by filing comments through traditional channels at the FCC, 
such as the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). The 
Bureau anticipates adding additional discussion topics as the virtual 
workshop progresses. All future topics for the virtual workshop will be 
announced by Public Notice and published in the Federal Register.
    9. The Bureau will not rely on anonymous comments posted during the 
workshop in reaching decisions regarding the model. Participants should 
be aware that identifying information from parties that post material 
in the virtual workshop will be publicly available for inspection upon 
request, even though such information may not be posted in the workshop 
forums.
    10. At the close of the Virtual Workshop, comments from the Virtual 
Workshop will be included in the official public record of this 
proceeding, along with comments filed through traditional channels at 
the FCC, such as the Commision's Electronic Comment Filing System 
(ECFS). In the meantime, parties are encouraged to examine both the 
Virtual Workshop and the official public record of this proceeding in 
order to be aware full range of discussion occurring in this 
proceeding, including discussion on the characteristics of and inputs 
to the CACM.

III. Procedural Matters

A. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    11. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as 
amended (RFA), the Bureau prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis (IRFA), included as part of the Model Design PN, 77 FR 38804, 
June 29, 2012, of the possible significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed 
in these Public Notices and the information posted online in the 
Virtual Workshops. We have reviewed the IRFA and have determined that 
is does not need to be supplemented.

B. Filing Requirements

    12. Comments and Replies. Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of 
the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415 and 1.419, interested parties may 
file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on 
the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the 
Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic 
Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121, May 1, 
1998.
    [ssquf] Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
    [ssquf] Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file 
an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or 
rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers 
must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or 
rulemaking number. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, 
by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. 
Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's 
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
    [ssquf] All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for 
the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 
12th Street SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours 
are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together 
with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be 
disposed of before entering the building.
    [ssquf] Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton 
Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
    [ssquf] U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail 
must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington DC 20554.
    13. Virtual Workshop. In addition to the usual methods for filing 
electronic comments, the Commission is allowing comments in this 
proceeding to be filed by posting comments at http://www.fcc.gov/blog/wcb-cost-model-virtual-workshop-2012. Persons wishing to examine the 
record in this proceeding

[[Page 5767]]

are encouraged to examine the record on ECFS and the Virtual Workshop. 
Although Virtual Workshop commenters may choose to provide identifying 
information or may comment anonymously, anonymous comments will not be 
part of the record in this proceeding and accordingly will not be 
relied on by the Commission in reaching its conclusions in this 
rulemaking. The Commission will not rely on anonymous postings in 
reaching conclusions in this matter because of the difficulty in 
verifying the accuracy of information in anonymous postings. Should 
posters provide identifying information, they should be aware that 
although such information will not be posted on the blog, it will be 
publicly available for inspection upon request.
    14. People with Disabilities. 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 & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-
418-0432 (tty).
    15. Availability of Documents. Comments, reply comments, and ex 
parte submissions will be publicly available online via ECFS. These 
documents will also be available for public inspection during regular 
business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, which is 
located in Room CY-A257 at FCC Headquarters, 445 12th Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20554. The Reference Information Center is open to the 
public Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday 
from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Federal Communications Commission.
Trent B. Harkrader,
Division Chief, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline 
Competition Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2013-01597 Filed 1-25-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P