[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 244 (Thursday, December 19, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 76789-76791]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-30145]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 54

[WC Docket No. 10-90; DA 13-2317]


Additional Connect America Fund Phase II Issues

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Wireline Competition Bureau seeks to 
further develop the record on several implementation issues regarding 
the transition from Connect America Phase I to Phase II.

DATES: Comments are due on or before January 7, 2014.

ADDRESSES: All pleadings are to reference WC Docket No. 10-90. Comments 
may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System 
(ECFS) or by filing paper copies, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
     Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must 
file an original and one copy of each filing.
     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).

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: Ted Burmeister, Wireline Competition 
Bureau at (202) 418-7389 or TTY (202) 418-0484.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a synopsis of the Wireline 
Competition Bureau's document in WC Docket No. 10-90; DA 13-2317, 
released December 3, 2013. The complete text of this document 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. The document may also be purchased 
from the Commission's duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, 
Inc., 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, 
telephone (800) 378-3160 or (202) 863-2893, facsimile (202) 863-2898, 
or via Internet at http://www.bcpiweb.com.
    1. In this document, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) seeks 
to further develop the record on several implementation issues 
regarding the transition from Connect America Phase I to Phase II.
    2. Timing of Phase II Support Disbursements. In the USF/ICC 
Transformation Order, 76 FR 73830, November 29, 2011, the Commission 
specified that price cap carriers electing to make a state-level 
commitment would receive five years of model-based support, and it 
established a process for transitioning support from Connect America 
Fund Phase I to Phase II in states where model-based support is greater 
than frozen support. Specifically, for a carrier accepting the state-
wide commitment pursuant to Connect America Fund Phase II, ``in the 
first year, the carrier will receive one-half the full amount the 
carrier will receive under CAF Phase II and one-half the amount the 
carrier received under CAF Phase I for the previous year (which would 
be the frozen amount if the carrier declines Phase I or the frozen 
amount plus the incremental amount if the carrier accepts Phase I); in 
the second year, each carrier accepting the state-wide commitment will 
receive the full CAF Phase II amount.''
    3. Several price cap carriers have raised questions regarding how 
to calculate the five-year funding period in light of the language in 
paragraph 180 of the USF/ICC Transformation Order. We now seek to more 
fully develop the record on this issue. The Bureau seeks comment on 
several alternatives. First, the price cap carrier could receive the 
remaining half of one year of annual support as a lump sum on the date 
that is five years after the date of the initial election. Second, the 
remaining half could be distributed pro-rata on a monthly basis over 
the third through fifth years. Third, the remaining half year could be 
provided as a lump sum

[[Page 76790]]

as soon as the carrier certifies that it has fully met its deployment 
obligations, which potentially could occur separately from the Sec.  
54.313(e)(2) annual report certification that the company is providing 
the required service to 100 percent of its locations. Fourth, the 
remaining half year of annual support could be provided as a lump sum 
after the carrier files its annual report pursuant to Sec.  
54.313(e)(2) regarding completion of its deployment obligations for 
Phase II-funded locations. The Bureau seeks comment on the relative 
advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. Are there any other 
alternatives?
    4. Phase-Down in States With Support Reductions. In the USF/ICC 
Transformation Order, the Commission concluded that it would be 
``premature to specify the length of the transition'' for carriers that 
would receive less money from Connect America Phase II than frozen 
high-cost support, but ``there will be an appropriate multi-year 
transition to the lower amount'' which would be addressed in 
conjunction with the finalization of the cost model.
    5. The Bureau now seeks to further develop the record regarding the 
length of the ``appropriate multi-year transition.'' Consistent with 
the approach adopted by the Commission for the phase down in support 
for competitive eligible telecommunications carriers, should the 
transition for carriers in states where they will receive less funding 
under Phase II than frozen support occur over a five-year period, with 
the carrier receiving a 20 percent reduction in frozen support the 
first year, a 40 percent reduction in the second year, a 60 percent 
reduction in the third year, an 80 percent reduction in the fourth 
year, and the full reduction in the fifth year? Alternatively, should 
the transition period be shorter, such as two or three years? The 
funding necessary to cover this transition could be drawn from the 
Connect America broadband reserve, which is designed to ensure that 
average annual expenditures remain within the $4.5 billion budget over 
time. The Bureau seeks comment on these proposals. To the extent 
commenters suggest alternative approaches, they should provide a 
detailed description of their proposal.

I. Procedural Matters

A. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    6. The USF/ICC Transformation Order and FNPRM, 76 FR 73830, 
November 29, 2011 and 76 FR 78384, December 16, 2011, included an 
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
603, exploring the potential impact on small entities of the 
Commission's proposals. We invite parties to file comments on the IRFA 
in light of this additional notice.

B. Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    7. This document seeks comment on a potential new or revised 
information collection requirement. If the Commission adopts any new or 
revised information collection requirement, the Commission will publish 
a separate notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to 
comment on the requirement, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). In addition, pursuant 
to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, 
44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how it 
might ``further reduce the information collection burden for small 
business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.''

 C. Filing Requirements

    8. Interested parties may file comments on or before the date 
indicated on the first page of this document. Comments are to reference 
WC Docket No. 10-90 and may be filed using the Commission's Electronic 
Comment Filing System (ECFS), or by filing paper copies.
    [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. 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 St. 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.
    9. In addition, we request that one copy of each pleading be sent 
to each of the following:
    (1) Ted Burmeister, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, 
Wireline Competition Bureau, 445 12th Street SW., Room 5-A445, 
Washington, DC 20554; email: Ted.Burmeister@fcc.gov;
    (2) Charles Tyler, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, 
Wireline Competition Bureau, 445 12th Street SW., Room 5-A452, 
Washington, DC 20554; email: Charles.Tyler@fcc.gov.
    10. 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).
    11. The proceeding this Notice initiates shall be treated as a 
``permit-but-disclose'' proceeding in accordance with the Commission's 
ex parte rules. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy 
of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral 
presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a 
different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons 
making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda 
summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or 
otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte 
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and 
arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted 
in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already 
reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda or other 
filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such 
data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other 
filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where 
such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the 
memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex 
parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must 
be filed consistent with rule Sec.  1.1206(b). In proceedings governed 
by rule Sec.  1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a 
method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and 
memoranda

[[Page 76791]]

summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, 
must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available 
for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., 
.doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding 
should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.

Federal Communications Commission.
Linda Oliver,
Deputy Chief, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline 
Competition Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2013-30145 Filed 12-18-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P