Telecom Alert - Georgia PSC Pole Attachment Ruling; 2021 Q1 USF Contribution Factor; COVID Relief Package Broadband Funding; CenturyLink Pays $500K Settlement; C-Band Revenues -Vol. XVII, Issue 51
Georgia PSC Pole Attachment Ruling
Last week, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to adopt a six-year, $1/pole rate for any new attachments to Georgia electric membership corporation (Georgia EMC) poles located in portions of Georgia not yet served by broadband. It also adopted a $27.71 rate statewide for all existing cable company attachments to EMC poles. The Commission largely adopted the terms and conditions proposed by the Georgia EMCs, including an “imposition fee” of 25% on top of actual costs when the EMC must perform work the attaching entity was supposed to do, an unauthorized attachment penalty of $100 plus back rent, and a dispute resolution process, among others.
2021 Q1 USF Contribution Factor Announced
The FCC released a Public Notice last week announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the first quarter of 2021 will be 31.8 percent. This is up from the fourth quarter of 2020, which was 27.1 percent. If the Commission takes no action regarding the projections of demand and administrative expenses associated with the universal service program within 14 days of the date of the Public Notice, then the proposed factor will be deemed approved.
COVID Relief Package Broadband Funding
On Sunday, Congressional leaders reached a deal on a $900 billion COVID-19 economic relief package that includes $7 billion in funding for broadband internet access. $3.2 billion of the funding will go to a new Emergency Broadband Benefit that will provide $50 per month to low-income families for broadband. It also includes $1.9 billion for rip and replace efforts (Vol. XVII, Issue 47), $1 billion in grants for Tribal broadband programs, and $300 million for rural broadband deployment. The deal will also extend the deadline for states and cities to use unspent money approved for them by the CARES Act (Vol. XVII, Issue 48).
CenturyLink Pays $500K to Resolve 911 Outage
The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau entered into a Consent Decree with CenturyLink last week, resolving an investigation into whether CenturyLink violated the Commission’s rules in connection with a multistate outage on one of its transport networks that occurred in late December of 2018. CenturyLink experienced a widespread outage on December 27, 2018 that lasted for almost 37 hours, which was caused by a combination of equipment failure and a network configuration error. As a result of the outage, CenturyLink failed to deliver eleven 911 calls that had been forwarded to secondary Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in Arizona. CenturyLink agreed to a settlement of $500,000.
C-Band Revenues Over $30 Billion
As of the close of bidding on December 18, bids in the FCC’s C-Band Auction (Auction 107) reached more than $33.9 billion. This is the second most all time in gross revenues among FCC spectrum auctions, after the 2015 AWS-3 auction which finished with nearly $44.9 billion in bids.