FCC Considers Proposal to Freeze and/or Eliminate Local Rate Floor

FCC Chairman Pai is circulating a proposal to freeze the local rate floor at $18 until it can act on new rules to completely eliminate the requirement. The FCC will consider the draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Order at its May 18 Open Meeting. The NPRM proposes to eliminate the rate floor and its accompanying reporting obligation, and the Order freezes the rate floor at $18 until it takes further action on the NPRM. JSI points out that this is just a draft NPRM and Order. Nothing will be finalized unless two commissioners vote yes at the May 18th meeting.

This eleventh-hour potential action on May 18th may be too late for companies that need to have local rate increases in place by June 1st under the current rules. Most state commissions also require customer notification of at least 30 days for local rate increases and therefore many companies may have already notified customers of the June 1 increase to $20.

JSI recommends that clients that receive High Cost Loop Support (HCLS), and are thus subject to the rate floor, consider their options and be aware of any state-specific issues regarding local rate increases. We will continue to monitor this proceeding and will be glad to discuss this issue with those that may be impacted.

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