Although the official start of the rate-of-return competitive challenge process has not been announced, the FCC did recently release a Public Notice and updated data that rate-of-return carriers can review, and then get an idea of which competitors they might be facing in the challenge process. The Public Notice explains that June 2016 Form 477 broadband deployment data will be used, which contains revisions made before May 16, 2017. The nuts and bolts of the challenge process will be released in the future, but the FCC will rely on the data that was released in the Public Notice.
JSI recommends that rate-of-return clients on legacy support review the list of study areas with competitors by census block and the list of competitors aggregated to study area level to see if any competitors are listed. Once it is determined that competitors are present, we can help you determine if they are likely to certify that they provide service in the listed census blocks, which would then mean that you would want to challenge them. As a reminder, in the rate-of-return challenge process, the competitor must file a declaration and evidence that it indeed offers voice and 10/1 broadband service to at least 85% of the locations in the census block and meet other criteria, including the ability to port numbers in the blocks. If the competitor does not file anything, then the blocks will not be deemed competitive. If the competitor does certify, the rate-of-return carrier may respond with evidence that the competitor does not meet the criteria.
JSI can assist with reviewing the competitor census block lists, creating maps showing who and where the competitors are, and with developing a strategy for the challenge process. For assistance and questions, please contact John Kuykendall or Cassandra Heyne in the Maryland office at 301-459-7590.