On November 8, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) announced the 2018 reasonable comparability benchmarks for fixed-voice and broadband services for incumbent eligible telecommunications carriers (ETC). This Public Notice also included a posting of the fixed-voice and broadband services data collected in the most recent annual urban rate survey and the required minimum usage allowance for ETCs subject to public interest obligations for fixed broadband services.
Carriers won’t be subject to any federal support reductions if they demonstrate having at least one residential voice service rate at or above $18 as of January 1, 2018. Under the FCC’s rules, each ETC, including competitive ETCs providing fixed-voice services, also must certify in its annual FCC Form 481 that the pricing of its basic residential voice services is no more than $45.38—a number two standard deviations above the WCB’s 2018 urban rate survey.
Recipients of high-cost and/or Connect America Fund support subject to broadband performance obligations are required to offer broadband service at rates at or below the relevant reasonable comparability benchmark. The following table provides the 2018 benchmark for a number of different broadband service offerings.
The WCB will soon release an expanded tool covering additional speed and capacity instances.
Please contact BKD’s telecom advisors for further recommendations and support if you feel your company isn’t already on a path to satisfying these 2018 benchmarks.