Wednesday, August 29, 2007

FCC Form 477 due Sept. 1

Form 477 is filed twice a year. It is collected by the FCC to determine Broadband Coverage. (IOW, to prove that their flawed strategy for broadband is working. As a former scientist, raw data can be manipulated any way you want - skewed to the results you are looking for.) After much bad press on the data, including rebuke from the GAO, first, the FCC has issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) [FCC 07-21] to determine how best to understand broadband and make it more available. Second, the FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rule making (NPRM) [FCC 07-17] to explore ways in which the Commission can collect the information it needs to set broadband policy in the future. Comments were due end of May, 2007.

Get Form 477 and the instructions.

According to the 477 FAQ: Who must file it? The form must be filed by the following entities:

  1. Facilities-based providers of broadband connections to end-user locations. (See FAQ #5 for definitions of these terms.) Note that a facilities-based broadband provider may – or may not – have a retail relationship with the end user of the broadband connection. Also note that some retailers of high-speed Internet-access service are not facilities-based broadband providers for purposes of Form 477. (See FAQ #10 regarding ISPs.)
  2. Local exchange carriers (read as CLECs), including resellers as well as facilities-based carriers.
  3. Incumbent LECs (ILECs) and competitive LECs (CLECs) will answer some or all
  4. Commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers that serve mobile telephone service subscribers using spectrum for which the CMRS provider (or its affiliate) holds a license, or using spectrum that it manages for or leases from a spectrum licensee. Entities that only resell mobile telephone service do not file Form 477; instead, the subscribers to the resold mobile telephone service are reported by the underlying, facilities-based carrier.

There are no exceptions to filing based on the number of connections, lines, or subscribers. However, many filers will find that they are not required to complete all sections of the form.

What is a facilities-based entity and what is broadband in this data collection?

With respect to Part I of Form 477, a facilities-based entity is an entity (including subsidiaries and affiliates) that: owns the portion of the physical facility that terminates at the end-user location as a broadband connection; provisions/equips broadband wireless channels to end-user locations over licensed spectrum or over spectrum that the entity uses on an unlicensed basis; or obtains unbundled network elements (UNEs), special access lines, or other leased facilities that terminate at end-user locations and provisions/equips them as broadband. This entity may – or may not – have a retail relationship with the end user of the broadband connection. A broadband connection is a line (or wireless channel) that terminates at an end-user location and enables the end user to receive information from and/or send information to the Internet at information transfer rates exceeding 200 kilobits per second (kbps) in at least one direction.

What about exceptions? In-house BPL, yes. External, no. WISP's must file. MVNO, no. VoIP, no.

ISP? An ISP that obtains a broadband connection or service from an unaffiliated entity, which it incorporates into its own high-speed Internet-access service, is exempt from reporting broadband connections in Part I of Form 477. Instead, the obligation to report the broadband connection rests with the underlying facilities-based provider. [FCC FAQ]

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