The FCC released a Report and Order, increasing the E-rate spending cap from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion. Thus, the FCC announced the proposed universal service contribution factor for the first quarter of 2015 will be 16.8 percent, up from the previous 16.1 percent. 16.8% for USF
BTW, soon USF will be on more than just LD: NTCA urged the FCC to expand the USF contribution base to include broadband Internet access and non-interconnected VoIP services.
Chairman Wheeler sent letters to Congress on open Internet issues. Verizon filed a letter asserting recent ex partes urging the FCC to adopt a rule in the open Internet proceeding that would regulate inter-connection agreements for the exchange of Internet traffic, including those relating to entry points to last-mile networks, are misplaced and wrong. Free Press discussed application of open Internet rules to mobile wireless services.
VZ also told its stakeholders that the FCC does NOT have the authority to regulate inter-connection or peering. Verizon Urges FCC to Reaffirm Broadband Internet Access is an Information Service
The Rural Broadband Alliance announced on December 22, 2014, Harold Furchtgott-Roth and Kathleen Wallman released a white paper entitled An Assessment of the Operational and Financial Health Of Rate-of-Return Telecommunications Companies in More Than 700 Study Areas: 2007-2012. The study concluded the operational and financial health of the rural rate-of-return industry has been declining since 2007, and that the decline was more markedly adverse in the period 2011-2012 following implementation of the Transformation Order. The study is based on an analysis of data examining 705 rural rate-of-return carrier study areas, and is based on publicly available data maintained by NECA. RBA said the data demonstrate that investment by small rural rate-of-return carriers slowed significantly after the release of the 2011Transformation Order. The study was partially underwritten by a grant from the RBA. [They needed a study for this???]
The FCC is also looking at changing the definition of term multi-channel video programming distributor (MVPD) by including within its scope services that make available for purchase, by subscribers or customers, multiple linear streams of video programming, regardless of the technology used to distribute the programming. In other words, Netflix, Aereo and other OTT could be considered MSOs. [story here]
The FCC also changed the definition of Broadband. "The Federal Communications Commission has raised minimum download speeds to 10 Mbps for any broadband companies that want to get funds from the government's 4-year-old Connect America program to install and maintain broadband services in rural parts of the United States." [NECA] [story here] This will change the stats on who gets broaddband, since 10MB down is tough for DSL or Fixed wireless in many cases.
Neustar and Telecordia are still fighting to be the next LNP Admin.