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Tele-Tech Updates

January 2014

New Rural Call Completion Order Expands Reporting Requirements for Many Carriers

Commissioners in late October approved a rural call completion order that requires data collection and reporting by service providers. The FCC will use that information to analyze how and why calls to rural subscribers are not being completed; data that will ultimately help with better enforcement.

No one disputes the severity of the rural calling problem: phones not ringing; calls delayed; and if a call is connected, the voice quality is so bad, it prohibits either party from understanding each other.

However, the FCC mandated solution will create an enormous burden for many carriers that are still working to comply with intercarrier compensation, universal service and special access reforms.

If you're trying to figure out how the new rural call completion rules affect you, Tele-Tech Services can help. We've created a Questionnaire you can use to determine whether or not you're required to report this call data.

You'll also find Frequently Asked Questions from the 90-page order below. Feel free to email krusso@telecomdb.com or call 843-879-5030 with any questions. 

WHEN DOES THE RURAL CALL COMPLETION ORDER GO INTO EFFECT?
Effective dates have yet to be issued for the actual data collection rules. The Office of Management and Budget must first approve the information collection requirements. 

The rest of the order goes into effect January 16, 2014, except for rules mandating that providers not signal a ringing sound to the caller until the called phone is actually ringing. That section becomes effective January 31, 2014.

Comments on the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) are due January 16; replies due February 18, 2014.

WHO IS REQUIRED TO REPORT?
Providers of long-distance voice service that make the initial long-distance call path choice for more than 100,000 domestic retail subscribers, counting the total of all business and residential fixed subscriber lines and mobile phones, and aggregated over all of the provider's affiliates, are required to record, retain and report long-distance call data. This includes local exchange carriers (LECs), interexchange carriers (IXCs), commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers and VoIP service providers.
 
Commissioners have excluded intermediate providers from these reporting requirements, on the basis that the initial call path should provide the data they need to identify problems.
 
Rural ILECS are encouraged to report data, although those providers are not required to do so. Participants are asked to report the number of incoming call attempts received, the number answered on its network and the call answer rate calculation.  

WHAT DATA MUST I RECORD?
Covered providers must record and retain data on long distance call attempts made to ALL carriers (not just rural service providers), for which they make the initial long-distance call path choice. Data collection applies to all domestic long-distance calls, both interstate and intrastate. Providers must report data on interstate and intrastate calls separately.
 
All call attempts must be recorded, and autodialer traffic must be included, along with calls of very short duration.
 
Call attempts to toll free numbers are excluded.

Data fields must include:

  1. calling party number
  2. called party number
  3. date
  4. time
  5. an indication whether the call was handed off to an intermediate provider or not and, if so, which intermediate provider
  6. the rural OCN associated with the called party number 
  7. an indication whether the call attempt was interstate or intrastate 
  8. an indication whether the call attempt was answered, which may take the form of an SS7 signaling cause code or SIP signaling message code associated with each call attempt
  9. an indication whether the call attempt was completed to the ILEC but signaled as busy, ring no answer or unassigned number, which may also take the form of an SS7 signaling cause code or SIP signaling message code associated with each call attempt

Numbers eight and nine above may prove especially problematic for smaller service providers that may not have SS7 probes, since standard industry CDR formats do not include this information.

For calls to rural OCNs, there must be one line item or row on the report for each rural OCN.

For calls to non-rural OCNs, the carrier that made the routing choice must still report the same information, but it can be in the aggregate (i.e., one line item on the report covering all non-rural OCNs, as opposed to one line item for each rural OCN.) 

WHAT IS THE TIME PERIOD FOR RETAINING DATA?
Data is to be retained for a six month period.  

WHEN DO I REPORT THE DATA?
Data is to be reported quarterly. The reporting deadlines are:  
  • February 1: data from October - December due.
  • May 1: data from January - March due. 
  • August 1: data from April - June due.
  • November 1: data from July - September due.  
HOW LONG MUST I COLLECT THIS DATA?
Right now, there is no sunset date for the rules. The order indicates Commissioners will reevaluate after three years.
 
Want to know if you're required to report call data? Take our Questionnaire and find out.

Wireline Telephone Service Continues Decline

The most recent Local Telephone Competition report, with data current to December 31, 2012, shows increasing growth for interconnected VoIP and mobile phone services, while subscriptions to switched access lines is decreasing.

Over a three-year period, interconnected VoIP subscriptions increased 17 percent; mobile subscriptions increased 4 percent.

At the same time, subscriptions to retail switched access lines decreased by 9 percent. The chart below shows the trend.

telephone subscription trend

Read the full local competition report to view detailed charts and statistics.

Check out our new Features Database!

Tele-Tech Services announces the release of a new "Features" data set. It covers the costs to businesses from local exchange carriers (LECs) for many of the most used calling features. 

The standardized, flat file format includes charges for calling features from about 350 carriers.

The actual features vary carrier to carrier and state to state based on what is offered in each area, but in general include:

  • call forwarding
  • call waiting
  • speed calling
  • three way calling
  • call blocking
  • toll restriction
  • call return
  • selective call acceptance
  • selective call rejection
  • distinctive ringing 
  • call trace

The monthly charge for the feature is provided, as well as "per use" rates, where applicable.

Contact us today for a quote. Call Kim at 843-879-5030 or submit your request online.

FCC Investigates AT&T Special Access Rates

Carriers opposed to AT&T's special access price increases have won a temporary reprieve.

The FCC on December 6, 2013 suspended for five months the incumbent carrier's pricing flexibility tariff revisions, while the agency investigates its lawfulness.

The point of contention is whether or not AT&T violates portions of the Communications Act of 1934 by discontinuing certain long-term contracts for special access services.

Several competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) argue that AT&T's decision to stop offering discount plans longer than 36 months would substantially increase service costs and hurt competition.

Sprint stated in its petition that the FCC has a "statutory obligation to ensure that carriers' practices are just and reasonable."

Sprint estimates the increases would range from 4 to 24 percent for DS1 and DS3 services. The carrier claims that AT&T has no justifiable reason to increase rates.

Other petitioners include Cbeyond, Consolidated Communications, Integra Telecom, Level 3, XO Communications and Windstream.

AT&T defends its decision and states there is no legal obligation on the company's part to maintain any specific type of discount plan.

In its response filing, AT&T wrote, "These are business to business issues...there is no legal basis for the Commission to suspend or investigate these tariff filings."

AT&T's reason for discontinuing its 5 and 7-year contracts, is to transition customers away from legacy networks. The incumbent carrier plans to have all its customers on an internet protocol (IP) network by 2020.

Stay tuned. We will continue to follow this topic and post updates to our blog.

NANPA Q4 Recap

NEW JERSEY
  • Projected exhaust date for 609 NPA is revised to 1Q2016, changed from 2Q2015.
GEORGIA

CONNECTICUT

  • NXX Codes in 475 NPA overlay now open.

TENNESSEE

  • NPA 629 to overly NPA 615, effective March 28, 2015.

NATIONWIDE

  • The Industry Numbering Committee (INC) has assigned NPA 577 as the next 5XX NPA.

Q1 Contribution Factor 

The proposed Universal Service Fund contribution factor for First Quarter 2014 is 16.4 percent, up from 15.6 percent in the previous quarter.

 
KFR News