Client Bulletin: Upcoming Annual FCC Filing Deadlines for Common Carriers, Voice over Internet Protocol Providers, and Submarine Cable Licensees

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a number of upcoming annual deadlines applicable to carriers and other service providers.  The filings outlined here are typically due on either March 31 or April 1 annually, however, under Commission rules, when a filing deadline occurs on a weekend, the deadline is moved to the next business day. Accordingly, the deadline is Monday, April 2, 2018 for each filing outlined here.

FCC Form 499-A

FCC Form 499-A reports a company’s previous year’s revenue to Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as well as other fund administrators. This form must be filed by all interstate telecommunications carriers, interconnected VoIP providers, providers of interstate telecommunications that offer service for a fee on a non-common carrier basis (including stand-alone audio bridging companies), and payphone providers that are aggregators.  In addition, non-interconnected VoIP providers are required to file this form for the assessment of fees to support the Telecommunications Relay System (TRS).

The revenues reported on Form 499-A provide the basis for true-up of a company’s Universal Service contributions for the previous calendar year, as applicable, and serve as the basis for assessing annual fees for the TRS, the Local Number Portability (LNP) fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration fund, and the FCC’s annual fee.

FCC Form 499-A must be filed electronically with the USAC. The filing interface can be found here.

Instructions for completing the FCC Form 499-A can be found here.

Disability Access Recordkeeping Requirement

Carriers, equipment manufacturers, VoIP providers, including non-interconnected VoIP providers, wireless carriers, and advanced communications service providers are required to file a certificate with the FCC stating that they maintain records of any and all efforts undertaken to ensure their products and services are accessible to those with disabilities. Specifically, companies must maintain records of:

  • Their efforts to consult with individuals with disabilities;
  •  Descriptions of the accessibility features of its products and
    services; and
  •  Information about the compatibility of these products and services with peripheral devices or other equipment typically used to gain access to the company’s services, such as hearing aids.

The certificate must identify both a contact within the company who is authorized to resolve complaints, as well as an agent to receive any informal complaints that may be received by the FCC regarding the company alleging violations of the Commission’s accessibility rules, or Sections 255, 716, and 718 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Act).  These sections of the Act requires providers to ensure that their services and equipment are accessible by the disabled, including that any Internet browsers included on mobile telephones are accessible by those who are visually disabled (unless doing so is not achievable), and to maintain the records described above.  In addition, the certificate must be supported by a declaration or affidavit signed under the penalty of perjury by an officer of the company who has personal knowledge of the company’s recordkeeping policies and procedures.

The FCC has established a filing portal for this certificate, which can be found here. More information can be found in the Public Notice found here. (DA 18-206)

Submarine Cable Circuit Capacity Reports

Common carriers that have capacity on a submarine cable between the United States and any foreign point and licensees of any submarine cable between the United States and any foreign point are required to file these Circuit Capacity Reports if the entity had any activated or non-activated circuits as of December 31, 2017. More information can be found in the Public Notice issued March 1, 2018. This report is to be made through the Section 43.62 Online Filing System found here.

The Commission adopted changes to the Reports in an Order issued on October 24, 2017, by eliminating the requirement for filers to include terrestrial and satellite circuit data (See 32 FCC Rcd 8115, found here).  This adoption is pending approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Commission is waiving this requirement until July 1, 2018, or until the Commission provides notification of approval from OMB.  If a common carrier or submarine cable licensee is filing the Circuit Capacity Report and has satellite or terrestrial circuit data, that filer is permitted to file the pages relating to satellite or terrestrial circuits blank.

If you have any questions about these or other upcoming filing deadlines, please contact either Katherine Barker Marshall or Doug Bonner.