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Friday, September 28, 2012

499 ⇒ !CIPA

So as I cried over the misery of applicants trying to get services into the right category on the Form 471, a weird thing occurred to me: in many cases, the need for an applicant to be CIPA compliant is dependent on the regulatory status of the service provider.

See, when CIPA came along, the FCC decided that compliance was not required for telecommunications funding, which is a good thing.  So they did what seemed logical and easy: you apply only for services in Telecommunications Services (TS), you don't have to be CIPA-compliant; apply for Internet Access (IA) or Priority Two, and you need to comply.  And that pretty much worked.  (Yeah, it was a little weird that you didn't need to be CIPA compliant for a T-1 line leased from a telecom company to connect to your ISP, since its only purpose was to provide access to the Internet, but to get funding for a PBX, which could not connect to the Internet, you had to be CIPA-compliant.  But everyone just looked at the sky and whistled and said nothing.)  But then along comes VoIP and the FCC can't make up its mind if it's a "telecommunications service," so you can put it in either TS or IA.  And then fiber is also allowed to straddle.

Let's look at an example of how that might work out in practice.  An applicant wants VoIP service.  In response, they get a bid from their ILEC and their ISP.  Their ILEC files a Form 499, so they can put the VoIP service in TS on the 471.  But their ISP doesn't file a Form 499, so they have to put it in IA.  USAC will decide the need for CIPA compliance based on which box is checked on the 471.  (The new order which tosses out the distinction between TS and IA, says that box is "one of the checks that USAC uses to determine which applicants need to comply with Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requirements," but I'm not aware of any other checks.  Oh crap, are we going to get a new type of review from PIA?)

So the exact same service may or may not require CIPA compliance, depending on whether the service provider files a Form 499.

That doesn't seem right.

1 comment:

  1. I'm at the USAC training at the moment. Eligible Services was the first sesstion (imagine how much re-writing had to be done over the weekend to change the info on Priority One). The presentation made clear that when filing for dark fiber, if the service provider is a telecom carrier, you should file it under TS on the 471. If the service provider does not file a 499, you must file under Internet Access. (See slide 28 of

    Slide 7 shows that applicants will be required to comply with CIPA if they request service under IA on the 471.

    CIPA compliance is only required when the service provider does not file a Form 499.