On May 3, 2010, MeetingOne.com Corp. (“MeetingOne”) filed a petition (“Petition”) with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) requesting a review of a March 3, 2010 decision issued by the Universal Service Administration Company (“USAC”). Despite claims its conferencing service was 100% Internet Protocol (“IP”)-based, USAC concluded that MeetingOne is subject to Universal Service Fund (“USF”) contributions on its future revenues and is required to report, and contribute on, its revenue back to 2008.
In its Petition, MeetingOne argues that its services do not directly touch the public switched telephone network (“PSTN”) and that, unlike traditional telecommunications, it processes and reconfigures IP packets rather than merely transmitting data from one point to another. According to MeetingOne, it provides IP audio conferencing services to its customers solely and exclusively through the use of IP data packets.
On October 5, 2009, MeetingOne requested a determination from USAC regarding the nature of its services. In response, USAC determined that MeetingOne has been providing telecommunications and is required to contribute to the USF. USAC reasoned that MeetingOne‘s services are similar to USF-assessable interconnected VoIP and similar to the InterCall audio-bridging services that the FCC had previously determined to be telecommunications.
Clients unsure of the appropriate regulatory classification of their service offerings are advised to review MeetingOne‘s pending Petition, a copy of which can be found here:
MeetingOne Petition for Review of USAC Decision
To date, the FCC has overturned only a single USAC decision; it therefore would appear unlikely it will overturn USAC‘s classification of MeetingOne‘s All IP conferencing services as “telecommunications.”
MeetingOne is in this precarious situation because it went directly to USAC to request guidance regarding its services without obtaining a legal opinion beforehand. To help our clients avoid such an outcome, our firm provides customized Regulatory Classification & Compliance Audits. In the course of a Classification & Compliance Audit, our firm reviews facts and information provided by a client to establish a baseline determination of the appropriate regulatory classification of each of distinct service offering. We then guide clients on a path to compliance and/or mitigation. MeetingOne‘s Petition highlights the value such an audit provides.
If you are interested in learning more about our firm‘s Classification & Compliance Audits, please read through the attachment to this Advisory and contact Jonathan S. Marashlian at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 714-1313 to get started.