Providers Urge FCC to Resolve Uncertainties Surrounding Applicability of USF to MPLS Services


On February 6, 2012, representatives of the following Multi-Protocol Label Switching (“MPLS”) service providers: Verizon, BT Americas, XO Communications, Orange Business Services and NTT America (“MPLS Providers”), met with staff of the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) Wireline Competition Bureau.  At the meeting, the MPLS Providers discussed the urgent need for the FCC to resolve legal uncertainties regarding the applicability of Universal Service Fund fees and requirements to MPLS Services.

The MPLS Providers discussed a range of potential approaches for addressing the uncertainties as part of overall USF contribution reform.  In particular, the MPLS Providers discussed the possibility of the FCC prospectively determining that a portion of revenues associated with MPLS-enabled services, for example revenues related to the access transmission component(s), is assessable for USF purposes.  Regardless of the regulatory classification of any particular MPLS-enabled service, the MPLS Providers argue that the FCC could establish such a contribution requirement and a standardized proxy (similar to a safe harbor) for the access transmission component on a prospective basis using its permissive authority under 47 U.S.C. § 254(d).

For additional details related to the MPLS Providers’ meeting, click here:

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