On June 30, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or “Commission”) Media Bureau released its 2014-2015 TRS contribution Order. Citing uncertainty in the number of IP CTS minutes that would be compensable in the coming year, the Media Bureau adopted a contribution factor of .01219. The adopted contribution factor is higher than the contribution factor of .01174 proposed by RLSA, the TRS Fund Administrator.
The Media Bureau addressed the Opposition of the Ad Hoc Coalition of International Telecommunications Companies (“Coalition”) to the Imposition of the Proposed TRS Fund Contribution Factor on International Telecommunications Services (“Opposition”) in footnote 70. The Media Bureau concluded that the Coalition failed to meet the burden necessary to suspend contribution requirements for international telecommunications revenues in the coming fund year. It also refused to act on the petition for rulemaking sought by the Opposition, saying that opening a rulemaking is beyond the scope of this proceeding. The Media Bureau did leave the petition for rulemaking pending for Commission action, but that decision leaves the Coalition somewhat in limbo waiting for the Commission to act on the issue, which can take months or, in some cases, years.
The Coalition could seek reconsideration of the Media Bureau’s decision by the Commission, which could push the FCC to act on the pending petition for rulemaking. A petition for reconsideration (or application for review) by the full Commission would also force the Commission to reconsider the Coalition’s substantive claims regarding the current inequity in the TRS contribution system for international carriers. While seeking reconsideration would give international carriers an opportunity to explain to the Commission the burdensome impact of the current TRS contribution formula, it would require support and advocacy from international carriers. If the industry does not make changing the TRS contribution formula for international carriers a priority, the Commission will likely leave the petition for rulemaking pending and allow the TRS Fund to continue collecting contributions from international services at the same rate it collects contributions from interstate services.
If you have any questions about the Ad Hoc Coalition or would like to support its efforts to ensure rational and equitable TRS contribution requirements for international carriers, please contact Jonathan S. Marashlian at 703-714-1313 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.