On October 26, 2015, the U.S. Department of State sent Chairman Tom Wheeler a letter authorizing the FCC to immediately adopt changes to its Section 214 licensing procedures relative to carriers seeking FCC authorization to originate or terminate telecommunications from the U.S. to Cuba, and vice versa. In its letter, the State Department states:
“As of the date of this letter, coordination with the Department of State for section 214 applications for the provision of telecommunications to Cuba will be treated similarly to all other Section 214 applications. Accordingly, the Commission should take the appropriate steps to:
Remove Cuba from the Commission’s “Exclusion List for International Section 214 Authorizations” and allow all carriers to provide telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba pursuant to global Section 214 authority under section 63.18(e)(1) of the Commission’s rules;
Discontinue application of non-discrimination requirements on the U.S.-Cuba route…; and
Continue to apply the appropriate benchmark settlement rate for telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba as well as allow waivers of limited duration of the benchmark settlement rate, as appropriate, for telecommunications services with Cuba.”
According to the State Department, the new policy “shall serve to increase a free and open flow of information between the people of Cuba and the United States.”
Should you have any questions regarding this development and how it may impact your company, please contact the attorney assigned to your account.