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Allied Wireless Communications Corporation/Georgia RSA #8 Partnership

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Released: May 4, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-656

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matters of
)
)

Petitions for Waiver of Universal Service High-
)
WC Docket No. 08-71
Cost Filing Deadlines
)
)

Allied Wireless Communications Corporation
)
Petition for Waiver of Sections 54.307(d), 54.313,
)
and 54.314 of the Commission's Rules
)
)

Georgia RSA #8 Partnership Petition for Waiver of )
Sections 54.307(d), 54.313, and 54.314 of the
)
Commission's Rules
)

ORDER

Adopted: April 8, 2011

Released: April 8, 2011

By the Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this order, we address petitions by Allied Wireless Communications Corporation
(Allied Wireless)1 and Georgia RSA #8 Partnership (Georgia RSA #8)2 for waivers of various universal
service high-cost support filing deadlines.3 For the reasons discussed below, although we deny the
requested waivers, we find that petitioners have met all the requirements to be eligible to receive high-
cost universal service support as of October 14, 2010, which is the release date of the orders designating
them as eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in Georgia.

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
Section 254(e) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, provides that "only an
eligible telecommunications carrier designated under section 214(e) shall be eligible to receive specific
Federal universal service support,"4 and such support shall be used "only for the provision, maintenance,


1 Allied Wireless Communications Corporation Petition for Waiver, WC Docket Nos. 09-197, 08-71, CC Docket
No. 96-45 (filed Nov. 2, 2010) (Allied Wireless Petition).
2 Georgia RSA #8 Partnership Petition for Waiver, WC Docket Nos. 09-197, 08-71, CC Docket No. 96-45 (filed
Oct. 27, 2010) (Georgia RSA #8 Petition). Allied Wireless is one of the partners in Georgia RSA #8. See Georgia
RSA #8 Petition at 1.
3 Allied Wireless seeks waivers of sections 54.307(d), 54.313(d)(vi), 54.314(d)(6), 54.809, and 54.904 of the
Commission's rules. Allied Wireless Petition at 3-4; see also 47 C.F.R. 54.307(d), 54.313-314, 54.809(a),
54.904(a), (d). Georgia RSA #8 seeks waivers of sections 54.307(d), 54.313, and 54.314 of the Commission's rules.
Georgia RSA #8 Petition at 4; see also 47 C.F.R. 54.307(d), 54.313-314. As explained below, petitioners seek
waiver of these rules to permit them to receive universal service support effective as of April 26, 2010, the date the
Georgia Public Service Commission declared that their designations should be considered effective.
4 47 U.S.C. 254(e).

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-656

and upgrading of facilities and services for which the support is intended."5 To implement this statutory
requirement, the Commission has adopted various certification and data filing requirements.6
3.
In the 2005 ETC Designation Order, the Commission amended its rules to permit newly
designated ETCs to be eligible for high-cost universal service support as of their ETC designation date,
provided that the required certifications and line-count data are filed within 60 days of such designation
date.7 If the required line count data and certifications are not filed within these time frames, a newly
designated ETC will not receive support as of its ETC designation date; instead, it will receive support on
a going-forward basis according to the schedule for other ETCs (i.e., those not newly designated).8
4.
The Waiver Petitions. The Commission, in approving Verizon Wireless's acquisition of
ALLTEL Corporation in 2008, required Verizon Wireless to divest business units in a number of markets
across the country.9 Allied Wireless acquired certain of those assets, including, as relevant here, assets in
Georgia, in a transaction that closed on April 26, 2010.10 Prior to the close of that transaction, on April
15, 2010, Allied Wireless filed a petition for designation as an ETC with the Georgia Public Service
Commission (Georgia PSC); in a filing made on August 9, 2010, Allied requested that its designation be
made effective retroactive to the date the Verizon Wireless-Allied transaction closed on April 26, 2010.11
Georgia RSA #8's petition was filed three months later, on July 14, 2010.12 On September 21, 2010, the
Georgia PSC adopted orders designating petitioners as ETCs; the orders were released on October 14,
2010.13 The Georgia PSC granted petitioners' request to make the effective date of petitioners' ETC
designations retroactive to April 26, 2010.14


5 Id.
6 See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. 54.301(b) and (e)(1) (data filings requirements for Local Switching Support), 54.307
(competitive ETC line count filing requirements for Interstate Common Line Support (ICLS) and other high-cost
support), 54.313 (state certification requirements regarding the use of high-cost support by non-rural carriers),
54.314 (state certification requirements regarding the use of high-cost support by rural carriers), 54.802(a) (ETC line
count filing requirements for Interstate Access Support (IAS)), 54.809 (carrier certification requirements regarding
the use of IAS), 54.903 (data filing requirements for ICLS), 54.904 (carrier certification requirements regarding the
use of ICLS).
7 See Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, CC Docket No. 96-45, Report and Order, 20 FCC Rcd 6371,
6411, para. 92 (2005) (ETC Designation Order). Under section 54.307(d) of the Commission's rules, newly
designated ETCs have 60 days from the date of their designation to file line count data. See 47 C.F.R. 54.307(d).
Under sections 54.313(d)(3)(vi) and 54.314(d), certifications must be filed on behalf of the newly designated ETCs
by the relevant state commission or by the ETC within 60 days of the effective date of its designation. See 47
C.F.R. 54.313(d)(3)(vi), 54.314(d). Under sections 54.809(c) and 54.904(d), the newly designated carrier must
file its own required self-certifications when it first files line counts. See 47 C.F.R. 54.809(c), 54.904(d). Prior
to the ETC Designation Order, newly designated ETCs were subject to the same filing schedules as other ETCs.
8 See ETC Designation Order, 20 FCC Rcd at 6411, para. 92.
9 See Applications of Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. and Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless for Consent to
Assign or Transfer Control of Licenses and Authorizations
, WT Docket No. 09-119, Memorandum Opinion and
Order, 25 FCC Rcd 3763, 3764, paras. 1-2 (2010).
10 See Allied Wireless Petition at 1 n.1, 2-3.
11 See Allied Wireless Petition at 3, Ex. 1 at 5.
12 See Georgia RSA #8 Petition, Ex. 1 at 2. Georgia RSA #8 sought retroactive designation in its initial petition to
the Georgia PSC.
13 See Allied Wireless Petition at 3, Ex. 1; Georgia RSA #8 Petition at 4, Ex. 1.
14 See Allied Wireless Petition at 3, Georgia RSA #8 Petition at 3.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-656

III.

DISCUSSION

5.
We find that petitioners have failed to demonstrate that there is good cause to grant their
requests for waiver of the Commission's rules.15 Generally, the Commission's rules may be waived if
good cause is shown.16 The Commission may exercise its discretion to waive a rule where the particular
facts make strict compliance inconsistent with the public interest.17 In addition, the Commission may take
into account considerations of hardship, equity, or more effective implementation of overall policy on an
individual basis.18 Waiver of the Commission's rules is appropriate only if both (i) special circumstances
warrant a deviation from the general rule, and (ii) such deviation will serve the public interest.19 As we
have noted previously, because USAC processes such a large amount of data each year, it is necessary
that carriers meet the requisite filing deadlines, absent special circumstances.20 Carriers are responsible
for reviewing and understanding the rules to ensure that submissions are filed in a timely manner.21
6.
Petitioners contend that they should be excused from the requirement that they file line
counts within 60 days of the effective date of their designations because they had "no way of knowing"
that the Georgia PSC would set April 26, 2010 as the effective date until the PSC voted to grant the
designation on September 21, 2010.22 We disagree. Petitioners expressly requested that the Georgia PSC
set April 26, 2010 as the effective date for their designations.23 Thus, petitioners were clearly on notice
that the Georgia PSC might select that date as the effective date. Petitioners' assertion that in prior
waiver orders we have stated that carriers are not necessarily required to file line counts in anticipation of
their designation is unavailing on this point.24 Petitioners rely on a case that predates the adoption of the
60-day grace period for newly designated carriers to make their filings following designation. The 60-day
grace period embodies the principle petitioners cite: Under our rules, petitioners were not required to file
prior to the effective date of their designation. Petitioners were, however, required to file within 60 days
of the effective date. As we explained in the context of another carrier similarly seeking a waiver to
obtain retroactive support, "the Commission found that the adoption of the 60-day period would
`eliminate the need for carriers to seek waiver of filing deadline rules in order to receive support on a
timely basis.'"25 In this regard, we note that petitioners have failed to show that they were unable to make


15 Even assuming arguendo that a state commission may designate a carrier retroactively, petitioners here still
require a waiver to obtain support as of the date the Georgia PSC set as the effective date of their designations.
Therefore, we need not and do not decide the effect of a state commission order designating a carrier as an ETC on a
retroactive basis.
16 47 C.F.R. 1.3.
17 Northeast Cellular Telephone Co. v. FCC, 897 F.2d 1164, 1166 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (Northeast Cellular).
18 WAIT Radio v. FCC, 418 F.2d 1153, 1159 (D.C. Cir. 1969); Northeast Cellular, 897 F.2d at 1166.
19 NetworkIP, LLC v. FCC, 548 F.3d 116, 125-128 (D.C. Cir. 2008); Northeast Cellular, 897 F.2d at 1166.
20 FiberNet, LLC, Petition for Waiver of Section 54.307(c) of the Commission's Rules and Regulations, CC Docket
No. 96-45, Order, 19 FCC Rcd 8202, 8204, para. 5 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2004).
21 Id.
22 See Allied Wireless Petition at 4; Georgia RSA #8 Petition at 4.
23 See Allied Wireless Petition, Ex. 1 at 5; Georgia RSA #8 Petition, Ex. 1 at 5.
24 See Letter from Jeffrey C. Humiston, Vice President and General Counsel, Allied Wireless, to Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary, FCC, WC Docket No. 08-71, at 7 (filed Feb. 4, 2011) (Petitioners' Feb. 4 ex parte) (citing Federal-State
Joint Board on Universal Service, Grande Communications, Inc. Petition for Waiver of Sections 54.307 and 54.314
of the Commission's Rules and Regulations
, CC Docket No. 96-45, Order, 19 FCC Rcd 15580, 15585, para. 11
(Wireline Comp. Bur. 2004)).
25 See Petition for Waiver of Universal Service High-Cost Filing Deadlines, Federal-State Joint Board on Universal
Service, Centennial USVI Operations Corp. Petition for Waiver of Section 54.314(d)(1) of the Commission's Rules
,
3

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-656

line count filings within 60 days of April 26, 2010. In this context, we find that petitioners' claim does
not meet the high standard required for a waiver.
7.
Although we find that petitioners have not demonstrated good cause to allow them to
receive high-cost support retroactively to April 26, 2010, we conclude that, for the purposes of
distributing federal high-cost support, the effective date of petitioners' ETC designations in Georgia is
October 14, 2010, the release date of the Georgia PSC's orders. Petitioners contend that if their
designations are considered effective April 26, 2010 (as the Georgia PSC declared), "strict application of
the filing deadline rules . . . would lead to the absurd result of [petitioners] receiving less support than
they would have received if the Georgia PSC had not granted nunc pro tunc designation."26 We note that
all required line counts and certifications were filed within 60 days of October 14, 2010.27 We conclude
that considering petitioners' designations as effective as of October 14, 2010 is consistent with the
purpose of the 60-day rule and with our precedent.28 Accordingly, we direct USAC to provide all high-
cost support to which petitioners are otherwise entitled in Georgia retroactively to October 14, 2010, and
to offset against this amount any high-cost support received by petitioners in Georgia for periods prior to
that date.
8.
We remind carriers that it is their responsibility to ensure that their complete and accurate
filings are timely received in the appropriate places, regardless of the time and method of their filings.
Carriers now have many options by which to file, including U.S. Mail, other sources of commercial
delivery, facsimile, and electronic mail (e-mail). For instance, any carrier receiving funding from the
high-cost universal support mechanism may file timely via email at
hcfilings@HCLI.universalservice.org. Additional information regarding USAC's filing procedures and
deadlines can be found at http://www.usac.org/hc/tools/filing-tool/default.aspx. We encourage carriers to
use any and all methods they deem necessary to ensure that their filings are timely received.

IV.

ORDERING CLAUSES

9.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to sections 1, 4(i), 5(c), 201, and 254 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 155(c), 201, and 254, and sections
0.91, 0.291, and 1.3 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 0.91, 0.291, and 1.3, that this order IS
ADOPTED.
10.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to authority delegated under sections 0.91, 0.291,
1.3 and 54.722(a) of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 0.91, 0.291, 1.3 and 54.722(a), that the
petition for waiver of sections 54.307(d), 54.313, and 54.314 of the Commission's rules filed by Allied
Wireless Communications Corporation IS DENIED.
11.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to authority delegated under sections 0.91, 0.291,
1.3 and 54.722(a) of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 0.91, 0.291, 1.3 and 54.722(a), that the
petition for waiver of sections 54.307(d), 54.313, and 54.314 of the Commission's rules filed by Georgia
RSA #8 Partnership IS DENIED.





WC Docket No. 08-71, CC Docket No. 96-45, 24 FCC Rcd 4821, 4825, para. 9 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2009)
(Centennial Order) (citing ETC Designation Order, 20 FCC Rcd at 6411, para. 92).
26 Petitioners' Feb. 4 ex parte at 5.
27 See id.
28 See Centennial Order, 24 FCC Rcd at 4825, para. 10 (concluding that for the purposes of distributing high-cost
support, the effective date of the carrier's designation is the release date of the state commission's order,
notwithstanding the state commission's "attempt[] to retroactively designate" the carrier as an ETC).
4

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-656

12.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that USAC SHALL CONSIDER, for the purposes of
providing high-cost universal service support, the effective date of the designations of Allied Wireless
Communications Corporation and Georgia RSA #8 Partnership as eligible telecommunications carriers to
be October 14, 2010.
13.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to section 1.102(b)(1) of the Commission's
rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.102(b)(1), this order SHALL BE EFFECTIVE upon release.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Sharon E. Gillett
Chief
Wireline Competition Bureau
5

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