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CenturyLink 54.314 Waiver Order

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Released: December 3, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1941

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Connect America Fund
)
WC Docket No. 10-90
)
CenturyLink Request for Extension of Time and
)
Petition for Waiver
)

ORDER

Adopted: December 3, 2012


Released: December 3, 2012

By the Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1. In this Order, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) grants a petition filed by
CenturyLink requesting limited waiver of section 54.314 of the Commission’s rules.1 Under section
54.314, for an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) within a state to receive high-cost support, the
state must file a certification with the Commission and the Universal Service Administrative Company
stating that the ETC has used and will use support only for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of
facilities and services for which the support is intended.2 If a state fails to file a timely certification, the
ETC receives reduced levels of support.3 State certifications ordinarily are due annually on October 1 for
ETCs to receive full support in the succeeding year, but this year the deadline for state action was
extended to November 16, 2012.4
2. CenturyLink states that it receives high-cost support for its operations in the state of New
Jersey.5 CenturyLink notes that it filed the necessary documentation with the New Jersey Board of Public
Utilities (NJBPU) that would allow the NJBPU to make its certification under section 54.314.6
According to CenturyLink’s petition, the NJBPU was originally scheduled to make the certification at its
public meeting on November 16.7 However, due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, the NJBPU was
forced to delay its public meeting and did not certify on behalf of CenturyLink until November 20, four


1 CenturyLink Request for Extension of Time and Petition for Waiver, WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337, CC Docket
No. 96-45 (filed Nov. 16, 2012) (CenturyLink Petition).
2 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.314(a). Carriers not subject to state jurisdiction may make the certification themselves. 47
C.F.R. § 54.314(b).
3 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.314(d).
4 47 C.F.R § 54.314(d)(1). See Connect America Fund, ACS Wireless, Inc. Petition for Waiver of Section 54.313(j)
of the Commission’s Rules
, WC Docket No. 10-90, Order, 27 FCC Rcd 11107, 11112, para. 13 (Wireline Comp.
Bur. 2012) (granting states a waiver of section 54.314(d)(1) for 60 days following the release of the order).
5 See CenturyLink Petition at 1.
6 See id. at 2.
7 See id. at 3.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1941

days after the deadline.8 CenturyLink therefore requests that the Bureau extend the deadline for the
NJBPU to file its certification pursuant to section 54.314 and accept its late-filed certification.9
3. Generally, the Commission’s rules may be waived if good cause is shown.10 The
Commission may exercise its discretion to waive a rule where the particular facts make strict compliance
inconsistent with the public interest.11 In addition, the Commission may take into account considerations
of hardship, equity, or more effective implementation of overall policy on an individual basis.12 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.13
4. We grant CenturyLink’s petition for waiver. The unexpected delay of a public meeting due
to the effects of Hurricane Sandy constitutes special circumstances justifying a waiver, and grant of such
a waiver is in the public interest.14 The Bureau therefore waives section 54.314(d)(1) and accepts the
NJBPU’s certification of CenturyLink filed on November 20. The Bureau directs USAC to accept the
NJBPU’s certification and distribute support to CenturyLink in accordance with this Order.

II.

ORDERING CLAUSES

5. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to sections 0.91, 0.291, and 1.3 of the
Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.91, 0.291, 1.3, the Request for Extension of Time and Petition for
Waiver filed by CenturyLink IS GRANTED to the extent described above.
6. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to sections 0.91, 0.291, and 1.3 of the
Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.91, 0.291, 1.3, section 54.314(d)(1) of the Commission’s rules, 47
C.F.R. § 54.314(d)(1), IS WAIVED to the extent described above.


8 See id. at 3-4. See also New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Annual State Certification of Support for Eligible
Telecommunications Carriers Pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 54.314, WC Docket No. 10-90, CC Docket No. 96-45 (filed
Nov. 20, 2012).
9 See CenturyLink Petition at 4.
10 47 C.F.R. § 1.3.
11 Northeast Cellular Telephone Co. v. FCC, 897 F.2d 1164, 1166 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (Northeast Cellular).
12 WAIT Radio v. FCC, 418 F.2d 1153, 1159 (D.C. Cir. 1969); Northeast Cellular, 897 F.2d at 1166.
13 NetworkIP, LLC v. FCC, 548 F.3d 116, 125-128 (D.C. Cir. 2008); Northeast Cellular, 897 F.2d at 1166.
14 See generally Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service et al., CC Docket No. 96-45 et al., Order, 20 FCC
16883 (2005) (granting various forms of relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina); Federal-State Joint Board on
Universal Service, Pine Belt Cellular, Inc. Petition for Waiver of Section 54.313 of the Commission's Rules
, CC
Docket No. 96-45, Order, 21 FCC Rcd 9175 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2006) (waiving certification deadline due to
Hurricane Ivan).
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1941

7. 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
Julie A. Veach
Chief
Wireline Competition Bureau
3

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