Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

Comment Sought on Data Specifications for Collecting Study Area Bounda

Download Options

Released: June 1, 2012

PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 12-868

Release Date: June 1, 2012

COMMENT SOUGHT ON DATA SPECIFICATIONS FOR COLLECTING STUDY AREA

BOUNDARIES

WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337

Comment Date: July 2, 2012
Reply Comment Date: July 17, 2012

1.
In this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) proposes data
specifications for collecting study area boundaries for purposes of implementing various reforms adopted
as part of the USF/ICC Transformation Order and seeks comment on this proposal. In the USF/ICC
Transformation Order
, the Commission comprehensively reformed universal service funding for high-
cost, rural areas, adopting fiscally responsible, accountable, incentive-based policies to preserve and
advance voice and broadband service.1 As discussed below, confirming the relevant geographic
boundaries is important for implementing several components of those reforms, including: the
Commission’s benchmarking rule; the Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II cost model; and the
elimination of support where an unsubsidized competitor offers voice and broadband service that overlaps
an incumbent carrier’s study area. The Bureau proposes to collect boundary data from all incumbent
local exchange carriers (LECs) using the same data specifications and seeks comment on this proposal.2
After receiving input from the public and interested parties and approval from the Office of Management
and Budget, the Bureau will issue a data request so that it will have a complete and accurate set of study
area boundaries.
2.
Benchmarking Rule. In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission adopted a
benchmarking rule intended to moderate the expenses of rate-of-return carriers with very high costs
compared to their similarly situated peers, while encouraging other rate-of-return carriers to advance
broadband deployment.3 On April 25, 2012, the Bureau adopted the methodology for implementing this


1 See Connect America Fund; A National Broadband Plan for Our Future; Establishing Just and Reasonable Rates
for Local Exchange Carriers; High-Cost Universal Service Support; Developing a Unified Intercarrier
Compensation Regime; Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service; Lifeline and Link-Up; Universal Service
Reform—Mobility Fund
; WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 07-135, 05-337, 03-109, CC Docket Nos. 01-92, 96-45, GN
Docket No. 09-51, WT Docket No. 10-208, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC
17663 (2011) (USF/ICC Transformation Order and FNPRM); pets. for review pending sub nom. In re: FCC 11-161,
No. 11-9900 (10th Cir. filed Dec. 8, 2011).
2 The attached data specifications require incumbent LECs to submit a data record for each exchange in a study area.
The Bureau will aggregate the exchange areas, if there is more than one, to the study area. See infra Appendix A.
3 USF/ICC Transformation Order and FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 17741-47, paras. 210-26.

rule, which establishes limits on recovery of capital costs and operating expenses for high-cost loop
support (HCLS).4 The methodology uses quantile regression analyses to generate a capital expense limit
and an operating expense limit for each rate-of-return cost company study area. The geographic
independent variables used in the regressions were rolled up to the study area using Tele Atlas wire center
boundaries, which is a widely-used commercially available comprehensive source for this information.5
To address parties’ concerns about the accuracy of this data set in the near term, the Bureau provided a
streamlined, expedited waiver process for carriers affected by the benchmarks to correct any errors in
their study area boundaries. The Bureau also stated it would issue a Public Notice to initiate the process
of collecting study area boundaries directly from all rate-of-return carriers to correct any remaining
inaccuracies.6 Through this Public Notice, the Bureau is now initiating that process.
3.
CAF Phase II Model. In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission adopted a
framework for providing ongoing support in areas served by price cap carriers using a combination of
competitive bidding and a new forward-looking cost model.7 A model will be used to “identify at a
granular level the areas where support will be available” and to determine the amount annual support
available to each price cap carrier that accepts a “commitment to offer voice across its service territory
within a state and broadband service to supported locations within that service territory.”8 Support will be
awarded through a competitive bidding mechanism in territories for which price cap LECs declines to
make that commitment. The model also will be used to identify areas “that should receive funding
specifically set aside for remote and extremely high-cost areas.”9 Accurate service area boundaries will
be necessary in order to implement these CAF II reforms.10


4 Connect America Fund; High-Cost Universal Service Support; WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337, Order, DA 12-646
(rel. Apr. 25, 2012) (HCLS Benchmarks Implementation Order).
5 TomTom Telecommunications Suite 2011.09 (formerly Tele Atlas North America), Wire Center Premium, for
wire center boundary and central office location information. “Wire center boundary” typically should be
equivalent to “exchange boundary,” because the terms are often used to mean the same thing. Sometimes, however,
the wire center in an exchange is thought of as the central office or switch itself, and an exchange may consist of
more than one central office. The data specification, therefore, refers to exchanges. See infra Appendix A.
6 HCLS Benchmarks Implementation Order, DA 12-646, at para 27.
7 See USF/ICC Transformation Order and FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 17725-41, paras. 156-209. The Commission
initiated the process of developing and delegated to the Bureau the responsibility of developing “a robust cost model
for the Connect America Fund to accurately estimate the cost of a modern voice and broadband capable network.”
Id. at 17735, para. 184.
8 Id. at 17727, para. 166.
9 Id. at 17728, para. 167.
10 On December 15, 2011, the Bureau released a Public Notice requesting interested parties to submit proposed
forward-looking cost models, Request for Connect America Fund Cost Models, Public Notice, WC Docket Nos. 10-
90 and 05-337, 26 FCC Rcd 16836 (2011). In response, parties submitted two models into the record. One model,
submitted by the ABC Coalition, estimates the cost of providing service to the entire nation. This submission
updated the ABC Coalition’s prior proposal for a forward-looking model, which had been submitted prior to the
release of the USF/ICC Transformation Order. Letter from Robert W. Quinn, Jr., AT&T, Steve Davis,
CenturyLink, Michael T. Skrivan, FairPoint, Kathleen Q. Abernathy, Frontier, Kathleen Grillo, Verizon, and
Michael D. Rhoda, Windstream, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., Attach. 1 at 13
(filed July 29, 2011) (ABC Plan). The ABC Coalition model was submitted pursuant to a protective order adopted
(continued…)
2

4.
Overlap by Unsubsidized Competitors. In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the
Commission adopted a rule to phase out universal service support where an unsubsidized competitor – or
a combination of unsubsidized competitors – offers voice and broadband service throughout 100 percent
of an incumbent’s study area.11 In the USF/ICC Transformation FNPRM, the Commission sought
comment on a process to reduce support where such an unsubsidized competitor offers voice and
broadband service to a substantial majority, but not 100 percent of the study area.12
5.
Accurate study area and exchange boundaries are important for implementing each of
these reforms. As the Commission previously explained, Tele Atlas data may not represent the actual
LEC footprint in all instances.13 In particular, some rate-of-return carriers have argued that the Tele Atlas
boundaries used in the benchmark methodology misstate the size of their study areas,14 and, as discussed
above, the Bureau provided an expedited waiver process for carriers affected by the HCLS benchmarks to
correct errors on an ad hoc basis.15 Relying on individual carriers to identify inaccurate boundaries in
particular instances provides only an interim solution, however. Accordingly, we now seek comment on a
systematic way to confirm the service territories of all incumbent LECs.
6.
We propose to collect study area and exchange boundaries from all incumbent LECs and
seek comment on the attached data specifications for submitting boundary information in a manner and
format that Bureau staff can readily evaluate and process. These specifications are based on the template
for filing study area maps that the Bureau provided for use by rate-of-return carriers seeking expedited
waivers related to HCLS benchmarks.16 Although we permitted petitioners seeking expedited waivers of
the new benchmark rule to choose to submit boundary information in other formats, we now propose
requiring all incumbent LECs to submit study area maps in esri compatible shapefile format as set forth in
Appendix A.17 As the Bureau previously explained, information submitted in other formats may require


(Continued from the previous page)
by the Bureau. See Connect America Fund, High-Cost Universal Service Support, WC Docket Nos. 10-90 and 05-
337, Second Supplemental Protective Order, 27 FCC Rcd 1503 (2012). The second model, submitted by ACS,
estimates the cost of serving Alaska only. Comments of Alaska Communications Systems Group, Inc., WC Docket
Nos. 10-90 and 05-337 (filed Feb. 1, 2012); Connect America Fund, High-Cost Universal Service Support, WC
Docket Nos. 10-90 and 05-337, Second Protective Order, 27 FCC Rcd 1494 (2012). The nationwide model
submitted by the ABC Coalition uses Tele Atlas boundaries to identify the wire center to which each end-user
location should be connected as part of the cost calculation.
11 See USF/ICC Transformation Order and FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 17767, para. 281-84.
12 See id. at 18056-59, paras. 1061-77. Specifically, the Commission sought comment on a proposed methodology
for determining the extent of overlap, a process for preliminary determinations of such overlap, a process for the
affected eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) to challenge the accuracy of the purported overlap, with input
from the relevant state commission and the public, and how to adjust support levels in situations with less than 100
percent overlap. Id. at 18056, para. 1061.
13 See USF/ICC Transformation Order and FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 18057, para. 1066.
14 See, e.g., Letter from Jerry Reisenauer, West River Cooperative Telephone Co., to Marlene H. Dortch, FCC
(dated Apr. 10, 2012).
15 See supra at para. 2.
16 See HCLS Benchmarks Implementation Order, DA 12-646, at App. C.
17 See infra Appendix A.
3

additional processing that could introduce new errors and/or delay.18 For example, if carriers file hard-
copy maps, those would need to be rectified (stretched) to have a spatial reference, and this could cause
spatial errors. Moreover, Bureau staff would need to digitize such maps. On screen digitizing is done by
“tracing” which can lead to errors in accuracy (undershoots and overshoots). In addition, digitized data
needs to be post-processed by adding attribute data manually. These errors can compound. That is, errors
in the original map that are magnified during rectification may lead to further digitizing errors. Finally,
digitizing is labor intensive. It could take Bureau staff substantially longer to digitize hard copy maps
than to process shapefiles. We seek comment on our proposal to require all incumbent LECs to submit
study area maps in esri compatible shapefile format.19 Commenters proposing that we permit alternative
formats should address the data processing issues discussed above.
7.
After the Bureau receives boundaries, we propose to incorporate the data filed into one
nationwide map and, in the process of doing so, identify any overlaps and voids.20 We propose to adopt a
process to resolve any overlap issues to accurately reflect each study area’s boundaries. We seek
comment on comparing the submitted data to state maps where available (whether developed by the state
public utility commission, state carrier association, or other sources). To the extent there are apparent
conflicts in various data sources, we propose in the first instance to seek input from the relevant state
public utility commission regarding the location of the relevant boundary. To the extent a state
commission does not provide any input, are there other entities, such as state telecommunications
associations and state geographic information systems (GIS) agencies, that could also provide valuable
assistance in resolving any boundary issues? We propose to determine which void areas are populated
using Census data and to determine which carrier, if any, serves these areas. We propose to publish our
determinations in this regard, and provide a period of public comment for the relevant carriers to
challenge any boundary decisions. We seek comment on this proposal.
8.
We also seek comment on a voluntary process for state commissions to resolve overlap
claims or otherwise assist carriers in their states in submitting boundaries for all carriers in the state. State
commissions are likely to have access to information that could resolve conflicting boundary claims
between adjoining companies. State commissions generally are the entities that establish incumbent
LECs’ service areas. Many state commissions and/or state telecommunications associations have
published maps showing the boundaries. Some states already may have digitized maps of service
territories. State involvement could substantially reduce the burden to both the industry and the
Commission. If a state commission assists incumbent carriers in their state by collecting mapping data
and resolving conflicts, could it certify the accuracy of the resulting boundaries to the Commission in
addition to carrier certifications? If we were to establish such a voluntary process, how many states
would be interested in performing this function? Should we establish a deadline by which any state
commission would notify the Commission of its intention to do so, and if so, what should that deadline
be? What time frame would be reasonable for states to process the requisite information and resolve any
conflicts? Would it be beneficial for the state to certify to this Commission that boundaries submitted by
the incumbent LECs within its jurisdiction are accurate, to supplement any certification from the
individual submitting carriers? We encourage input from state commissions on these issues, and on how


18 See HCLS Benchmarks Implementation Order, DA 12-646, at para. 30.
19 Rather than requiring hand-delivery of the shapefiles as set forth in Appendix C of the HCLS Benchmarks
Implementation Order
, the Commission will provide a secure web upload interface.
20 For the purposes of this proceeding, we define voids as populated areas that are not included in any incumbent
LEC study area.
4

we could develop a workable process. To the extent parties suggest alternative mechanisms for resolving
any overlap issues, to the extent reported information conflicts, they should provide a detailed explanation
of how such a process would be implemented.
9.
Filing Requirements. Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47
CFR §§ 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates
indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic
Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR
24121 (1998).
§
Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
§
Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each
filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding,
filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-
class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
§
All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary
must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325,
Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries
must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be
disposed of before entering the building.
§
Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority
Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
§
U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
10.
People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with
disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call
the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).
11.
The proceeding this Notice initiates shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding
in accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules.21 Persons making ex parte presentations must file a
copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two
business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies).
Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation
must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the
presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments


21 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200 et seq.
5

already reflected in the presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the
presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or
other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be
found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission
staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed
consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has
made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing
oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment
filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt,
searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex
parte
rules.
12.
For further information, please contact Katie King, Telecommunications Access Policy
Division, Wireline Competition Division at (202) 418-7491 or TTY (202) 418-0484.
13.
Paperwork Reduction Act. This Public Notice contains proposed new information
collection requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens,
invites the general public and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to comment on the
information collection requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction
Act of 1995, Public Law No. 104-13.PRA. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief
Act of 2002,22 we seek specific comment on how we might “further reduce the information collection
burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.”23
14.
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of
1980 (RFA),24 the Commission has prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the
possible significant economic impact on small entities of the policies and rules proposed in this Public
Notice. The analysis is found in Appendix B. We request written public comment on the analysis.
Comments must be filed in accordance with the same deadlines as comments filed in response to the
Public Notice and must have a separate and distinct heading designating them as responses to the IRFA.
The Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, will send
a copy of this Public Notice, including the IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small
Business Administration.


22 Pub. L. No. 107-198.
23 44 U.S.C. § 3506(c)(4).
24 See 5 U.S.C. § 603.
6

APPENDIX A

Specification for Study Area Boundary Submission

I.

General

Incumbent local exchange carriers (LECs) must submit study area and wire center boundaries.1
Boundaries must be submitted in esri compatible shapefile format such that each shapefile represents a
single study area. The shapefile must contain one data record for each exchange that constitutes the study
area. Each exchange should be represented as a closed, non-overlapping polygon with the associated
feature attributes described below. Submitted boundaries must be accompanied by metadata or a plain
text “readme” file containing the information listed below.
Since shapefiles typically consist of 3 to 9 individual files, the shapefile for the study area should be
submitted as a single, zipped file containing all the component files. The shapefile and encapsulating zip
file names must contain the company name and the 6-digit study area code. Shapefile templates are
available at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/rate-return-resources.
Note that submitted boundaries are public data and may be used in published FCC documents and
webpages.

II.

Shapefile

A shapefile template is available at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/rate-return-resources. Submitted
shapefiles must:
A. contain one closed, non-overlapping polygon for each exchange in the study area that represents
the area served from that exchange
B. have associated with each exchange polygon the following identifying feature attributes:
1. OCN – NECA-assigned operating company number as in the LERG
2. Company Name
3. Exchange Name
4. Acquired Exchange subject to section 54.305 of the Commission’s rules2
5. CLLI Code(s) associated with the exchange
6. Study Area Code


1 The Commission will be using these data as a general map base for universal service and other landscape level
analysis for which these data are useful. For the purposes of this collection, boundary does not refer to an
architectural or engineering drawing, meets and bounds descriptions or other surveyed body of work. Boundary
does refer to the general extent of the carrier’s exchange which can be identified on a base map scale of 1:24,000. If
appropriate, the boundary should be consistent with or snapped to existing political, geographic or physical features
(e.g. county, road, river etc) at or below 1:24,000. 1:24K national mapping standards are available at
http://egsc.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/factsheets/fs17199.html.
2 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.305; see also HCLS Benchmarks Implementation Order, DA 12-646, at App. A, n.2. Rural
carriers that incorporate acquired exchanges into an existing study area provide NECA with separate cost data for
the acquired portions of the study area. Submitted shapefiles must include separate polygons for portions of
exchanges subject to section 54.305.
7

7. State
8. FRN (please use the FRN used for the 477 filing in the state)
C. have an assigned projection w/accompanying .prj file
D. use unprojected (geographic) WGS84 geographic coordinate system
E. have a minimum horizontal accuracy of +/- 40 feet or less, conforming to 1:24K national
mapping standards
F. be submitted as a WinZip archive with a name containing the company name and study area code
(e.g., CompanyName_123456.zip).

III.

Cover Page Information

In addition to the shapefile data described above, we also will collect electronically the following
information:
A. Contact person name
B. Contact person address
C. Contact person phone number
D. Contact person email address
E. Date created/revised
F. Methodology – process steps to create the data
G. Certifying official name
H. Certifying official address
I.
Certifying official phone number
J. Certifying official email address
8

APPENDIX B

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),1 the Commission
has prepared this Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic
impact on a substantial number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed in this Public Notice.
Written comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA
and must be filed by the deadlines for comments on the Public Notice. The Commission will send a copy
of the Public Notice, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration (SBA).2 In addition, the Public Notice and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published
in the Federal Register.3

A.

Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

2. The Public Notice proposes data specifications for collecting study area boundaries for
purposes of implementing various reforms adopted as part of the USF/ICC Transformation Order and
seeks comment on this proposal. In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission
comprehensively reformed universal service funding for high-cost, rural areas, adopting fiscally
responsible, accountable, incentive-based policies to preserve and advance voice and broadband service.4
As discussed in the Public Notice, confirming the relevant geographic boundaries is important for
implementing several components of those reforms, including: the Commission’s benchmarking rule; the
Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II cost model; and the elimination of support where an unsubsidized
competitor offers voice and broadband service that overlaps an incumbent carrier’s study area. Accurate
study area and exchange boundaries are important for implementing each of these reforms.

B.

Legal Basis

3. The legal basis for any action that may be taken pursuant to the Public Notice is contained in
sections 1, 2, 4(i), 201-205, 214, 218-220, 254, 256, 303(r), and 403 of the Communications Act of 1934,
as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 152, 154(i), 201-205, 214, 218-220, 251, 252, 254, 256, 303(r), and 403,
and sections 0.91, 0l.201(d), 0.291, 1.3 and 1.427 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.91,
0l.201(d), 0.291, 1.3 and 1.4271.


1 See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. §§ 601–612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
2 See 5 U.S.C. § 603(a).
3 See id.
4 See Connect America Fund; A National Broadband Plan for Our Future; Establishing Just and Reasonable Rates
for Local Exchange Carriers; High-Cost Universal Service Support; Developing a Unified Intercarrier
Compensation Regime; Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service; Lifeline and Link-Up; Universal Service
Reform—Mobility Fund
; WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 07-135, 05-337, 03-109, CC Docket Nos. 01-92, 96-45, GN
Docket No. 09-51, WT Docket No. 10-208, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC
17663 (2011) (USF/ICC Transformation Order and FNPRM); pets. for review pending sub nom. In re: FCC 11-161,
No. 11-9900 (10th Cir. filed Dec. 8, 2011).
9

C.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed
Rules Will Apply

4. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the
number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules, if adopted.5 The RFA generally
defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small
organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.”6 In addition, the term “small business” has the
same meaning as the term “small-business concern” under the Small Business Act.7 A small-business
concern” is one which: (1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of
operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA.8
5.

Small

Businesses. Nationwide, there are a total of approximately 27.5 million small
businesses, according to the SBA.9
6.

Wired Telecommunications Carriers

. The SBA has developed a small business size
standard for Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which consists of all such companies having 1,500 or
fewer employees.10 According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were 3,188 firms in this category,
total, that operated for the entire year.11 Of this total, 3144 firms had employment of 999 or fewer
employees, and 44 firms had employment of 1000 employees or more.12 Thus, under this size standard,
the majority of firms can be considered small.
7.

Local Exchange Carriers (LECs)

. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a
size standard for small businesses specifically applicable to local exchange services. The closest
applicable size standard under SBA rules is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size
standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.13 According to Commission data,


5 See 5 U.S.C. § 603(b)(3).
6 See 5 U.S.C. § 601(6).
7 See 5 U.S.C. § 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of “small-business concern” in the Small Business
Act, 15 U.S.C. § 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies “unless an
agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity
for public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the
agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register.”
8 See 15 U.S.C. § 632.
9 See SBA, Office of Advocacy, “Frequently Asked Questions,” http://www.sba.gov/advo/stats/sbfaq.pdf (accessed
Dec. 2010).
10 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
11 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Subject Series: Information, Table 5, “Establishment and Firm
Size: Employment Size of Firms for the United States: 2007 NAICS Code 517110” (issued Nov. 2010).
12 See id.
13 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
10

1,307 carriers reported that they were incumbent local exchange service providers.14 Of these 1,307
carriers, an estimated 1,006 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 301 have more than 1,500 employees.15
Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers of local exchange service are small entities
that may be affected by the rules and policies proposed in the Public Notice.
8.

Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (incumbent LECs)

. Neither the Commission nor the
SBA has developed a size standard for small businesses specifically applicable to incumbent local
exchange services. The closest applicable size standard under SBA rules is for Wired
Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer
employees.16 According to Commission data, 1,307 carriers reported that they were incumbent local
exchange service providers.17 Of these 1,307 carriers, an estimated 1,006 have 1,500 or fewer employees
and 301 have more than 1,500 employees.18 Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers
of incumbent local exchange service are small businesses that may be affected by rules adopted pursuant
to the Public Notice.

D.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance
Requirements for Small Entities

9. In the Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) proposes to collect study
area and exchange boundaries from all incumbent local exchange carriers (LECs) and seeks comment on
data specifications for submitting boundary information in a manner and format that Bureau staff can
readily evaluate and process. Specifically, the Bureau proposes requiring all incumbent LECs to submit
study area maps in esri compatible shapefile format as set forth in Appendix A of the Public Notice.19
This requirement would affect all incumbent LECs, including small entities, and may include new
administrative processes. We seek comment on the reporting, recordkeeping and compliance
requirements that may apply to all incumbent LECs, including small entities. We seek comment on any
costs and burdens on small entities associated with the proposed rules including data quantifying the
extent of those costs or burdens.

E.

Steps Taken to Minimize the Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and
Significant Alternatives Considered

10. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, specifically small business,
alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following
four alternatives (among others): “(1) the establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements
or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification,
consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements under the rules for such small


14 See Trends in Telephone Service, Federal Communications Commission, Wireline Competition Bureau, Industry
Analysis and Technology Division at Table 5.3 (Sept. 2010) (Trends in Telephone Service).
15 See id.
16 See 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
17 See Trends in Telephone Service at Table 5.3.
18 See id.
19 See supra Appendix A.
11

entities; (3) the use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of
the rule, or any part thereof, for such small entities.”20
11. The Public Notice seeks comment from all interested parties. The Commission is aware that
the proposals under consideration may impact small entities. Small entities are encouraged to bring to the
Commission’s attention any specific concerns they may have with the proposals outlined in the Public
Notice.
12. The Commission expects to consider the economic impact on small entities, as identified in
comments filed in response to the Public Notice, in reaching its final conclusions and taking action in this
proceeding. The reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements in the Public Notice could
have an impact on both small and large entities. The Commission believes that any impact of such
requirements is outweighed by the accompanying public benefits. Further, these requirements are
necessary to ensure that the statutory goals of Section 254 of the Act are met without waste, fraud, or
abuse.
13. In the Public Notice, the Bureau seeks comment on a voluntary process for state commissions
to assist carriers in their states in submitting boundaries for all carriers in the state. State commissions
generally are the entities that establish incumbent LECs’ service areas. Many state commissions and/or
state telecommunications associations have published maps showing the boundaries. Some states already
may have digitized maps of service territories. Although data is requested from the industry generally,
small carriers may be differently affected by the proposed data collection. State involvement could
substantially reduce the burden to both the industry and the Commission.

F. Federal Rules that May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict with the Proposed Rule

s
14. None.


20 5 U.S.C. § 603(c)(1)–(c)(4).
12

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.