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Farmers Telephone Company, Riceville, Iowa

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Released: March 21, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-393

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of

Connect America Fund
WC Docket No. 10-90


Adopted: March 21, 2014

Released: March 21, 2014

Deadline to Identify New Locations: April 7, 2014

By the Deputy Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau:
In this Order on Reconsideration, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) grants a
petition for partial reconsideration filed by Farmers Telephone Company of Riceville, Iowa (Farmers
Telephone). 1 As a result, five census blocks previously deemed as unserved in the Connect America
Phase I challenge process will now be treated as served.
As part of the Phase I challenge process, Farmers Telephone challenged five census
blocks elected to by Windstream.2 In the Phase I Challenge Resolution Order, the Bureau dismissed
Farmers Telephone’s challenge on the grounds that Farmers Telephone is a rate-of-return carrier.3 The
Bureau noted that for census blocks split between the incumbent study areas of a rate-of-return carrier and
a price cap carrier, the rate-of-return carrier need not file a challenge in order to prevent overbuilding of
the locations in its territory; however, the price cap carrier could still deploy to locations in its portion of
the split census block.4 Therefore, the Bureau dismissed Farmers Telephone’s challenge as moot.5
Farmers Telephone filed a petition for reconsideration of the Phase I Challenge
Resolution Order, requesting that the Bureau reconsider its dismissal of Farmers Telephone’s challenge.6
In its petition, Farmers Telephone clarifies that the broadband service in the disputed blocks is provided
throughout the census block, not just within Farmers Telephone’s incumbent study area. The portions of
the census blocks in Windstream’s incumbent study area are served by Farmers Telephone’s competitive
affiliate, OmniTel.7

1 Petition for Partial Reconsideration of Farmers Telephone Company of Riceville, Iowa and Omnitel
Communications, Inc., WC Docket No. 10-90 (filed Feb. 7, 2014) (Farmers Telephone Petition); see 47 C.F.R. §
2 Letter from Ronald J. Laudner, President & CEO, Farmers Telephone, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal
Communications Commission, WC Docket No. 10-90 (filed Sept. 27, 2013).
3 Connect America Fund, WC Docket No. 10-90, Order, 29 FCC Rcd 181, 208, paras. 131-33 (Wireline Comp. Bur.
2014) (Phase I Challenge Resolution Order).
4 Id. at 208, paras. 132-33.
5 Id. at 208, para. 133.
6 Farmers Telephone Petition at 1.
7 Id. at 3-4.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-393

We grant Farmers Telephone’s petition for reconsideration.8 To the extent that the
information contained in Farmers Telephone’s petition constitutes facts or arguments not previously
presented, we find that consideration of this information is in the public interest. 9 By considering these
facts and granting Farmers Telephone’s petition, we will promote the efficient use of universal service
funds by ensuring those funds are not used to overbuild existing broadband networks.
The information presented justifies reconsideration of the Bureau’s prior decision. At the
time of the Phase I Challenge Resolution Order, the Bureau was unaware that Farmers Telephone’s
affiliate, OmniTel, served the portions of the disputed census blocks that fell within Windstream’s
incumbent study area.10 To deem such census blocks as unserved would be inconsistent with how the
Bureau treated similarly situated areas in the Phase I Challenge Resolution Order. Therefore, we
reconsider the Bureau’s prior decision regarding the disputed blocks. The five challenged census blocks
will be treated as served for the purposes of Connect America Phase I.
Windstream had elected to serve 27 locations in the five disputed census blocks. Phase I
incremental support for those locations totaled $19,800. Windstream may, if it chooses, elect to receive
all or a portion of this support by identifying an appropriate number of replacement locations in
previously authorized blocks. Windstream is given 15 days from the release of this Order to make such
an election and identify new locations.11


IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1, 4(i), 4(j), 5, 214, 254,
and 405 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and section 706 of the Telecommunications
Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 154(i), 154(j), 155, 214, 254, 405, 1302, sections 0.91, 0.291, and 1.106
of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.91, 0.291, 1.106, and the authority delegated to the Wireline
Competition Bureau by the Commission in the Phase I Order, 28 FCC Rcd 7766 (2013), that the petition
for partial reconsideration filed by the Farmers Telephone Company of Riceville, Iowa, IS GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to section 1.102(b)(1) of the Commission’s rules,
47 C.F.R. § 1.102(b)(1), that this Order on Reconsideration SHALL BE EFFECTIVE upon release.
Carol E. Mattey
Deputy Chief
Wireline Competition Bureau

8 Windstream did not file a response to Farmers Telephone’s petition for reconsideration.
9 The census blocks at issue are 191315602001019, 191315602001027, 191315602004140, 191315602004141, and
10 47 C.F.R. § 1.106(c)(2).
11 In the event no response is received from Windstream by the end of the 15-day period, it will be presumed that
Windstream declines the support.

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