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Wauneta Telephone Company

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Released: September 13, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1492

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Connect America Fund
)
WC Docket No. 10-90
)
High-Cost Universal Service Support
)
WC Docket No. 05-337

ORDER

Adopted: September 13, 2012

Released: September 13, 2012

By the Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau:
1.
In this order, we grant the request of Wauneta Telephone Company (Wauneta) for
expedited waiver to correct its study area boundaries that were used in the regression analysis that
established “benchmarks” for high-cost loop support (HCLS).1 In the HCLS Benchmarks Implementation
Order
,2 the Bureau adopted the methodology for establishing limits on reimbursable capital costs and
operating expenses (capex and opex, respectively) to implement the benchmarking rule that the
Commission adopted in the USF/ICC Transformation Order.3
2.
The benchmarking methodology uses quantile regression analyses to generate a capex
limit and an opex 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.4 The Bureau
provided a streamlined, expedited waiver process for carriers affected by the benchmarks to correct any
errors in their study area boundaries by providing accurate boundary information in a manner and format
that Bureau staff can readily evaluate and process to determine whether there are special circumstances
(i.e., inaccurate boundaries) supporting a waiver.5 To help potential petitioners file information


1 See Letter from Stacey Brigham, TCA, Agent for Wauneta Telephone Company, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
FCC, WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337 (dated Aug. 23, 2012) (Wauneta Petition).
2 Connect America Fund, High-Cost Universal Service Support, WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337, Order, 27 FCC
Rcd 4235 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2012) (HCLS Benchmarks Implementation Order).
3 See Connect America Fund et al., WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 26 FCC 17663, 17741-47, paras. 210-26 (2011) (USF/ICC Transformation Order); pets. for review
pending sub nom. In re: FCC 11-161
, No. 11-9900 (10th Cir. filed Dec. 8, 2011).
4 TomTom Telecommunications Suite 2011.09 (formerly Tele Atlas North America), Wire Center Premium, for
wire center boundary and central office location information.
5 See HCLS Benchmarks Implementation Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 4246-47, paras. 27, 29. Generally, the
Commission’s rules may be waived if good cause is shown. 47 C.F.R. § 1.3. The Commission may exercise its
discretion to waive a rule where the particular facts make strict compliance inconsistent with the public interest.
Northeast Cellular Telephone Co. v. FCC, 897 F.2d 1164, 1166 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (Northeast Cellular). In addition,
the Commission may take into account considerations of hardship, equity, or more effective implementation of
overall policy on an individual basis. WAIT Radio v. FCC, 418 F.2d 1153, 1159 (D.C. Cir. 1969); Northeast
Cellular
, 897 F.2d at 1166. 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. NetworkIP, LLC v.
FCC
, 548 F.3d 116, 125-128 (D.C. Cir. 2008); Northeast Cellular, 897 F.2d at 1166.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1492

efficiently, accurately, and in a manner that will permit the Bureau to evaluate and process the
information expeditiously, the Bureau set forth a template for filing study area maps.6
3.
On August 23, 2012, Wauneta provided the Bureau with wire center boundaries
consistent with the data specifications for submitting boundary information set forth in Appendix C of the
HCLS Benchmarks Implementation Order.7 As requested, the information submitted included a
certification by an officer of the company under penalty of perjury that the information provided
accurately portrays Wauneta’s study area.8
4.
Pursuant to section 1.3 of the Commission’s rules, we find that special circumstances
warrant waiver of the Commission’s rules to revise the capex and opex benchmarks for Wauneta that
were listed in Appendix B of the HCLS Benchmarks Implementation Order.9 Using the corrected
boundary information, Bureau staff modified the relevant geographic variables and calculated revised
capex and opex benchmarks for Wauneta. We direct the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA)
to use the following revised benchmarks in place of the original benchmarks for calculating HCLS for
Wauneta from July 1, 2012, through December 31, 2012. We note that because Wauneta is limited by the
90th percentile benchmark for its capex costs during this period, it is not eligible for redistributed HCLS.
We also instruct the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to make any necessary support
amount adjustments consistent with the corrected wire center boundary information.

Company

90% Capex

Capex

90% Opex CPL

Opex

Capped?

CPL Estimate

CPL10

Estimate

CPL11

Original
$583.53
$879.07
$1,109.36
$1,118.96 Yes (Capex &
Opex)
Revised
$628.92
$879.07
$1,164.09
$1,118.96 Yes (Capex)
5.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1, 2, 4(i),
201-206, 214, 218-220, 251, 254, and 303(r), and of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and
section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 152, 154(i), 201-206, 214, 218-


6 HCLS Benchmarks Implementation Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 4301-02, App. C.
7 Id. See Wauneta Petition at 1-2.
8 See Wauneta Petition at 2.
9 47 C.F.R. § 1.3; HCLS Benchmarks Implementation Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 4299, App. B. As Wauneta has
provided the required documentation, the Bureau has been able to determine that special circumstances (i.e.,
inaccurate boundaries) support the waiver. See id. at 4274, para. 29. The public interest is served by ensuring
accurate data is used in necessary computations, regardless of the extent to which the level of support is changed.
See id. at 4274, para. 31.
10 The capex and opex cost per loop (CPL) amounts are the same as those published in Appendix B of the HCLS
Benchmarks Implementation Order
, which were based on the annual cost data NECA filed in 2011. NECA recently
filed a schedule of HCLS for all carriers for the six-month period of July 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012, which
reflects voluntary quarterly updates carriers filed pursuant to section 36.612 of the Commission’s rules. See 47
C.F.R. § 36.612; Wireline Competition Bureau Announces Access to High-Cost Loop Support Data Submitted by
NECA
, WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 7135 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2012).
11 See supra note 10.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1492

220, 251, 254, 303(r), 1302, and pursuant to sections 0.91, 0.131,0.201(d), 0.291, 0.331, 1.3, and 1.427 of
the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.91, 0.131, 0.201(d), 0.291, 0.331, 1.3, 1.427, and pursuant to the
delegations of authority in paragraphs 210, 217, 226, and 1404 of the USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26
FCC Rcd 17663 (2011), that the petition for expedited waiver to correct its study area boundaries filed by
Wauneta Telephone Company IS GRANTED, as described herein.
6.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to authority delegated under sections 0.91, 0.291,
and 1.102 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.91, 0.291, 1.102, that this Order SHALL BE
EFFECTIVE upon release.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Julie A. Veach
Chief
Wireline Competition Bureau
3

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