January 19, 2017
On January 17, 2017, Diane Holland of USTelecom and representatives from AT&T, CenturyLink, Fairpoint, Hawaiian Telcom, and Verizon1 met with Peter Saharko, Rodger Woock, and Suzanne Yelen (in person), and Megan Capasso, Alex Johns, Alec MacDonnell, and Cathy Zima (by phone) of the Wireline Competition Bureau. We met to follow up on our prior meeting with bureau staff during which we discussed certain requirements in the Tech Transitions 2nd Report and Order (Order) that incumbent providers seeking automatic grant under section 214 to discontinue a legacy voice service and replace it with a service based on a new technology must meet.2 At that time, we explained how the option for providers to demonstrate compliance with latency and data loss benchmarks described in Appendix B to the Order is not feasible for use with incumbent providers’ managed voice services, and offered to develop alternatives for providers to meet those requirements.
We presented bureau staff with the attached handout describing three additional alternative testing methodologies for providers to measure latency and data loss using metrics that are consistent with the Commission’s performance benchmarks, which are in part based on broadband performance measurement requirements under the Commission’s Measuring Broadband America Program.3 We explained that allowing providers to use their existing internal performance measurement systems or to have flexibility to use lower-cost external options will better facilitate timely transitions to newer, more robust services while maintaining the Commission’s performance standards.
We also discussed the arguments raised in USTelecom’s Opposition4 to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) petition for reconsideration or clarification of the Order, filed on October 12, 2016. We informed bureau staff that we contacted NTIA staff directly, and have met twice with them since their petition was filed. We further noted that we are working with NTIA staff to develop a plan for addressing their concerns without the need for increased regulation, including developing best practices and encouraging more communication, education, and outreach to help mission-critical agencies prepare for transitions, and to help shift focus from preserving and extending support for outdated legacy services to preparedness for the necessary and inevitable transitions to newer, more reliable and robust services and technologies.
Finally, we explained that although we did not file comments opposing the petition for reconsideration of the Order filed on October 11, 2016 by the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA), et al. we do, in fact, oppose the petition. It is plainly unnecessary and outside the scope of the Commission’s intent to establish an “adequate replacement” standard for “substantially similar” network performance and availability.