FCC Appeals and Motions for Reconsideration
Appeals of decisions of Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Regulatory Fee Contributors
Not every assessment of a federal regulatory fee levied on telecommunications provider is erroneous under the Federal Communications Act or an over reach of Congress’ mandate that such fees be fair and reasonable contributions toward Universal Service and Title II programs. However, there are instances where assessments do not accurately reflect a contributor’s services revenues under the Commission’s Rules, and more importantly, the law.
Maldonado Law represents telecommunications clients on the appeals to the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau, and if necessary motions for reconsideration to the Commission itself, and thereafter the courts of appeal. These appeals include appeal of USAC determinations of Contributor status, USAC Audit determinations, and erroneous determinations of government contracted Title II Program Administrators (TRS, LNP and NANPA). Appeals drafted on behalf of our clients are briefed with the anticipation of eventual appellate court review. The cornerstone of any appeal is the contributor’s general telecommunications revenue report (FCC 499-A reports) in combination with findings and interpretations by USAC or Title II Administrator contractors. Upon assessment, final invoice or determination rendered by USAC or the Title II Administrators, a Contributor has a very limited window to initiate an appeal to the Wireline Competition Bureau. This period is 60 days. The Bureau then has ninety (90) days take action in response to an appeal for review of an USAC decision, but may extend the time an additional ninety (90) days. If no action is taken by that time, petition to the Commission for intervention. In the case of contracted Title II Administrators, Commission Rules do not specify a process for appealing their interpretations of FCC rules and policies or decisions issued by them in regard to a fee liability. The Contributor’s FCC 499-A report, and the information and data submitted by the contributor on it, becomes the focal point of the appeal of any mis-assessed TRS, LNP or NANPA fees.
Motions for Commission or Bureau Reconsideration
Sometimes the FCC makes a determination of law and facts that does not fit the situation or the law. This may be in regard to an individual licensee, as in the case of Enforcement Actions and the assessment of a fine or the revocation of a license or permit, or may be in the instance of a denial of an appeal or interpretation of the FCA. Maldonado Law researches, prepares and files Motions for Reconsideration for its clients. These Motions can be important for two reasons. First, the motion forces the Commission or Bureau to state why the points raised that were not considered before are either correct or do not apply. Often when the FCC simply does not wish to address the issues raised, the FCC merely alleges that the Petitioner is mistaken with little explanation. A Motion for Reconsideration presses the Commission or Bureau to further state the basis of their factual findings or interpretation of the law or Rules. This better flushes out further appealable issues that the Commission’s determinations were in error or a possible overreach. Second, a Motion for Reconsideration halts the enforcement of a determination, such as fines, denials or revocations, until after the Motion has been answered. This allows the client time to better prepare for relief by the courts if further denied relief from the Commission, or prepare for contingencies.
Contact Maldonado Law to schedule a confidential initial consultation about our FCC USAC appeals or motions for reconsideration and learn about our rates and experience.
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