47 CFR 54.305 - Sale or transfer of exchanges.

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§ 54.305 Sale or transfer of exchanges.

(a) The provisions of this section shall not be used to determine support for any price cap incumbent local exchange carrier or a rate-of-return carrier, as that term is defined in § 54.5, that is affiliated with a price cap incumbent local exchange carrier.

(b) Beginning January 1, 2012, any carrier subject to the provisions of this paragraph shall receive support pursuant to this paragraph or support based on the actual costs of the acquired exchanges, whichever is less. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, a carrier that acquires telephone exchanges from an unaffiliated carrier shall receive universal service support for the acquired exchanges at the same per-line support levels for which those exchanges were eligible prior to the transfer of the exchanges. If the acquired exchanges are incorporated into an existing rural incumbent local exchange carrier study area, the rural incumbent local exchange carrier shall maintain the costs associated with the acquired exchanges separate from the costs associated with its pre-acquisition study area. The transferred exchanges may be eligible for safety valve support for loop related costs pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section.

(c) A carrier that has entered into a binding agreement to buy or acquire exchanges from an unaffiliated carrier prior to May 7, 1997 will receive universal service support for the newly acquired lines based upon the average cost of all of its lines, both those newly acquired and those it had prior to execution of the sales agreement.

(d) Transferred exchanges in study areas operated by rural telephone companies that are subject to the limitations on loop-related universal service support in paragraph (b) of this section may be eligible for a safety valve loop cost expense adjustment based on the difference between the rural incumbent local exchange carrier's index year expense adjustment and subsequent year loop cost expense adjustments for the acquired exchanges. Safety valve loop cost expense adjustments shall only be available to rural incumbent local exchange carriers that, in the absence of restrictions on high-cost loop support in paragraph (b) of this section, would qualify for high-cost loop support for the acquired exchanges under § 54.1310.

(1) For carriers that buy or acquire telephone exchanges on or after January 10, 2005, from an unaffiliated carrier, the index year expense adjustment for the acquiring carrier's first year of operation shall equal the selling carrier's loop-related expense adjustment for the transferred exchanges for the 12-month period prior to the transfer of the exchanges. At the acquiring carrier's option, the first year of operation for the transferred exchanges, for purposes of calculating safety valve support, shall commence at the beginning of either the first calendar year or the next calendar quarter following the transfer of exchanges. For the first year of operation, a loop cost expense adjustment, using the costs of the acquired exchanges submitted in accordance with §§ 54.1305 and 54.1306, shall be calculated pursuant to § 54.1310 and then compared to the index year expense adjustment. Safety valve support for the first period of operation will then be calculated pursuant to paragraph (d)(3) of this section. The index year expense adjustment for years after the first year of operation shall be determined using cost data for the first year of operation of the transferred exchanges. Such cost data for the first year of operation shall be calculated in accordance with §§ 54.1305, 54.1306, and 54.1310. For each year, ending on the same calendar quarter as the first year of operation, a loop cost expense adjustment, using the loop costs of the acquired exchanges, shall be submitted and calculated pursuant to §§ 54.1305, 54.1306, and 54.1310 and will be compared to the index year expense adjustment. Safety valve support for the second year of operation and thereafter will then be calculated pursuant to paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

(2) For carriers that bought or acquired exchanges from an unaffiliated carrier before January 10, 2005, and are not subject to the exception in paragraph (c) of this section, the index year expense adjustment for acquired exchange(s) shall be equal to the rural incumbent local exchange carrier's high-cost loop expense adjustment for the acquired exchanges calculated for the carrier's first year of operation of the acquired exchange(s). At the carrier's option, the first year of operation of the transferred exchanges shall commence at the beginning of either the first calendar year or the next calendar quarter following the transfer of exchanges. The index year expense adjustment shall be determined using cost data for the acquired exchange(s) submitted in accordance with §§ 54.1305 and 54.1306 and shall be calculated in accordance with § 54.1310. The index year expense adjustment for rural telephone companies that have operated exchanges subject to this section for more than a full year on August 8, 2014 shall be based on loop cost data submitted in accordance with § 54.1306 for the year ending on the nearest calendar quarter following August 8, 2014. For each subsequent year, ending on the same calendar quarter as the index year, a loop cost expense adjustment, using the costs of the acquired exchanges, will be calculated pursuant to § 54.1310 and will be compared to the index year expense adjustment. Safety valve support is calculated pursuant to paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

(3) Up to fifty (50) percent of any positive difference between the transferred exchanges loop cost expense adjustment and the index year expense adjustment will be designated as the transferred exchange's safety valve loop cost expense adjustment and will be available in addition to the per-line loop-related support transferred from the selling carrier to the acquiring carrier pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section. In no event shall a study area's safety valve loop cost expense adjustment exceed the difference between the carrier's study area loop cost expense adjustment calculated pursuant to § 54.1310 and transferred support amounts available to the acquired exchange(s) under paragraph (b) of this section. Safety valve support shall not transfer with acquired exchanges.

(e) The sum of the safety valve loop cost expense adjustment for all eligible study areas operated by rural telephone companies shall not exceed five (5) percent of the total rural incumbent local exchange carrier portion of the annual nationwide loop cost expense adjustment calculated pursuant to § 54.1302. The five (5) percent cap on the safety valve mechanism shall be based on the lesser of the rural incumbent local exchange carrier portion of the annual nationwide loop cost expense adjustment calculated pursuant to § 54.1302 or the sum of rural incumbent local exchange carrier expense adjustments calculated pursuant to § 54.1310. The percentage multiplier used to derive study area safety valve loop cost expense adjustments for rural telephone companies shall be the lesser of fifty (50) percent or a percentage calculated to produce the maximum total safety valve loop cost expense adjustment for all eligible study areas pursuant to this paragraph. The safety valve loop cost expense adjustment of an individual rural incumbent local exchange carrier also may be further reduced as described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

(f) Once an acquisition is complete, the acquiring rural incumbent local exchange carrier shall provide written notice to the Administrator that it has acquired access lines that may be eligible for safety valve support. Rural telephone companies also shall provide written notice to the Administrator defining their index year for those years after the first year of operation for purposes of calculating the safety valve loop cost expense adjustment.

[70 FR 10060, Mar. 2, 2005, as amended at 76 FR 73871, Nov. 29, 2011; 79 FR 39188, July 9, 2014; 81 FR 24339, Apr. 25, 2016]

Title 47 published on 2015-10-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 47 CFR Part 54 after this date.

  • 2015-10-16; vol. 80 # 200 - Friday, October 16, 2015
    1. 80 FR 62512 - Petitions for Reconsideration of Action in Rulemaking Proceeding; Correction
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      FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
      Petitions for reconsideration; correction.
      Replies to opposition are due on October 29, 2015.
      47 CFR Part 54