USF Safe Harbor Rate is Costing Carriers Money

Posted by John Sarkis on Aug 10, 2021 11:19:32 AM


It's no question that the Universal Service Fund (USF) has proven it's value in creating an all-inclusive broadband network. However, the rising costs of USF fees have caused many industry professionals to call for a change in how service providers contribute to the fund. 

In our regulatory work, we're often shocked at how many providers don’t know that there are ways to cut their overall USF contribution to be a fraction of what it is now. 

To give a brief overview of the USF, it’s split between four separate funds;

  • Low-income Lifeline fund
  • Rural Healthcare fund (RHC)
  • E-Rate: For Schools and Libraries
  • High-cost fund
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Topics: USF, Regulatory, Cost Savings, FCC

Tandem Rehoming; How It's Done, and Why You Should Consider It.

Posted by John Sarkis on Jun 22, 2021 12:35:44 PM

The ongoing adoption of a full IP network and changing regulatory environment demands that telecom service providers examine their network infrastructure to determine how they can change operations to increase efficiency and profitability. Many communications service providers are constrained by legacy tandem networks that are difficult and expensive to maintain. This has caused telcos to consolidate their older tandem switches to extend other’s life cycles or upgrading to more modern tandems. In each case, the process of moving network lines from one switch to another has been coined with the term rehoming

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Topics: Rehome

Small Telcos in the Big Picture

Posted by John Sarkis on May 18, 2021 11:53:49 AM


With the first quarter of performance testing behind us, we’d like to reflect on how our stamper technology performed. As we rolled out hundreds of stamper box devices across the United States, our years of experience in telecom were put to the test to adapt to new challenges that performance measures testing created. 

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Topics: Telecom Data Analytics, connect america fund, A-CAM

Damages to Underground Utilities Are Rising at an Alarming Rate

Posted by John Sarkis on Nov 20, 2020 10:41:08 AM

Underground utilities have become a vital aspect of local infrastructure across the United States. Even though they are critical to our everyday lives, little is being done to protect them.

If you’ve ever worked on any projects at home that required digging, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase call-before-you-dig. Contacting your local utility companies to mark out pipelines before you dig can be the difference between rupturing an underground gas line and not. People often underestimate how important it is to know where these buried utilities are, even when doing smaller tasks like installing a mailbox. According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) 2019 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report, it’s estimated that there were 532,000 excavation-related damages to underground utilities in 2019, which is a 4.5 percent increase from the 509,000 damages that occurred in 2018.

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Topics: Utilities

CALEA Compliance and Cost Reimbursement

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Mar 3, 2020 11:00:00 AM

Did you know that the costs of complying with federal, state and local subpoenas can be passed along to the requesting authorities?

The big providers of telephone, cable, and data services process hundreds of law enforcement requests for data every month. If you are a smaller provider, you may not get that many requests but when you do it’s a major disruption to your operation. We have had several requests from smaller clients to support them in their efforts to comply with subpoena requests so we thought we would summarize how the CALEA process works.

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Topics: Regulatory, Big Data

ATS Hires Andy Fleming as Utility Industry Senior Adviser

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Oct 23, 2019 12:36:36 PM

ATS is proud to announce that Andrew Fleming has been appointed Senior Adviser for the Utility industry. Andy is very well known in the industry and his professional experience spans nearly 50 years. Andy started his career as a Sales Engineer for the Sundstrand Corporation. He went on to become the District Sales Manager for Dresser Industries in the Northeastern US Region. In his most recent positions he represented Dresser Pipeline Solutions, Meters and Instruments.

Among Mr. Fleming’s professional affiliations are the American Gas Association, the Society of Gas Operators and the Northeast Gas Association. Mr. Fleming holds a BS in Industrial Distribution from Clarkson University.

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Topics: Utilities

CAF Performance Testing Podcast

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on May 30, 2019 2:08:05 PM

Take a listen to our latest podcast where Peter Mueller and Ryan Guthrie discuss the FCC order and many of the questions we've been hearing from carriers who have to comply by July 31, 2019.  

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Topics: stamper box, connect america fund, DA 18-710

CAF Testing Deadline is Looming - Are you Ready?

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Feb 15, 2019 10:07:47 AM

The July 1, 2019 deadline to begin CAF performance testing is just around the corner. The summer might feel like it will never be here (especially if you live in the Northeast), but it will be here before you know it. And with it, the requirement to have your testing program up and running according to the standards laid out in the FCC Order. While there have been many petitions for clarification on the order, there has been no indication by the FCC that they plan to delay the order beyond the original July 1, 2019 deadline.

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CAF Broadband Performance Testing

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Nov 14, 2018 1:41:13 PM

A few months ago the FCC released order DA 18-710 specifying the network performance testing and reporting required for ISPs who receive support from the Connect America Fund (CAF). The order is nearly 40 pages, but in this post we will summarize the requirements and provide some options for how ISPs can comply.

Who Must Comply?

Recipients of CAF high-cost universal service support, including:

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Topics: Regulatory, FCC, stamper box, connect america fund

Chalk Talk: Burstable Circuit Billing Accuracy - Part 2

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Oct 18, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Burstable billing, also known as 95th percentile billing, can present a variety of challenges if it's not regularly tested and monitored to ensure accuracy and completeness. While this type of billing arrangement is a nice benefit for customers and is often used as a marketing incentive, it can very easily lead to substantial revenue loss if any of the systems or procedures used to collect, mediate, and ultimately bill the customer are not functioning properly.

We recently posted 'Part 1' of this video series where our CTO Peter Mueller discussed how ATS' stamper box solution and data analytics help ISPs ensure accurate and complete billing for enterprise customers with burstable circuits.  In this video, Peter discusses how we help carriers quantify the common issues we uncover as well as their root cause and ultimately put controls in place to monitor and alarm when specific error conditions occur.  

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Topics: Chalk Talk, stamper box, 95th percentile billing, burstable billing