The fourth quarter's contribution factor has been announced by the FCC to be the highest ever at 34.5 percent. How exactly does that affect your Universal Service Fund (USF) fees for this quarter? This post will dive into case examples to demonstrate the potential cost savings achievable through traffic studies.
Last week, the FCC announced the proposed Universal Service Fund Contribution Factor for the fourth quarter of 2023. At a staggering 0.345, or 34.5 percent, this figure marks an unprecedented high in the history of this vital telecommunications fund.
The Universal Service Fund (USF) has become a topic of concern in the telecommunications industry, and rightly so. This crucial fund plays a pivotal role in ensuring that telecommunications services are accessible and affordable for all Americans. To comprehend why this factor has been on the rise, let's delve into the various programs it supports and why it's in dire need of reform.
The State of Telecommunications
With the world adjusting back to normalcy post-pandemic, 2022 was another booming - and some would say a hectic year for telecom. The momentum from the increased dependency on broadband has continued to reflect on the growing telecom market. Broadband and Telecommunications are entering a new landscape of competition as the demand for faster speeds and higher data consumption continue to force telcos to adapt to new technologies. With that, both CAF and ACAM testing is in full swing now that pre-testing has finished for CAF recipients.
Complying with the USAC’s requirements can be stressful. However, being non-compliant during the pre-testing phase isn’t the end of the world. In fact - it’s part of the process in most providers' deployment journeys.
As we jump into the fourth quarter of ACAM-I pretesting and prepare for the upcoming 2022 official testing, it’s important that providers determine what tactics they used to be successful this past year.
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.
Tell me if this story sounds familiar. You have an idea, a hunch, a theory that you'd like to 'flush' out. BUT, in order to do so, you need access to data from last month, maybe it's CDRs, billing data, smart meter data, etc. The emails, conference calls, and requests you'll have to make to get your hands on that data are daunting at best. But it's your data right? Why should you have to jump through so many hoops to get access to it? By the time you can even figure out who "owns" the data, you're onto the next task and your great idea is wasted, yet again.
Over the years, I can't tell you how many times the 'data access' issue has delayed or even completely stopped a project we've been involved with. Not because the idea didn't make sense or the business case didn't prove out, simply because getting the data from 'Point A' to 'Point B' was going to take too much time and effort. This is the definition of a 'data plumbing' issue. Big data tools are getting better, faster, cheaper, and more available every day. But the challenge of extracting and integrating data from a variety of sources has become an issue that organizations simply can't ignore. It's the ugly truth behind data analytics - it often takes more time and energy to extract, clean, and integrate the data than it takes to do the analytics itself.
Being in the software business for 20+ years, I’ve both feared and admired open-source. On the one hand, we’ve benefited from it so thoroughly that it’s easy to overlook that we’re standing on ‘shoulders of giants’ every morning from the moment we boot up a Linux VM, to whatever PERL or Python module we’ll download or upgrade during the day. We’ve made modest contributions along the way, but we’ve never taken the plunge of actually open-sourcing our own wares -- even though, economically and technically, our own customers have benefited from indirectly from them. After all, building our apps around open source has - over the long-term - kept our own customer’s total cost of ownership down, and kept openness and reliability up. In this post, I’d like to explore an often-overlooked aspect of open-source: it’s ability to help you close more sales by including an ‘infrastructure call option’ for your prospects.
The FCC is currently struggling mightily to arrive at a fair and equitable solution to the need to promote uniform quality of telecommunications for both large urban centers and very small rural areas of the United States.
The FCC fully recognizes that the existing Rural Call Completion reporting requirements are not capable of providing a reliable measurement of the “of how answer and call completion rates differed for various small non-rural carriers compared to the overall rate provided to larger non-rural carriers in total. “
Big data is big news in almost every industry, and telecom is no exception. The report “Big Data and Telecom Analytics Market: Business Case, Market Analysis & Forecasts 2014 – 2019” from Mind Commerce forecasts a 50% growth by 2019 in the big-data-driven telco analytics environment, which will deliver annual revenue of $5.4 billion. Apart from opening up a multitude of jobs for telecom data scientists, data will increasingly become a competitive differentiator for telcos.