FCC Record, Volume 28, No. 4, Pages 2764 to 3699, March 18 - March 29, 2013 Page: 2,782
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Federal Communications Commission
reasonable range of, rates for similar service in urban areas.92 Urban areas are generally served by
multiple and diverse providers offering a range of rates and service offerings in competition with one
another. 93 Consequently, we presume that even the highest rate would qualify as "being within a
reasonable range of rates for similar service in urban areas,"94 because the rates for the matching urban
services reflect the effects of competition in the urban area. Should we require additional information to
validate this assumption? For example, should an urban service used for matching be required to have a
certain number of subscribers or percentage of the relevant market in order to demonstrate its market
acceptance?95 Do we need to be concerned that recipients may seek to game this standard by using an
urban rate for comparison that does not reflect a true market rate? How can we address any such
57. We would retain discretion to consider whether and how variable rate structures should be
taken into account. For example, should a supported stand-alone voice plan that offers 1,000 minutes a
month for $50 and additional minutes at $0.08 per minute be considered more expensive than a plan in an
urban area that offers 2,000 minutes a month for $100 and additional minutes at $0.10 per minute? There
may be circumstances under which data plans with equivalent prices-per-unit "match" each other even if
there are other differences in the plans. We propose to address such issues on a case-by-case basis and
welcome comment on how to address such circumstances.
58. To provide recipients with flexibility to tailor their offerings to consumer demand while
complying with the rule, we propose that we deem a Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I support recipient
compliant with the terms of the required certification if it can demonstrate that its rates for services satisfy
the requirements, and if it provides supporting documentation. We seek comment on all aspects of this
proposal, in particular whether it meets the goal of assuring that supported services are provided at rates
reasonably comparable to those in urban areas, while allowing recipients to have appropriate flexibility in
structuring their offerings. We also seek comment on any potential alternatives. For example, is there a
readily available set of benchmark urban rates for mobile voice and broadband service that we could use
with respect to Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I?
92 Adopting this approach for purposes of Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I does not prejudge the approach to be taken
with respect to Phase II of the Mobility Fund or the Connect America Fund generally. We note that in line with the
approach in Auction 901, we do not propose to adopt an urban rate floor for recipients of Tribal Mobility Fund
Phase I support. See Mobility Fund Phase I Auction Scheduled for September 27, 2012; Comment Sought on
Competitive Bidding Procedures for Auction 901 and Certain Program Requirements, Public Notice, AU Docket
No. 12-25, DA 12-121, 27 FCC Red 530, 547-48, para. 67 n.75 (2012); cf USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC
Red at 17749-51, paras. 235-238 (limiting high-cost support where local end-user rates plus state regulated fees do
not meet an urban rate floor representing the national average of local rates plus such state regulated fees).
93 Most consumers in the 100 most populated CMAs in the country are covered by between four to six mobile
wireless providers. Commission analysis of October 2011 Mosaik (then American Roamer) coverage maps and
Census 2010 block data.
94 Under this approach, the supported party must offer services at rates within the range but that do not exceed one
particular rate that is presumed to be a part of that range. Previously, rates for supported services in high-cost,
insular and rural areas served by non-rural carriers were presumed to be reasonably comparable to urban rates
nationwide if they fell below the national rate benchmark, which was set at two standard deviations above the
average urban rate as reported in an annual rate survey published by the Wireline Competition Bureau. See High-
Cost Universal Service Support, WC Docket No. 05-337, Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, CC
Docket No. 96-45, Order on Remand and Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 10-56, 25 FCC Red 4072, 4076,
para. 8 (2010), pet. for review den 'd, Vermont Public Service Bd. v. F.C.C., 661 F.3d 54 (D.C. Cir. 2011). Thus,
while the approaches differ, both serve to assure that rates for supported services are reasonably comparable to rates
in urban areas.
9s A supported provider using its own urban rates would have little trouble making such a demonstration. However,
would other supported providers find the range of urban plans with publicly available subscriber data by plan too
limited? Are there alternative criteria that urban plans should meet before their rates may be used for comparison?
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United States. Federal Communications Commission. FCC Record, Volume 28, No. 4, Pages 2764 to 3699, March 18 - March 29, 2013, book, March 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177414/m1/35/: accessed October 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.