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COALITION TO KEEP AMERICA CONNECTED AND WASHINGTON UPDATE Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies www.opastco.org Stuart Polikoff, Dir. of Gov’t Relations ITA 110 TH ANNUAL CONVENTION November 6, 2006 Coalition to Keep America Connected

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COALITION TO KEEP AMERICA CONNECTED AND WASHINGTON UPDATE

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COALITION TO KEEP AMERICA CONNECTEDANDWASHINGTON UPDATE

Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies

www.opastco.org

Stuart Polikoff, Dir. of Gov’t Relations

ITA 110TH ANNUAL CONVENTION

November 6, 2006


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Coalition to Keep America Connected

Grassroots activities

DC activities

Telecom legislation timeline

Rural Alliance and the Missoula Plan for Intercarrier Compensation Reform

Joint Board Public Notice on using auctions to determine universal service support

OVERVIEW


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October 2005: Coalition formed by OPASTCO and three other rural trade associations

PURPOSE: To serve as a collective voice for rural consumers as Congress considers a rewrite of the Telecom Act

MISSION STATEMENT: Ensure that all consumers have access to affordable telecommunications and the latesttechnologies, no matter where they live

Coalition to Keep America Connected


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Keep Iowa Connected campaign is the template for the Coalition’s grassroots activities

Thousands of letters to legislators

Table at State Fair

Letters and articles in local papers

Meetings with legislators

Development of 30-second commercial

Success is infectious – Nebraska is following your lead

Coalition to Keep America ConnectedGrassroots Activities


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Keep the momentum going!

Visit www.keepamericaconnected.org and get involved!

Grassroots communications tool kit

Subscriber testimonial

Financial support

Coalition to Keep America ConnectedGrassroots Activities


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Testifying on Capitol Hill

2/15: Congressional Rural Caucus on the value of USF

2/28: Senate Commerce Committee on USF contributions

3/2: Senate Commerce Committee on USF distributions

3/9: House Small Business Committee Democrats’ Roundtable on telecommunications policies

5/3: House Small Business Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight on universal service reform

5/18: Senate Commerce Committee on S. 2686 – the Senate telecom bill

6/13: Senate Commerce Committee on S. 2686 – the Senate telecom bill

Coalition to Keep America Connected DC Activities


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Research Papers

“Ten Myths That Could Destroy Universal Service” by Dr. Dale Lehman

“Universal Service Fund: Defining Problems and Identifying Constructive Solutions” by Balhoff & Rowe

“Achieving Universal Service: Work in Progress” by Kathy Wallman

Coalition to Keep America Connected DC Activities


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Rapid Response to Anti-USF Media

Newsweek

Dallas Morning News

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

L.A. Times

Chicago Tribune

Forbes

New York Times

Coalition to Keep America Connected DC Activities


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Advertising

Roll Call

The Hill

Communications Daily

Coalition to Keep America Connected DC Activities


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DVD –“You Can Tell the USF Story”

Audience: Employees, customers, local leaders

Emphasis: The importance of USF in promoting education, healthcare, and economic development and how the Fund is being threatened

Call to action: Asks viewers to contact their members of Congress

Download at www.keepamericaconnected.org

Coalition to Keep America Connected DC Activities


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Recruitment of Non-Telecom Organizations

Association of Educational Service Agencies, VA

The Center for Rural Affairs, NE

Mississippi Automobile Dealers Association, MS

National Association of Developmental Organizations, DC

National Cooperative Business Association, DC

National Farmers Union, DC

The National Grange, DC

National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition, OK

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, VA

National Rural Health Association, MO

New Mexico Automobile Dealers Association, NM

Oklahoma Automobile Dealers Association, OK

Oregon Farm Bureau, OR

South Dakota Automobile Dealers Association, SD

Coalition to Keep America Connected DC Activities


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Early June: House telecom reform bill passes the House of Representatives

Bill focuses primarily on video franchising, E911

No USF language

Late July: Senate telecom reform bill passes the Senate Commerce Committee

Senate bill more comprehensive than House bill

Includes USF language

Sen. Wyden (D, OR) places hold on bill, keeping it from reaching Senate floor

Believes net neutrality language is inadequate

Telecom Legislation Timeline


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Late September: Congress recesses for election campaigning

Mid November: Senate returns for “lame duck” session

Unlikely that telecom bill will be addressed

Election results will dictate what happens in lame duck session and prospects for legislation next year

Telecom Legislation Timeline


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Open FCC proceeding on reforming intercarrier compensation rules

Rural Alliance presents a unified voice for rural ILECs and their customers on intercarrier compensation reform

OPASTCO is a member of the Alliance with an advisory seat on its Steering Committee

Visit www.rural-alliance.org and get involved!

Intercarrier Compensation Rural Alliance


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July 2006: Missoula Plan filed with FCC

Supporters come from all sectors of the industry

Rural Alliance a major player in the negotiations

Key rural provisions of Plan:

“Multi-Track” approach

Restructure Mechanism enables full recovery of lost intercarrier revenues

Unifies rural RoR ILECs’ inter- and intrastate access charges at interstate cost-based rates

Limits obligations of rural ILECs to pay for transport beyond their networks

Intercarrier Compensation Missoula Plan


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October 25: Comments on Plan filed with FCC

Rural Alliance filed joint comments with other Missoula Plan supporters

Rural ILEC filing prepared by Rural Alliance had close to 600 signatories

OPASTCO filed its own comments supporting Plan

The Rural Alliance’s work is far from over

Intercarrier Compensation Missoula Plan


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August 11: Joint Board releases Public Notice seeking comment on reverse auctions for determining recipients of support and support amounts

Public Notice part of larger proceeding to determine appropriate rural support mechanism to follow Rural Task Force Order

October 10: Comments filed. Majority of commenters unsupportive of auctions and express concerns about unintended consequences

Universal Service Joint Board Auctions Public Notice


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OPASTCO comments:

The high-cost support mechanism for rural ILECs, based on embedded costs, has been highly successful

Auctions pose significant risks to the continued availability of affordable, high-quality services to rural consumers

Reforms intended to address the unnecessary growth in the rural High-Cost program should target the source of the problem: Competitive ETCs and the identical support rule

Universal Service Joint Board Auctions Public Notice


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OPASTCO

(202) 659-5990

www.opastco.org

John Rose, President

jnr@opastco.org

Stuart Polikoff, Director of Government Relations

sep@opastco.org

Randy Tyree, Director of Legislative and Industry Affairs

rxt@opastco.org

Steve Pastorkovich, Business Development Director /

Senior Policy Analyst

sfp@opastco.org

Brian Ford, Policy Analyst

bjf@opastco.org

THE END!

CONTACTS


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