January 26, 2015 — Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission plans to fine Advanced Tel, Inc. (Advanced Tel) $1,588,988 for failing to make required payments to federal programs that promote universal access to telecommunications services.
“All phone companies are required to participate in universal access programs so that consumers everywhere have access to critical telecommunications services,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “Service providers who flagrantly avoid these responsibilities damage these programs and the public interest, and we demonstrate today that we will hold them accountable.”
An FCC investigation found that the Simi Valley, California carrier failed to make required payments to the Universal Service Fund (USF), Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, Local Number Portability (LNP) administration, and federal regulatory fees. Despite repeated opportunities, Advanced Tel ultimately declined to reach an agreement to resolve its debts, compelling this action.
Today’s enforcement action promotes Congress’s objectives embodied in the universal service, TRS, LNP and regulatory fee programs. Universal service programs provide support for low income households, schools and libraries, and rural health care facilities, and ensure telecommunications services are available in areas of the United States where the costs of providing telecommunications services are exceptionally high. The TRS program enables people with hearing and speech disabilities to make and receive telephone calls. The LNP program promotes consumer choice and competition in the telecommunications marketplace by enabling consumers to retain their telephone numbers when switching from one carrier to another. Congress directed the Commission to collect regulatory fees to cover the costs of Commission activities, including enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information services, and international activities.
In the past twelve months, the Commission issued several enforcement items concerning compliance with federal program filing and payment requirements, with penalties totaling nearly $3.5 million.
The Notice of Apparent Liability is available at: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-15-5-A1.pdf
More information on the Commission’s universal service programs is available at: http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/universal-service.
More information on the Commission’s Telecommunications Relay Service program is available at: http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/telecommunications-relay-services-trs.
More information on numbering resources, including local number portability and the North American Numbering Plan, is available at: http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/numbering-resources.
More information of the Commission’s regulatory fee program is available at: http://www.fcc.gov/regfees.