Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2017, 50598-50606 [2017-23215]

Download as PDF 50598 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / Proposed Rules Dated: October 26, 2017. Anna K. Abram, Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Planning, Legislation, and Analysis. BILLING CODE 4164–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION Food and Drug Administration 47 CFR Part 1 21 CFR Part 573 [MD Docket Nos. 17–134; FCC 17–111] [Docket No. FDA–2014–F–0295] 21 CFR Part 573 [FR Doc. 2017–23729 Filed 10–31–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164–01–P Food and Drug Administration Dated: October 26, 2017. Anna K. Abram, Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Planning, Legislation, and Analysis. [FR Doc. 2017–23728 Filed 10–31–17; 8:45 am] DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2017 [Docket No. FDA–2013–F–1539] DSM Nutritional Products, Inc.; Withdrawal of Food Additive Petition (Animal Use) AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS. Notification; withdrawal of petition for rulemaking. ACTION: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is announcing the withdrawal, without prejudice to a future filing, of a food additive petition (animal use) (FAP 2276) proposing that the food additive regulations be amended to provide for the safe use of ethoxyquin in vitamin D formulations, including 25hydroxyvitamin D3, used in animal food. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: DSM Nutritional Products, Inc.; Withdrawal of Food Additive Petition (Animal Use) AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, 17:05 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 Notification; withdrawal of petition for rulemaking. ACTION: SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00018 In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) seeks further comment on the appropriate tiers for calculating terrestrial and satellite international bearer circuit fees, and the methodology by which cable television subscribers in multiple dwelling units (MDUs) are calculated. DATES: Comments are due on or before December 1, 2017 and reply comments are due on or before December 18, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by MD Docket No. 17–134, by any of the following methods listed in the Comment Filing Procedures section below. For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roland Helvajian, Office of Managing Director at (202) 418–0444. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), FCC 17–111, MD Docket No. 17–134 adopted on September 1, 2017 and released on September 5, 2017. The full text of this document is available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY– A257, Portals II, Washington, DC 20554, and may also be purchased from the Commission’s copy contractor, BCPI, Inc., Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY–B402, Washington, DC 20554. Customers may contact BCPI, Inc. via their Web site, http://www.bcpi.com, or call 1–800–378–3160. This document is available in alternative formats (computer diskette, large print, audio record, and Braille). Persons with disabilities who need documents in SUMMARY: HHS. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is announcing the withdrawal, without prejudice to a future filing, of a food additive petition (FAP 2280) proposing that the food additive regulations be DATES: The food additive petition was amended to provide for the safe use of withdrawn on September 13, 2017. 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in feed for swine. ADDRESSES: For access to the docket to DATES: The food additive petition was read background documents or withdrawn on September 13, 2017. comments received, go to https:// ADDRESSES: For access to the docket to www.regulations.gov and insert the read background documents or docket number, found in brackets in the comments received, go to https:// heading of this document, into the www.regulations.gov and insert the ‘‘Search’’ box and follow the prompts; docket number, found in brackets in the and/or go to the Dockets Management heading of this document, into the Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, ‘‘Search’’ box and follow the prompts; Rockville, MD 20852. and/or go to the Dockets Management FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Chelsea Trull, Center for Veterinary Rockville, MD 20852. Medicine, Food and Drug FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Administration, 7519 Standish Pl., Chelsea Trull, Center for Veterinary Rockville, MD 20855, 240–402–6729, Medicine, Food and Drug chelsea.trull@fda.hhs.gov. Administration, 7519 Standish Pl., SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a notice Rockville, MD 20855, 240–402–6729, chelsea.trull@fda.hhs.gov. published in the Federal Register of December 23, 2013 (78 FR 77384), we SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a notice announced that we had filed a food published in the Federal Register of additive petition (FAP 2276), submitted March 25, 2014 (79 FR 16252), we by DSM Nutritional Products, 45 announced that we had filed a food Waterview Blvd., Parsippany, NJ 07054. additive petition (FAP 2280), submitted The petition proposed to amend the by DSM Nutritional Products, 45 food additive regulations in 21 CFR part Waterview Blvd., Parsippany, NJ 07054. 573 Food Additives Permitted in Feed The petition proposed to amend the and Drinking Water of Animals to food additive regulations in 21 CFR part provide for the safe use of ethoxyquin 573, Food Additives Permitted in Feed as a chemical preservative in vitamin D and Drinking Water of Animals, to formulations, including 25provide for the safe use of 25hydroxyvitamin D3, used in animal food. hydroxyvitamin D3 in feed for swine. DSM Nutritional Products, Inc., has now DSM Nutritional Products, Inc. has now withdrawn the petition without withdrawn the petition without prejudice to a future filing (21 CFR prejudice to a future filing (21 CFR 571.7). 571.7). VerDate Sep<11>2014 Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\01NOP1.SGM 01NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / Proposed Rules these formats may contact the FCC by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: 202– 418–0530 or TTY: 202–418–0432. I. Procedural Matters sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS A. Ex Parte Rules Permit-But-Disclose Proceeding 1. This Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FY 2017 FNPRM) shall be treated as a ‘‘permit-but-disclose’’ proceeding in accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made, and summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter’s written comments, memoranda, or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with § 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by § 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules. B. Comment Filing Procedures 2. Comments and Replies. Pursuant to §§ 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using: (1) The Commission’s Electronic VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:05 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 Comment Filing System (ECFS), (2) the Federal Government’s eRulemaking Portal, or (3) by filing paper copies. See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998). • Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http:// fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/ or the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. • Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and four copies of each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. D All hand-delivered or messengerdelivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St. SW., Room TW–A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes must be disposed of before entering the building. D Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701. D U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202–418–0530 (voice), 202– 418–0432 (tty). 3. Availability of Documents. Comments, reply comments, and ex parte submissions will be available for public inspection during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., CY– A257, Washington, DC 20554. These documents will also be available free online, via ECFS. Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat. PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 50599 4. Accessibility Information. To request information in accessible formats (computer diskettes, large print, audio recording, and Braille), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418–0530 (voice), (202) 418–0432 (TTY). This document can also be downloaded in Word and Portable Document Format (‘‘PDF’’) at: http:// www.fcc.gov. C. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 5. An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) is contained in this summary. Comments to the IRFA must be identified as responses to the IRFA and filed by the deadlines for comments on the Notice. The Commission will send a copy of the Notice, including the IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. D. Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis 6. This document does not contain new or modified information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104–13. In addition, therefore, it does not contain any new or modified information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107–198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4). II. Introduction 7. In this Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we seek further comment on the appropriate tiers for calculating terrestrial and satellite international bearer circuit fees raised in the FY 2016 NPRM and the FY 2017 NPRM and the methodology for calculating cable television subscribers in multiple dwelling units (MDUs) raised in the FY 2008 FNPRM.1 A. International Bearer Circuits 8. We seek further comment on this issue to have a more comprehensive record for adopting a new flat rate methodology for terrestrial and satellite IBCs and to revise the tiers for submarine cable systems. We also seek comment on the proposal to adopt a regulatory fee for all holders of section 214 international authorizations. 9. In the Submarine Cable Order, the Commission adopted a tiered system using gigabits per second (Gbps) 1 FY 2008 FNPRM, 73 FR 50285, 50290 at paragraphs 27–28. E:\FR\FM\01NOP1.SGM 01NOP1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS 50600 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / Proposed Rules increments (instead of 64 kbps 2). The tiers adopted for submarine cable systems at that time were as follows: ‘‘large’’ systems, 20 Gbps or more, paying one payment unit each; systems with capacity equal to or greater than 10 Gbps but less than 20 Gbps, paying 50 percent of a payment unit; systems with capacity equal to or greater than 5 Gbps but less than 10 Gbps, paying 25 percent of a payment unit; systems with capacity equal to or greater than 2.5 Gbps but less than 5 Gbps, paying 12.5 percent of a payment unit; and systems with capacity below 2.5 Gbps paying 6.25 percent of a payment unit.3 10. We propose revising the tiers for submarine cable systems. We recognize that since we adopted the current tiers for submarine cable systems, the subsequent growth in the industry has moved all but two systems to the highest tier. We seek comment on whether we should revise the tiers. For example, we could adopt the following: Systems with capacity of 10,000 Gbps or more, paying 16 payment units each; systems with capacity equal to or greater than 5,000 Gbps but less than 10,000 Gbps, paying eight payment units; systems with capacity equal to or greater than 2,500 Gbps but less than 5,000 Gbps, paying four payment units; systems with capacity equal to or greater than 1,000 Gbps but less than 2,500 Gbps, paying two payment units; and systems with capacity below 1,000 Gbps paying one payment unit. We seek comment on this proposal. 11. We also propose adopting, for terrestrial and satellite IBCs, the same five tiers used for submarine cable systems. Level 3 contends that two tiers would be sufficient for terrestrial and satellite IBCs to ensure that larger carriers pay a fair amount and to avoid being a barrier to entry for new providers.4 AT&T opposes a two-tiered approach, contending that the disparities between the volumes of circuits held by different operators may be too large to structure a reasonable and fair system.5 We seek comment on whether we should adopt the same tiers for common carrier and non-common carrier terrestrial and satellite IBCs. Commenters proposing different tiers, including fewer or greater numbers of tiers, should explain how their proposals would be more equitable. 2 Sixty-four Kbps is the unit of measurement for voice grade circuits; submarine cable, terrestrial, and satellite international bearer circuits are now largely used for data. 3 Submarine Cable Order, 74 FR 22104, 22107 at paragraph 16 (May 12, 2009). 4 Level 3 June 29, 2017 ex parte at 1. 5 AT&T Reply Comments at 3. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:05 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 12. In its comments, the Coalition suggested that the Commission should adopt a fee methodology based on flat fee from every holder of an international section 214 authorization.6 We seek further comment on this approach. Should a flat fee based on holding an international section 214 authorization replace only the terrestrial and satellite IBCs regulatory fees, with submarine cable IBCs continuing to be assessed on holding a cable landing license, or should it replace all IBC regulatory fees (i.e., terrestrial, satellite and submarine cable)? Would a flat fee on an international section 214 authorization reduce administrative burdens in collecting the IBC fee? The Coalition states that there are approximately 7,000 current international section 214 authorizations,7 but CTIA notes that many of those are held by companies that do not actually provide international service and many companies hold multiple authorizations.8 We seek comment on whether a fee should be applied to every holder of an international section 214 authorization regardless of the number of international section 214 authorizations held. Alternatively, should a set fee be applied to every international section 214 authorization? We also seek comment on whether there should be a different fee based on whether the international section 214 authorization is for resale only or for facilities-based services. We seek comment on whether a fee based on international section 214 authorizations should be calibrated based on size. For example, should there be one fee for resale, another up to a certain number of circuits, and a larger fee for any circuits above that amount? We seek comment on CITA’s assertion that there are no additional, ongoing costs associated with international section 214 authorizations that are not already covered by the application fees.9 We seek comment on whether a fee applied to each section 214 authorization holder would capture most carriers that provide non-common carrier services or are there a number of carriers that provide only non-common carrier international services? B. Cable Television Services— Calculation of Number of Subscribers 13. In the FY 2008 FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on the bulk rate calculation for determining the number of subscribers in a multiple 6 Coalition Comments at 8–10. Comments at 9. 8 CTIA Reply at 8. 9 CTIA Reply at 9. 7 Coalition PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 dwelling unit or MDU.10 The methodology for calculating the number of cable subscribers has since been the following: Cable television system operators should compute their number of basic subscribers as follows: Number of single family dwellings + number of individual households in multiple dwelling unit (apartments, condominiums, mobile home parks, etc.) paying at the basic subscriber rate + bulk rate customers + courtesy and free service. Note: Bulk-Rate Customers = Total annual bulk-rate charge divided by basic annual subscription rate for individual households. Operators may base their count on ‘‘a typical day in the last full week’’ of December [year], rather than on a count as of December 31, [year].11 14. We recognize that the cable television industry has evolved significantly and the bulk rate calculation may not be reasonable or feasible today because of the many services offered today by cable providers. Specifically, with offerings of different packages and bundles, it may no longer be feasible to use a bulk rate calculation. Commenters should discuss if they use the bulk rate calculation or if they separately count each subscriber, even those living in MDUs. 15. We seek comment on whether we should keep the bulk rate calculation, or alternatively, whether we should modify the methodology to more accurately calculate the numbers of subscribers in a MDU. We seek comment on whether we should eliminate the bulk rate calculation due to changes in today’s cable market. III. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),12 the Commission prepared this Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on small entities by the policies and rules proposed in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM). Written comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadline for comments on this Further Notice. The Commission will send a copy of the Further Notice, including the IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA).13 10 FY 2008 Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 73 FR 50285, 50290 at paragraphs 27– 28, August 26, 2008, (FY 2008 Further Notice). 11 This is essentially the same methodology we sought comment on in the FY 2008 FNPRM. 12 5 U.S.C. 603. The RFA, 5 U.S.C. 601–612 has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Public Law Number 104–121, Title II, 110 Stat. 847 (1996). 13 5 U.S.C. 603(a). E:\FR\FM\01NOP1.SGM 01NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / Proposed Rules In addition, the FNPRM and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.14 A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Further Notice 2. The FNPRM seeks comment regarding (1) adopting a new five-tiered flat rate methodology for assessing regulatory fees for terrestrial and satellite international bearer circuits (IBCs), revising the tiers for submarine cable systems, and adopting a new fee category for all holders of section 214 international authority and (2) revising the calculation for cable television ‘‘Bulk Rate Customers.’’ B. Legal Basis 3. This action, including publication of proposed rules, is authorized under sections (4)(i) and (j), 9, and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.15 A. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Rules Will Apply 4. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules and policies, if adopted.16 The RFA generally defines the term ‘‘small entity’’ as having the same meaning as the terms ‘‘small business,’’ ‘‘small organization,’’ and ‘‘small governmental jurisdiction.’’ 17 In addition, the term ‘‘small business’’ has the same meaning as the term ‘‘small business concern’’ under the Small Business Act.18 A ‘‘small business concern’’ is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA.19 5. Small Entities. Our actions, over time, may affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. We therefore describe here, at the outset, three comprehensive small entity size standards that could be directly affected by the proposals under consideration.20 14 Id. 15 47 U.S.C. 154(i) and (j), 159, and 303(r). U.S.C. 603(b)(3). 17 5 U.S.C. 601(6). 18 5 U.S.C. 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of ‘‘small-business concern’’ in the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies ‘‘unless an agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity for public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register.’’ 19 15 U.S.C. 632. 20 See 5 U.S.C. 601(3) through (6). sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS 16 5 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:05 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 As of 2009, small businesses represented 99.9 percent of the 27.5 million businesses in the United States, according to the SBA.21 In addition, a ‘‘small organization is generally any notfor-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and not dominant in its field.22 In addition, the term ‘‘small governmental jurisdiction’’ is defined generally as ‘‘governments of cities, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand.’’ 23 U.S. Census Bureau data for 2011 indicate that there were 90,056 local governmental jurisdictions in the United States.24 We estimate that, of this total, as many as 89,327 entities may qualify as ‘‘small governmental jurisdictions.’’ 25 Thus, we estimate that most local government jurisdictions are small. 6. Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The U.S. Census Bureau defines this industry as ‘‘establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired communications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution, and wired broadband internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this 21 See SBA, Office of Advocacy, ‘‘Frequently Asked Questions,’’ available at https:// www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/SB-FAQ2016_WEB.pdf. 22 5 U.S.C. 601(4). 23 5 U.S.C. 601(5). 24 See SBA, Office of Advocacy, ‘‘Frequently Asked Questions,’’ available at https:// www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/SB-FAQ2016_WEB.pdf. 25 The 2011 U.S. Census Data for small governmental organizations are not presented based on the size of the population in each organization. As stated above, there were 90,056 local governmental organizations in 2011. As a basis for estimating how many of these 90,056 local governmental organizations were small, we note that there were a total of 729 cities and towns (incorporated places and civil divisions) with populations over 50,000. See http://fact finder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/ productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5& prodType=table. If we subtract the 729 cities and towns that exceed the 50,000 population threshold, we conclude that approximately 789,237 are small. PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 50601 industry.’’ 26 The SBA has developed a small business size standard for Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which consists of all such companies having 1,500 or fewer employees.27 Census data for 2012 shows that there were 3,117 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.28 Thus, under this size standard, the majority of firms in this industry can be considered small. 7. Local Exchange Carriers (LECs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a size standard for small businesses specifically applicable to local exchange services. The closest applicable NAICS code category is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.29 According to census data from 2012, there were 3,117 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.30 The Commission estimates that most providers of local exchange service are small entities that may be affected by the rules proposed in the FNPRM. 8. Incumbent LECs. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local exchange services. The closest applicable NAICS code category is Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.31 According to census data from 2012, 3,117 firms operated in that year. Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.32 According to Commission data, 1,307 carriers reported that they were incumbent local exchange service providers.33 Of this total of 1,307 incumbent local exchange service providers, an estimated 1,006 operated with 1,500 or fewer employees.34 Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers of 26 See http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/ naicsrch. 27 See 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 517110. 28 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/ tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pi=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 29 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110. 30 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pi=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 31 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110. 32 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5prodType=table. 33 See Trends in Telephone Service, Federal Communications Commission, Wireline Competition Bureau, Industry Analysis and Technology Division at Table 5.3 (Sept. 2010) (Trends in Telephone Service). 34 See id. E:\FR\FM\01NOP1.SGM 01NOP1 50602 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / Proposed Rules sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS incumbent local exchange service are small businesses that may be affected by the rules proposed in this Further Notice. 9. Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (Competitive LECs), Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for these service providers. The appropriate NAICS code category is Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.35 U.S. Census data for 2012 indicate that 3,117 firms operated during that year. Of that number, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.36 Based on this data, the Commission concludes that the majority of Competitive LECs, CAPs, SharedTenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers are small entities. According to the Commission data, 1,442 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of either competitive local exchange services or competitive access provider services.37 Of these 1,442 carriers, an estimated 1,256 have 1,500 or fewer employees. In addition, 17 carriers have reported that they are Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and all 17 are estimated to have 1,500 or fewer employees.38 Also, 72 carriers have reported that they are Other Local Service Providers.39 Of this total, 70 have 1,500 or fewer employees.40 Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers of competitive local exchange service, competitive access providers, Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers are small entities that may be affected by rules proposed in this FNPRM. 10. Interexchange Carriers (IXCs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a definition for Interexchange Carriers. The closest NAICS code category is Wired Telecommunications Carriers as defined in paragraph 6 of this IRFA. The applicable size standard under SBA rules is that such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.41 U.S. Census data for 2012 indicate that 3,117 firms operated during that year. Of that number, 3,083 operated with fewer than 35 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110. 36 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 37 See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3. 38 Id. 39 Id. 40 Id. 41 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:25 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 1,000 employees.42 According to Commission data, 359 companies reported that their primary telecommunications service activity was the provision of interexchange services.43 Of this total, an estimated 317 have 1,500 or fewer employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of interexchange service providers are small entities that may be affected by rules proposed in this FNPRM 11. Prepaid Calling Card Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for prepaid calling card providers. The appropriate NAICS code category for prepaid calling card providers is Telecommunications Resellers. This industry comprises establishments engaged in purchasing access and network capacity from owners and operators of telecommunications networks and reselling wired and wireless telecommunications services (except satellite) to businesses and households. Establishments in this industry resell telecommunications; they do not operate transmission facilities and infrastructure. Mobile virtual networks operators (MVNOs) are included in this industry.44 Under the applicable SBA size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.45 U.S. Census data for 2012 show that 1,341 firms provided resale services during that year. Of that number, 1,341 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.46 Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these prepaid calling card providers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 193 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of prepaid calling cards.47 All 193 carriers have 1,500 or fewer employees.48 Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of prepaid calling card providers are small entities that may be affected by rules proposed in this FNPRM. 12. Local Resellers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for Local Resellers. The SBA 42 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid= ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 43 See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3. 44 http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ssd/naics/ naicsrch. 45 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517911. 46 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid= ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 47 See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3. 48 Id. PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 has developed a small business size standard for the category of Telecommunications Resellers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.49 Census data for 2012 show that 1,341 firms provided resale services during that year. 50 Of that number, 1,341 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.51 Under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these local resellers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 213 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of local resale services.52 Of this total, an estimated 211 have 1,500 or fewer employees.53 Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of local resellers are small entities that may be affected by rules proposed in this Further Notice. 13. Toll Resellers. The Commission has not developed a definition for Toll Resellers. The closest NAICS code Category is Telecommunications Resellers, and the SBA has developed a small business size standard for the category of Telecommunications Resellers.54 Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.55 Census data for 2012 show that 1,341 firms provided resale services during that year.56 Of that number, 1,341 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.57 Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these resellers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 881 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of toll resale services.58 Of this total, an estimated 857 have 1,500 or fewer employees.59 Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of toll resellers are small entities that may be affected by the rules proposed in the FNPRM. 14. Other Toll Carriers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a size standard for small businesses 49 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517911. 50 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 51 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 52 See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3. 53 Id. 54 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517911. 55 Id. 56 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 57 Id. 58 Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3. 59 Id. E:\FR\FM\01NOP1.SGM 01NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / Proposed Rules specifically applicable to Other Toll Carriers. This category includes toll carriers that do not fall within the categories of interexchange carriers, operator service providers, prepaid calling card providers, satellite service carriers, or toll resellers. The closest applicable NAICS code category is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers, as defined in paragraph 6 of this IRFA. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.60 Census data for 2012 shows that there were 3,117 firms that operated that year.61 Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.62 Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of Other Toll Carriers can be considered small. According to Commission data, 284 companies reported that their primary telecommunications service activity was the provision of other toll carriage.63 Of these, an estimated 279 have 1,500 or fewer employees.64 Consequently, the Commission estimates that most Other Toll Carriers are small entities that may be affected by the rules proposed in the FNPRM 15. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). This industry comprises establishments engaged in operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide communications via the airwaves. Establishments in this industry have spectrum licenses and provide services using that spectrum, such as cellular services, paging services, wireless internet access, and wireless video services.65 The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is that such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For this industry, Census Data for 2012 show that there were 967 firms that operated for the entire year.66 Of this total, 955 firms had fewer than 1,000 employees.67 Thus under this category and the associated size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities. Similarly, according to Commission data, 413 60 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110. 61 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony, including cellular service, Personal Communications Service (PCS), and Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) services.68 Of this total, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees.69 Thus, using available data, we estimate that the majority of wireless firms can be considered small and may be affected by rules proposed in this FNPRM. 16. Television Broadcasting. This Economic Census category ‘‘comprises establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting images together with sound. These establishments operate television broadcasting studios and facilities for the programming and transmission of programs to the public.’’ 70 These establishments also produce or transmit visual programming to affiliated broadcast television stations, which in turn broadcast the programs to the public on a predetermined schedule. Programming may originate in their own studio, from an affiliated network, or from external sources. The SBA has created the following small business size standard for Television Broadcasting firms: Those having $38.5 million or less in annual receipts.71 The 2012 Economic Census reports that 751 television broadcasting firms operated during that year. Of that number, 656 had annual receipts of less than $25 million per year. Based on that Census data we conclude that a majority of firms that operate television stations are small. The Commission has estimated the number of licensed commercial television stations to be 1,383.72 In addition, according to Commission staff review of the BIA Advisory Services, LLC’s Media Access Pro Television Database on March 28, 2012, about 950 of an estimated 1,300 commercial television stations (or approximately 73 percent) had revenues of $14 million or less.73 We therefore estimate that the majority of commercial television broadcasters are small entities. 17. In assessing whether a business concern qualifies as small under the above definition, business (control) affiliations 74 must be included. Our services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 62 Id. 63 Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3. 64 Id. 65 NAICS code 517210. See http:// www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ssd/naics/naiscsrch. 66 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 67 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType;=table. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:05 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 68 Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3. 69 Id. 70 U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 NAICS code Economic Definitions, http://www.census.gov.cgibin/sssd/naics/naicsrch. 71 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 515120. 72 See FCC News Release, ‘‘Broadcast Station Totals as of March 31, 2017,’’ April 11, 2017; https://;apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/ DOC-344256A1.pdf. 73 We recognize that BIA’s estimate differs slightly from the FCC total given supra. 74 ‘‘[Business concerns] are affiliates of each other when one concern controls or has the power to PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 50603 estimate, therefore, likely overstates the number of small entities that might be affected by our action, because the revenue figure on which it is based does not include or aggregate revenues from affiliated companies. In addition, an element of the definition of ‘‘small business’’ is that the entity not be dominant in its field of operation. We are unable at this time to define or quantify the criteria that would establish whether a specific television station is dominant in its field of operation. Accordingly, the estimate of small businesses to which rules may apply does not exclude any television station from the definition of a small business on this basis and is therefore possibly over-inclusive to that extent. 18. In addition, the Commission has estimated the number of licensed noncommercial educational (NCE) television stations to be 396.75 These stations are non-profit, and therefore considered to be small entities.76 There are also 2,528 low power television stations, including Class A stations (LPTV).77 Given the nature of these services, we will presume that all LPTV licensees qualify as small entities under the above SBA small business size standard. 19. Radio Broadcasting. This Economic Census category ‘‘comprises establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting aural programs by radio to the public. Programming may originate in their own studio, from an affiliated network, or from external sources.’’ 78 The SBA has established a small business size standard for this category, which is: Such firms having $38.5 million or less in annual receipts.79 U.S. Census data for 2012 show that 2,849 radio station firms operated during that year.80 Of that number, 2,806 operated with annual receipts of less than $25 million per year.81 According to Commission staff review of BIA Advisory Services, LLC’s Media Access control the other or a third party or parties controls or has to power to control both.’’ 13 CFR 21.103(a)(1). 75 See FCC News Release, ‘‘Broadcast Station Totals as of March 31, 2017,’’ April 11, 2017; https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/ DOC-344256A1.pdf. 76 See generally 5 U.S.C. 601(4), (6). 77 See FCC News Release, ‘‘Broadcast Station Totals as of March 31, 2017,’’ April 11, 2017; https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/ DOC-344256A1.pdf. 78 http://www.census.gov.cgi-bin/sssd/naics/ naicsrch. 79 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 515112. 80 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 81 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. E:\FR\FM\01NOP1.SGM 01NOP1 50604 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / Proposed Rules sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS Pro Radio Database on March 28, 2012, about 10,759 (97%) of 11,102 commercial radio stations had revenues of $38.5 million or less. Therefore, the majority of such entities are small entities. 20. In assessing whether a business concern qualifies as small under the above size standard, business affiliations must be included.82 In addition, to be determined to be a ‘‘small business,’’ the entity may not be dominant in its field of operation.83 It is difficult at times to assess these criteria in the context of media entities, and our estimate of small businesses may therefore be over-inclusive. 21. Cable Television and Other Subscription Programming. This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating studios and facilities for the broadcasting of programs on a subscription or fee basis. The broadcast programming is typically narrowcast in nature, e.g., limited format, such as news, sports, education, or youth-oriented. These establishments produce programming in their own facilities or acquire programming from external sources. The programming material is usually delivered to a third party, such as cable systems or directto-home satellite systems, for transmission to viewers.84 The SBA has established a size standard for this industry of $38.5 million or less. Census data for 2012 shows that there were 367 firms that operated that year.85 Of this total, 319 operated with annual receipts of less than $25 million.86 Thus under this size standard, the majority of firms offering cable and other program distribution services can be considered small and may be affected by rules proposed in this FNPRM. 22. Cable Companies and Systems. The Commission has developed its own small business size standards for cable rate regulation. Under the Commission’s rules, a ‘‘small cable company’’ is one serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers nationwide.87 Industry data indicate that there are currently 4,413 active 82 ‘‘Concerns and entities are affiliates of each other when one controls or has the power to control the other, or a third party or parties controls or has the power to control both. It does not matter whether control is exercised, so long as the power to control exists.’’ 13 CFR 121.103(a)(1) (an SBA regulation). 83 13 CFR 121.102(b) (an SBA regulation). 84 https://www.census.gov.cgi-bin/sssd/naics/ naicsrch. 85 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. 86 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US–51SSSZ5&prodType=Table. 87 47 CFR 76.901(e). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:05 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 cable systems in the United States.88 Of this total, all but ten cable operators nationwide are small under the 400,000subscriber size standard.89 In addition, under the Commission’s rate regulation rules, a ‘‘small system’’ is a cable system serving 15,000 or fewer subscribers.90 Current Commission records show 4,413 cable systems nationwide.91 Of this total, 3,900 cable systems have less than 15,000 subscribers, and 700 systems have 15,000 or more subscribers, based on the same records.92 Thus, under this standard as well, the Commission estimates that most cable systems are small entities. 23. Cable System Operators (Telecom Act Standard). The Communications Act also contains a size standard for small cable system operators, which is ‘‘a cable operator that, directly or through an affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed $250,000,000.’’ 93 There are approximately 53 million cable video subscribers in the United States today.94 Accordingly, an operator serving fewer than 524,037 subscribers shall be deemed a small operator if its annual revenues, when combined with the total annual revenues of all its affiliates, do not exceed $250 million in the aggregate.95 Based on available data, we find that all but nine incumbent cable operators are small entities under this size standard.96 The Commission neither requests nor collects information on whether cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual revenues exceed $250 million.97 Although it seems certain that some of these cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross 88 See Eighteenth Competition Report, 32 FCC Rcd at 584, para. 39 (citing the Commission’s Cable Operations and Licensing Systems (COALS) database). 89 See https://www.snl.com/web/client?auth= inherit#industry/topCableMSOs (last visited July 18, 2017). 90 47 CFR 76.901(c). 91 See footnote 2, supra. 92 August 5, 2015 report from the Media Bureau based on its research in COALS. See www.fcc.gov/ coals. 93 47 CFR 76.901(f) and notes ff. 1, 2, and 3. 94 See NCTA Industry Data, Cable’s Customer Base, available at https://www.ncta.com/industrydata (last visited July 6, 2017). 95 47 CFR 76.901(f) and notes ff. 1, 2, and 3. 96 See https://www.snl.com/web/client? auth=inherit#industry/topCableMSOs (last visited July 18, 2017). 97 The Commission does receive such information on a case-by-case basis if a cable operator appeals a local franchise authority’s finding that the operator does not qualify as a small cable operator pursuant to 47 CFR 76.901(f) of the Commission’s rules. See 47 CFR 76.901(f). PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 annual revenues exceed $250,000,000, we are unable at this time to estimate with greater precision the number of cable system operators that would qualify as small cable operators under the definition in the Communications Act. 24. Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) Service. DBS Service is a nationally distributed subscription service that delivers video and audio programming via satellite to a small parabolic dish antenna at the subscriber’s location. DBS is now included in SBA’s economic census category ‘‘Wired Telecommunications Carriers.’’ The Wired Telecommunications Carriers industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VOIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution; and wired broadband internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.98 The SBA determines that a wireline business is small if it has fewer than 1500 employees.99 Census data for 2012 indicate that 3,117 wireline companies were operational during that year. Of that number, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.100 Based on that data, we conclude that the majority of wireline firms are small under the applicable standard. However, only two entities provide DBS service, AT&T and DISH Network. AT&T and DISH Network each report annual revenues that are in excess of the threshold for a small business. Accordingly, we conclude that DBS service is provided only by large firms. 25. All Other Telecommunications. ‘‘All Other Telecommunications’’ is defined as follows: This U.S. industry is comprised of establishments that are primarily engaged in providing specialized telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking, 98 http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/ naicsrch. 99 NAICs code 517110; 13 CFR 121.201. 100 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services.jasf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid+ECN_ 2012_US.51SSSZ4&prodType=table. E:\FR\FM\01NOP1.SGM 01NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / Proposed Rules sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes establishments primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or more terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, and receiving telecommunications from, satellite systems. Establishments providing Internet services or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services via clientsupplied telecommunications connections are also included in this industry.101 The SBA has developed a small business size standard for ‘‘All Other Telecommunications,’’ which consists of all such firms with gross annual receipts of $32.5 million or less.102 For this category, census data for 2012 show that there were 1,442 firms that operated for the entire year. Of these firms, a total of 1,400 had gross annual receipts of less than $25 million.103 Thus, a majority of ‘‘All Other Telecommunications’’ firms potentially affected by the proposals in the Notice can be considered small. 26. RespOrgs. Responsible Organizations, or RespOrgs, are entities chosen by toll free subscribers to manage and administer the appropriate records in the toll-free Service Management System for the toll-free subscriber.104 Although RespOrgs are often wireline carriers, they can also include non-carrier entities. Therefore, in the definition herein of RespOrgs, two categories are presented, i.e., Carrier RespOrgs and Non-Carrier RespOrgs. 27. Carrier RespOrgs. Neither the Commission, the U.S. Census, nor the SBA have developed a definition for Carrier RespOrgs. Accordingly, the Commission believes that the closest NAICS code-based definitional categories for Carrier RespOrgs are Wired Telecommunications Carriers,105 and Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite).106 28. The U.S. Census Bureau defines Wired Telecommunications Carriers as establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired communications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a 101 http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ssssd/naics/ naicsrch. 102 13 CFR 121.201; NAICs code 517919. 103 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services.jasf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid+ECN_ 2012_US.51SSSZ4&prodType=table. 104 See 47 CFR 52.101(b). 105 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110. 106 Id. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:05 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution, and wired broadband internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.107 The SBA has developed a small business size standard for Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which consists of all such companies having 1,500 or fewer employees.108 Census data for 2012 show that there were 3,117 Wired Telecommunications Carrier firms that operated for that entire year. Of that number, 3,083 operated with less than 1,000 employees.109 Based on that data, we conclude that most Carrier RespOrgs that operated with wirelinebased technology are small. 29. The U.S. Census Bureau defines Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite) as establishments engaged in operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide communications via the airwaves, such as cellular services, paging services, wireless internet access, and wireless video services.110 The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is that such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.111 Census data for 2012 show that 967 Wireless Telecommunications Carriers operated in that year. Of that number, 955 operated with less than 1,000 employees.112 Based on that data, we conclude that the majority of Carrier RespOrgs that operated with wirelessbased technology are small. 30. Non-Carrier RespOrgs. Neither the Commission, the U.S. Census, nor the SBA have developed a definition of Non-Carrier RespOrgs. Accordingly, the Commission believes that the closest NAICS code-based definitional categories for Non-Carrier RespOrgs are ‘‘Other Services Related to Advertising’’ 113 and ‘‘Other Management Consulting Services.’’ 114 107 http://www.census,gov/cgi-bin/sssd/ naics.naicsrch. 108 13 CFR 120,201, NAICS code 517110. 109 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ4&prodType=table. 110 http://www.census,gov/cgi-bin/sssd/ naics.naicsrch. 111 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 517120. 112 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ4&prodType=table. 113 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 541890. 114 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 541618. PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 50605 31. The U.S. Census defines Other Services Related to Advertising as comprising establishments primarily engaged in providing advertising services (except advertising agency services, public relations agency services, media buying agency services, media representative services, display advertising services, direct mail advertising services, advertising material distribution services, and marketing consulting services).115 The SBA has established a size standard for this industry as annual receipts of $15 million dollars or less.116 Census data for 2012 show that 5,804 firms operated in this industry for the entire year. Of that number, 5,249 operated with annual receipts of less than $10 million.117 Based on that data we conclude that the majority of NonCarrier RespOrgs who provide toll-free number (TFN)-related advertising services are small. 32. The U.S. Census defines Other Management Consulting Services as establishments primarily engaged in providing management consulting services (except administrative and general management consulting; human resources consulting; marketing consulting; or process, physical distribution, and logistics consulting). Establishments providing telecommunications or utilities management consulting services are included in this industry.118 The SBA has established a size standard for this industry of $15 million dollars or less.119 Census data for 2012 show that 3,683 firms operated in this industry for that entire year. Of that number, 3,632 operated with less than $10 million in annual receipts.120 Based on this data, we conclude that a majority of noncarrier RespOrgs who provide TFNrelated management consulting services are small.121 33. In addition to the data contained in the four (see above) U.S. Census NAICS code categories that provide definitions of what services and functions the Carrier and Non-Carrier 115 http://www.census,gov/cgi-bin/sssd/ naics.naicsrch. 116 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 541890. 117 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ4&prodType=table. 118 http://www.census,gov/cgi-bin/sssd/ naics.naicsrch. 119 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 514618. 120 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/table services/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_ 2012_US_51SSSZ4&prodType=table. 121 The four NAICS code-based categories selected above to provide definitions for Carrier and Non-Carrier RespOrgs were selected because as a group they refer generically and comprehensively to all RespOrgs. E:\FR\FM\01NOP1.SGM 01NOP1 50606 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / Proposed Rules RespOrgs provide, Somos, the trade association that monitors RespOrg activities, compiled data showing that as of July 1, 2016, there were 23 RespOrgs operational in Canada and 436 RespOrgs operational in the United States, for a total of 459 RespOrgs currently registered with Somos. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS B. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Compliance Requirements 34. This FNPRM does not propose any changes to the Commission’s current information collection, reporting, recordkeeping, or compliance requirements. C. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered 35. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in reaching its approach, which may include the following four alternatives, among others: (1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.122 36. The FNPRM seeks comment regarding: (1) Adopting a new fivetiered flat rate methodology for assessing regulatory fees for terrestrial and satellite international bearer circuits (IBCs), revising the current five-tiered methodology for submarine cable systems, and adopting a new fee category for all holders of section 214 international authority and (2) revising the calculation for cable television ‘‘Bulk Rate Customers.’’ The proposals to adopt a flat five-tier methodology for terrestrial and satellite IBCs might provide relief to smaller entities that would fall into the lowest tier. The proposal to revise the calculation for Bulk Rate Customers for cable television, in multiple dwelling units (MDUs), may affect small cable operators who provide service to MDUs. We are seeking comment on this issue so that we can improve the calculation of customers in MDUs. D. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the Proposed Rules 37. None. 122 5 U.S.C. 603(c)(1) through (c)(4). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:05 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 IV. Ordering Clause 38. Accordingly, it is ordered that, pursuant to section 9 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 159, this Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is hereby adopted. Federal Communications Commission. Katura Jackson, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary. [FR Doc. 2017–23215 Filed 10–31–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2016–0127; FXES11130900000 167 FF09E42000] RIN 1018–BB39 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum (Hidden Lake Bluecurls) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of the comment period. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce that we are reopening the comment period for the proposed rule to remove the plant Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum (Hidden Lake bluecurls) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants on the basis of recovery. We are reopening the comment period for this proposed rule for 30 days in order to publish a legal notice and to give all interested parties further opportunity to comment on the proposed rule. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted, as they will be fully considered in preparing the final delisting determination. DATES: The comment period on the proposed rule that published January 5, 2017 (82 FR 1297), is reopened. We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before December 1, 2017. SUMMARY: Comment submission: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R8–ES–2016–0127, which is ADDRESSES: PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the docket number for this rulemaking. Then click on the Search button. On the resulting page, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on ‘‘Comment Now!’’. (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-deliver to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–R8– ES–2016–0127, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. We request that you send comments only by the methods described above. We will post all comments on http:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us. Document availability: A copy of the draft post-delisting monitoring plan referenced throughout the proposed rule can be viewed at http://ecos.fws.gov/ ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?sId=1285, at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2016–0127, or at the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office’s Web site at http://www.fws.gov/ Carlsbad/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: G. Mendel Stewart, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 2177 Salk Avenue, Suite 250, Carlsbad, CA 92008; telephone 760–431–9440; facsimile (fax) 760–431–5901. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On January 5, 2017, we published a proposed rule to remove the plant Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum (Hidden Lake bluecurls) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants on the basis of recovery (82 FR 1297). We sought information, data, and comments from the public regarding the proposal for 60 days, ending March 6, 2017. We are reopening the comment period on the proposed rule for an additional 30 days (see DATES). We will accept written comments and information during this reopened comment period. Please refer to the proposed rule for more information on our proposed action and the specific information we seek. You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. All E:\FR\FM\01NOP1.SGM 01NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 210 (Wednesday, November 1, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 50598-50606]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-23215]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 1

[MD Docket Nos. 17-134; FCC 17-111]


Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2017

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission 
(Commission) seeks further comment on the appropriate tiers for 
calculating terrestrial and satellite international bearer circuit 
fees, and the methodology by which cable television subscribers in 
multiple dwelling units (MDUs) are calculated.

DATES: Comments are due on or before December 1, 2017 and reply 
comments are due on or before December 18, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by MD Docket No. 17-134, 
by any of the following methods listed in the Comment Filing Procedures 
section below.
    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roland Helvajian, Office of Managing 
Director at (202) 418-0444.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's 
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), FCC 17-111, MD Docket 
No. 17-134 adopted on September 1, 2017 and released on September 5, 
2017. The full text of this document is available for inspection and 
copying during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Center, 445 
12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Portals II, Washington, DC 20554, and 
may also be purchased from the Commission's copy contractor, BCPI, 
Inc., Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 
20554. Customers may contact BCPI, Inc. via their Web site, http://www.bcpi.com, or call 1-800-378-3160. This document is available in 
alternative formats (computer diskette, large print, audio record, and 
Braille). Persons with disabilities who need documents in

[[Page 50599]]

these formats may contact the FCC by email: [email protected] or phone: 
202-418-0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.

I. Procedural Matters

A. Ex Parte Rules Permit-But-Disclose Proceeding

    1. This Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FY 2017 FNPRM) shall 
be treated as a ``permit-but-disclose'' proceeding in accordance with 
the Commission's ex parte rules. Persons making ex parte presentations 
must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum 
summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the 
presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine 
period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are 
reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must list all 
persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which 
the ex parte presentation was made, and summarize all data presented 
and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation 
consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments 
already reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda, or 
other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to 
such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or 
other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers 
where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them 
in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during 
ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and 
must be filed consistent with Sec.  1.1206(b). In proceedings governed 
by Sec.  1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a 
method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and 
memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments 
thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system 
available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format 
(e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this 
proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte 
rules.

B. Comment Filing Procedures

    2. Comments and Replies. Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  1.415 and 1.419 of 
the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may 
file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on 
the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using: (1) The 
Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), (2) the Federal 
Government's eRulemaking Portal, or (3) by filing paper copies. See 
Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 
(1998).
     Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/ or the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must 
file an original and four copies of each filing. If more than one 
docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, 
filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or 
rulemaking number.
    Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial 
overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service 
mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, 
Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
    [ssquf] All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for 
the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 
12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 
8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with 
rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes must be disposed of before 
entering the building.
    [ssquf] Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, 
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701.
    [ssquf] U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail 
must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.
    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible 
formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic 
files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the 
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-
418-0432 (tty).
    3. Availability of Documents. Comments, reply comments, and ex 
parte submissions will be available for public inspection during 
regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal 
Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., CY-A257, Washington, DC 
20554. These documents will also be available free online, via ECFS. 
Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Word, and/or Adobe 
Acrobat.
    4. Accessibility Information. To request information in accessible 
formats (computer diskettes, large print, audio recording, and 
Braille), send an email to [email protected] or call the Commission's 
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), 
(202) 418-0432 (TTY). This document can also be downloaded in Word and 
Portable Document Format (``PDF'') at: http://www.fcc.gov.

C. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    5. An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) is contained 
in this summary. Comments to the IRFA must be identified as responses 
to the IRFA and filed by the deadlines for comments on the Notice. The 
Commission will send a copy of the Notice, including the IRFA, to the 
Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

D. Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    6. This document does not contain new or modified information 
collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(PRA), Public Law 104-13. In addition, therefore, it does not contain 
any new or modified information collection burden for small business 
concerns with fewer than 25 employees, pursuant to the Small Business 
Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 
3506(c)(4).

II. Introduction

    7. In this Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we seek further 
comment on the appropriate tiers for calculating terrestrial and 
satellite international bearer circuit fees raised in the FY 2016 NPRM 
and the FY 2017 NPRM and the methodology for calculating cable 
television subscribers in multiple dwelling units (MDUs) raised in the 
FY 2008 FNPRM.\1\
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    \1\ FY 2008 FNPRM, 73 FR 50285, 50290 at paragraphs 27-28.
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A. International Bearer Circuits

    8. We seek further comment on this issue to have a more 
comprehensive record for adopting a new flat rate methodology for 
terrestrial and satellite IBCs and to revise the tiers for submarine 
cable systems. We also seek comment on the proposal to adopt a 
regulatory fee for all holders of section 214 international 
authorizations.
    9. In the Submarine Cable Order, the Commission adopted a tiered 
system using gigabits per second (Gbps)

[[Page 50600]]

increments (instead of 64 kbps \2\). The tiers adopted for submarine 
cable systems at that time were as follows: ``large'' systems, 20 Gbps 
or more, paying one payment unit each; systems with capacity equal to 
or greater than 10 Gbps but less than 20 Gbps, paying 50 percent of a 
payment unit; systems with capacity equal to or greater than 5 Gbps but 
less than 10 Gbps, paying 25 percent of a payment unit; systems with 
capacity equal to or greater than 2.5 Gbps but less than 5 Gbps, paying 
12.5 percent of a payment unit; and systems with capacity below 2.5 
Gbps paying 6.25 percent of a payment unit.\3\
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    \2\ Sixty-four Kbps is the unit of measurement for voice grade 
circuits; submarine cable, terrestrial, and satellite international 
bearer circuits are now largely used for data.
    \3\ Submarine Cable Order, 74 FR 22104, 22107 at paragraph 16 
(May 12, 2009).
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    10. We propose revising the tiers for submarine cable systems. We 
recognize that since we adopted the current tiers for submarine cable 
systems, the subsequent growth in the industry has moved all but two 
systems to the highest tier. We seek comment on whether we should 
revise the tiers. For example, we could adopt the following: Systems 
with capacity of 10,000 Gbps or more, paying 16 payment units each; 
systems with capacity equal to or greater than 5,000 Gbps but less than 
10,000 Gbps, paying eight payment units; systems with capacity equal to 
or greater than 2,500 Gbps but less than 5,000 Gbps, paying four 
payment units; systems with capacity equal to or greater than 1,000 
Gbps but less than 2,500 Gbps, paying two payment units; and systems 
with capacity below 1,000 Gbps paying one payment unit. We seek comment 
on this proposal.
    11. We also propose adopting, for terrestrial and satellite IBCs, 
the same five tiers used for submarine cable systems. Level 3 contends 
that two tiers would be sufficient for terrestrial and satellite IBCs 
to ensure that larger carriers pay a fair amount and to avoid being a 
barrier to entry for new providers.\4\ AT&T opposes a two-tiered 
approach, contending that the disparities between the volumes of 
circuits held by different operators may be too large to structure a 
reasonable and fair system.\5\ We seek comment on whether we should 
adopt the same tiers for common carrier and non-common carrier 
terrestrial and satellite IBCs. Commenters proposing different tiers, 
including fewer or greater numbers of tiers, should explain how their 
proposals would be more equitable.
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    \4\ Level 3 June 29, 2017 ex parte at 1.
    \5\ AT&T Reply Comments at 3.
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    12. In its comments, the Coalition suggested that the Commission 
should adopt a fee methodology based on flat fee from every holder of 
an international section 214 authorization.\6\ We seek further comment 
on this approach. Should a flat fee based on holding an international 
section 214 authorization replace only the terrestrial and satellite 
IBCs regulatory fees, with submarine cable IBCs continuing to be 
assessed on holding a cable landing license, or should it replace all 
IBC regulatory fees (i.e., terrestrial, satellite and submarine cable)? 
Would a flat fee on an international section 214 authorization reduce 
administrative burdens in collecting the IBC fee? The Coalition states 
that there are approximately 7,000 current international section 214 
authorizations,\7\ but CTIA notes that many of those are held by 
companies that do not actually provide international service and many 
companies hold multiple authorizations.\8\ We seek comment on whether a 
fee should be applied to every holder of an international section 214 
authorization regardless of the number of international section 214 
authorizations held. Alternatively, should a set fee be applied to 
every international section 214 authorization? We also seek comment on 
whether there should be a different fee based on whether the 
international section 214 authorization is for resale only or for 
facilities-based services. We seek comment on whether a fee based on 
international section 214 authorizations should be calibrated based on 
size. For example, should there be one fee for resale, another up to a 
certain number of circuits, and a larger fee for any circuits above 
that amount? We seek comment on CITA's assertion that there are no 
additional, ongoing costs associated with international section 214 
authorizations that are not already covered by the application fees.\9\ 
We seek comment on whether a fee applied to each section 214 
authorization holder would capture most carriers that provide non-
common carrier services or are there a number of carriers that provide 
only non-common carrier international services?
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    \6\ Coalition Comments at 8-10.
    \7\ Coalition Comments at 9.
    \8\ CTIA Reply at 8.
    \9\ CTIA Reply at 9.
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B. Cable Television Services--Calculation of Number of Subscribers

    13. In the FY 2008 FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on the bulk 
rate calculation for determining the number of subscribers in a 
multiple dwelling unit or MDU.\10\ The methodology for calculating the 
number of cable subscribers has since been the following:
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    \10\ FY 2008 Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 73 FR 50285, 
50290 at paragraphs 27-28, August 26, 2008, (FY 2008 Further 
Notice).

    Cable television system operators should compute their number of 
basic subscribers as follows: Number of single family dwellings + 
number of individual households in multiple dwelling unit 
(apartments, condominiums, mobile home parks, etc.) paying at the 
basic subscriber rate + bulk rate customers + courtesy and free 
service. Note: Bulk-Rate Customers = Total annual bulk-rate charge 
divided by basic annual subscription rate for individual households. 
Operators may base their count on ``a typical day in the last full 
week'' of December [year], rather than on a count as of December 31, 
[year].\11\
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    \11\ This is essentially the same methodology we sought comment 
on in the FY 2008 FNPRM.

    14. We recognize that the cable television industry has evolved 
significantly and the bulk rate calculation may not be reasonable or 
feasible today because of the many services offered today by cable 
providers. Specifically, with offerings of different packages and 
bundles, it may no longer be feasible to use a bulk rate calculation. 
Commenters should discuss if they use the bulk rate calculation or if 
they separately count each subscriber, even those living in MDUs.
    15. We seek comment on whether we should keep the bulk rate 
calculation, or alternatively, whether we should modify the methodology 
to more accurately calculate the numbers of subscribers in a MDU. We 
seek comment on whether we should eliminate the bulk rate calculation 
due to changes in today's cable market.

III. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as 
amended (RFA),\12\ the Commission prepared this Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact 
on small entities by the policies and rules proposed in the Further 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM). Written comments are requested 
on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and 
must be filed by the deadline for comments on this Further Notice. The 
Commission will send a copy of the Further Notice, including the IRFA, 
to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration 
(SBA).\13\

[[Page 50601]]

In addition, the FNPRM and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be 
published in the Federal Register.\14\
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    \12\ 5 U.S.C. 603. The RFA, 5 U.S.C. 601-612 has been amended by 
the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 
(SBREFA), Public Law Number 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 847 (1996).
    \13\ 5 U.S.C. 603(a).
    \14\ Id.
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A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Further Notice

    2. The FNPRM seeks comment regarding (1) adopting a new five-tiered 
flat rate methodology for assessing regulatory fees for terrestrial and 
satellite international bearer circuits (IBCs), revising the tiers for 
submarine cable systems, and adopting a new fee category for all 
holders of section 214 international authority and (2) revising the 
calculation for cable television ``Bulk Rate Customers.''

B. Legal Basis

    3. This action, including publication of proposed rules, is 
authorized under sections (4)(i) and (j), 9, and 303(r) of the 
Communications Act of 1934, as amended.\15\
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    \15\ 47 U.S.C. 154(i) and (j), 159, and 303(r).
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A. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which 
the Rules Will Apply

    4. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where 
feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be 
affected by the proposed rules and policies, if adopted.\16\ The RFA 
generally defines the term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning 
as the terms ``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small 
governmental jurisdiction.'' \17\ In addition, the term ``small 
business'' has the same meaning as the term ``small business concern'' 
under the Small Business Act.\18\ A ``small business concern'' is one 
which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in 
its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria 
established by the SBA.\19\
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    \16\ 5 U.S.C. 603(b)(3).
    \17\ 5 U.S.C. 601(6).
    \18\ 5 U.S.C. 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition 
of ``small-business concern'' in the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 
632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 601(3), the statutory definition of a 
small business applies ``unless an agency, after consultation with 
the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and 
after opportunity for public comment, establishes one or more 
definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of 
the agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal 
Register.''
    \19\ 15 U.S.C. 632.
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    5. Small Entities. Our actions, over time, may affect small 
entities that are not easily categorized at present. We therefore 
describe here, at the outset, three comprehensive small entity size 
standards that could be directly affected by the proposals under 
consideration.\20\ As of 2009, small businesses represented 99.9 
percent of the 27.5 million businesses in the United States, according 
to the SBA.\21\ In addition, a ``small organization is generally any 
not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and 
not dominant in its field.\22\ In addition, the term ``small 
governmental jurisdiction'' is defined generally as ``governments of 
cities, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special 
districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand.'' \23\ U.S. 
Census Bureau data for 2011 indicate that there were 90,056 local 
governmental jurisdictions in the United States.\24\ We estimate that, 
of this total, as many as 89,327 entities may qualify as ``small 
governmental jurisdictions.'' \25\ Thus, we estimate that most local 
government jurisdictions are small.
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    \20\ See 5 U.S.C. 601(3) through (6).
    \21\ See SBA, Office of Advocacy, ``Frequently Asked 
Questions,'' available at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/SB-FAQ-2016_WEB.pdf.
    \22\ 5 U.S.C. 601(4).
    \23\ 5 U.S.C. 601(5).
    \24\ See SBA, Office of Advocacy, ``Frequently Asked 
Questions,'' available at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/SB-FAQ-2016_WEB.pdf.
    \25\ The 2011 U.S. Census Data for small governmental 
organizations are not presented based on the size of the population 
in each organization. As stated above, there were 90,056 local 
governmental organizations in 2011. As a basis for estimating how 
many of these 90,056 local governmental organizations were small, we 
note that there were a total of 729 cities and towns (incorporated 
places and civil divisions) with populations over 50,000. See http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table. If we 
subtract the 729 cities and towns that exceed the 50,000 population 
threshold, we conclude that approximately 789,237 are small.
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    6. Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The U.S. Census Bureau 
defines this industry as ``establishments primarily engaged in 
operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and 
infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of 
voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired communications 
networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology 
or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use 
the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to 
provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, 
including VoIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming 
distribution, and wired broadband internet services. By exception, 
establishments providing satellite television distribution services 
using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in 
this industry.'' \26\ The SBA has developed a small business size 
standard for Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which consists of all 
such companies having 1,500 or fewer employees.\27\ Census data for 
2012 shows that there were 3,117 firms that operated that year. Of this 
total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.\28\ Thus, under 
this size standard, the majority of firms in this industry can be 
considered small.
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    \26\ See http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch.
    \27\ See 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 517110.
    \28\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pi=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
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    7. Local Exchange Carriers (LECs). Neither the Commission nor the 
SBA has developed a size standard for small businesses specifically 
applicable to local exchange services. The closest applicable NAICS 
code category is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size 
standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer 
employees.\29\ According to census data from 2012, there were 3,117 
establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 3,083 operated 
with fewer than 1,000 employees.\30\ The Commission estimates that most 
providers of local exchange service are small entities that may be 
affected by the rules proposed in the FNPRM.
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    \29\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
    \30\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pi=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
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    8. Incumbent LECs. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed 
a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local 
exchange services. The closest applicable NAICS code category is Wired 
Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business 
is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.\31\ According to census 
data from 2012, 3,117 firms operated in that year. Of this total, 3,083 
operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.\32\ According to Commission 
data, 1,307 carriers reported that they were incumbent local exchange 
service providers.\33\ Of this total of 1,307 incumbent local exchange 
service providers, an estimated 1,006 operated with 1,500 or fewer 
employees.\34\ Consequently, the Commission estimates that most 
providers of

[[Page 50602]]

incumbent local exchange service are small businesses that may be 
affected by the rules proposed in this Further Notice.
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    \31\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
    \32\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5prodType=table.
    \33\ See Trends in Telephone Service, Federal Communications 
Commission, Wireline Competition Bureau, Industry Analysis and 
Technology Division at Table 5.3 (Sept. 2010) (Trends in Telephone 
Service).
    \34\ See id.
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    9. Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (Competitive LECs), 
Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, 
and Other Local Service Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA 
has developed a small business size standard specifically for these 
service providers. The appropriate NAICS code category is Wired 
Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business 
is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.\35\ U.S. Census data for 
2012 indicate that 3,117 firms operated during that year. Of that 
number, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.\36\ Based on 
this data, the Commission concludes that the majority of Competitive 
LECs, CAPs, Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service 
Providers are small entities. According to the Commission data, 1,442 
carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of either 
competitive local exchange services or competitive access provider 
services.\37\ Of these 1,442 carriers, an estimated 1,256 have 1,500 or 
fewer employees. In addition, 17 carriers have reported that they are 
Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and all 17 are estimated to have 1,500 
or fewer employees.\38\ Also, 72 carriers have reported that they are 
Other Local Service Providers.\39\ Of this total, 70 have 1,500 or 
fewer employees.\40\ Consequently, the Commission estimates that most 
providers of competitive local exchange service, competitive access 
providers, Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service 
Providers are small entities that may be affected by rules proposed in 
this FNPRM.
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    \35\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
    \36\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
    \37\ See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.
    \38\ Id.
    \39\ Id.
    \40\ Id.
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    10. Interexchange Carriers (IXCs). Neither the Commission nor the 
SBA has developed a definition for Interexchange Carriers. The closest 
NAICS code category is Wired Telecommunications Carriers as defined in 
paragraph 6 of this IRFA. The applicable size standard under SBA rules 
is that such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer 
employees.\41\ U.S. Census data for 2012 indicate that 3,117 firms 
operated during that year. Of that number, 3,083 operated with fewer 
than 1,000 employees.\42\ According to Commission data, 359 companies 
reported that their primary telecommunications service activity was the 
provision of interexchange services.\43\ Of this total, an estimated 
317 have 1,500 or fewer employees. Consequently, the Commission 
estimates that the majority of interexchange service providers are 
small entities that may be affected by rules proposed in this FNPRM
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    \41\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
    \42\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
    \43\ See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.
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    11. Prepaid Calling Card Providers. Neither the Commission nor the 
SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for 
prepaid calling card providers. The appropriate NAICS code category for 
prepaid calling card providers is Telecommunications Resellers. This 
industry comprises establishments engaged in purchasing access and 
network capacity from owners and operators of telecommunications 
networks and reselling wired and wireless telecommunications services 
(except satellite) to businesses and households. Establishments in this 
industry resell telecommunications; they do not operate transmission 
facilities and infrastructure. Mobile virtual networks operators 
(MVNOs) are included in this industry.\44\ Under the applicable SBA 
size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer 
employees.\45\ U.S. Census data for 2012 show that 1,341 firms provided 
resale services during that year. Of that number, 1,341 operated with 
fewer than 1,000 employees.\46\ Thus, under this category and the 
associated small business size standard, the majority of these prepaid 
calling card providers can be considered small entities. According to 
Commission data, 193 carriers have reported that they are engaged in 
the provision of prepaid calling cards.\47\ All 193 carriers have 1,500 
or fewer employees.\48\ Consequently, the Commission estimates that the 
majority of prepaid calling card providers are small entities that may 
be affected by rules proposed in this FNPRM.
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    \44\ http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ssd/naics/naicsrch.
    \45\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517911.
    \46\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
    \47\ See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.
    \48\ Id.
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    12. Local Resellers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has 
developed a small business size standard specifically for Local 
Resellers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for the 
category of Telecommunications Resellers. Under that size standard, 
such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.\49\ Census 
data for 2012 show that 1,341 firms provided resale services during 
that year. \50\ Of that number, 1,341 operated with fewer than 1,000 
employees.\51\ Under this category and the associated small business 
size standard, the majority of these local resellers can be considered 
small entities. According to Commission data, 213 carriers have 
reported that they are engaged in the provision of local resale 
services.\52\ Of this total, an estimated 211 have 1,500 or fewer 
employees.\53\ Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority 
of local resellers are small entities that may be affected by rules 
proposed in this Further Notice.
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    \49\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517911.
    \50\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
    \51\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
    \52\ See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.
    \53\ Id.
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    13. Toll Resellers. The Commission has not developed a definition 
for Toll Resellers. The closest NAICS code Category is 
Telecommunications Resellers, and the SBA has developed a small 
business size standard for the category of Telecommunications 
Resellers.\54\ Under that size standard, such a business is small if it 
has 1,500 or fewer employees.\55\ Census data for 2012 show that 1,341 
firms provided resale services during that year.\56\ Of that number, 
1,341 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.\57\ Thus, under this 
category and the associated small business size standard, the majority 
of these resellers can be considered small entities. According to 
Commission data, 881 carriers have reported that they are engaged in 
the provision of toll resale services.\58\ Of this total, an estimated 
857 have 1,500 or fewer employees.\59\ Consequently, the Commission 
estimates that the majority of toll resellers are small entities that 
may be affected by the rules proposed in the FNPRM.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \54\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517911.
    \55\ Id.
    \56\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
    \57\ Id.
    \58\ Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.
    \59\ Id.
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    14. Other Toll Carriers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has 
developed a size standard for small businesses

[[Page 50603]]

specifically applicable to Other Toll Carriers. This category includes 
toll carriers that do not fall within the categories of interexchange 
carriers, operator service providers, prepaid calling card providers, 
satellite service carriers, or toll resellers. The closest applicable 
NAICS code category is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers, as 
defined in paragraph 6 of this IRFA. Under that size standard, such a 
business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.\60\ Census data 
for 2012 shows that there were 3,117 firms that operated that year.\61\ 
Of this total, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.\62\ 
Thus, under this category and the associated small business size 
standard, the majority of Other Toll Carriers can be considered small. 
According to Commission data, 284 companies reported that their primary 
telecommunications service activity was the provision of other toll 
carriage.\63\ Of these, an estimated 279 have 1,500 or fewer 
employees.\64\ Consequently, the Commission estimates that most Other 
Toll Carriers are small entities that may be affected by the rules 
proposed in the FNPRM
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \60\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
    \61\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
    \62\ Id.
    \63\ Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.
    \64\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    15. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). This 
industry comprises establishments engaged in operating and maintaining 
switching and transmission facilities to provide communications via the 
airwaves. Establishments in this industry have spectrum licenses and 
provide services using that spectrum, such as cellular services, paging 
services, wireless internet access, and wireless video services.\65\ 
The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is that such a business 
is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For this industry, Census 
Data for 2012 show that there were 967 firms that operated for the 
entire year.\66\ Of this total, 955 firms had fewer than 1,000 
employees.\67\ Thus under this category and the associated size 
standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless 
telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities. 
Similarly, according to Commission data, 413 carriers reported that 
they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony, including 
cellular service, Personal Communications Service (PCS), and 
Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) services.\68\ Of this total, an 
estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees.\69\ Thus, using available 
data, we estimate that the majority of wireless firms can be considered 
small and may be affected by rules proposed in this FNPRM.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \65\ NAICS code 517210. See http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ssd/
naics/naiscsrch.
    \66\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
    \67\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType;=table.
    \68\ Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.
    \69\ Id.
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    16. Television Broadcasting. This Economic Census category 
``comprises establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting images 
together with sound. These establishments operate television 
broadcasting studios and facilities for the programming and 
transmission of programs to the public.'' \70\ These establishments 
also produce or transmit visual programming to affiliated broadcast 
television stations, which in turn broadcast the programs to the public 
on a predetermined schedule. Programming may originate in their own 
studio, from an affiliated network, or from external sources. The SBA 
has created the following small business size standard for Television 
Broadcasting firms: Those having $38.5 million or less in annual 
receipts.\71\ The 2012 Economic Census reports that 751 television 
broadcasting firms operated during that year. Of that number, 656 had 
annual receipts of less than $25 million per year. Based on that Census 
data we conclude that a majority of firms that operate television 
stations are small. The Commission has estimated the number of licensed 
commercial television stations to be 1,383.\72\ In addition, according 
to Commission staff review of the BIA Advisory Services, LLC's Media 
Access Pro Television Database on March 28, 2012, about 950 of an 
estimated 1,300 commercial television stations (or approximately 73 
percent) had revenues of $14 million or less.\73\ We therefore estimate 
that the majority of commercial television broadcasters are small 
entities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \70\ U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 NAICS code Economic Definitions, 
http://www.census.gov.cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch.
    \71\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 515120.
    \72\ See FCC News Release, ``Broadcast Station Totals as of 
March 31, 2017,'' April 11, 2017; https://;apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-344256A1.pdf.
    \73\ We recognize that BIA's estimate differs slightly from the 
FCC total given supra.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    17. In assessing whether a business concern qualifies as small 
under the above definition, business (control) affiliations \74\ must 
be included. Our estimate, therefore, likely overstates the number of 
small entities that might be affected by our action, because the 
revenue figure on which it is based does not include or aggregate 
revenues from affiliated companies. In addition, an element of the 
definition of ``small business'' is that the entity not be dominant in 
its field of operation. We are unable at this time to define or 
quantify the criteria that would establish whether a specific 
television station is dominant in its field of operation. Accordingly, 
the estimate of small businesses to which rules may apply does not 
exclude any television station from the definition of a small business 
on this basis and is therefore possibly over-inclusive to that extent.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \74\ ``[Business concerns] are affiliates of each other when one 
concern controls or has the power to control the other or a third 
party or parties controls or has to power to control both.'' 13 CFR 
21.103(a)(1).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    18. In addition, the Commission has estimated the number of 
licensed noncommercial educational (NCE) television stations to be 
396.\75\ These stations are non-profit, and therefore considered to be 
small entities.\76\ There are also 2,528 low power television stations, 
including Class A stations (LPTV).\77\ Given the nature of these 
services, we will presume that all LPTV licensees qualify as small 
entities under the above SBA small business size standard.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \75\ See FCC News Release, ``Broadcast Station Totals as of 
March 31, 2017,'' April 11, 2017; https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-344256A1.pdf.
    \76\ See generally 5 U.S.C. 601(4), (6).
    \77\ See FCC News Release, ``Broadcast Station Totals as of 
March 31, 2017,'' April 11, 2017; https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-344256A1.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    19. Radio Broadcasting. This Economic Census category ``comprises 
establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting aural programs by 
radio to the public. Programming may originate in their own studio, 
from an affiliated network, or from external sources.'' \78\ The SBA 
has established a small business size standard for this category, which 
is: Such firms having $38.5 million or less in annual receipts.\79\ 
U.S. Census data for 2012 show that 2,849 radio station firms operated 
during that year.\80\ Of that number, 2,806 operated with annual 
receipts of less than $25 million per year.\81\ According to Commission 
staff review of BIA Advisory Services, LLC's Media Access

[[Page 50604]]

Pro Radio Database on March 28, 2012, about 10,759 (97%) of 11,102 
commercial radio stations had revenues of $38.5 million or less. 
Therefore, the majority of such entities are small entities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \78\ http://www.census.gov.cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch.
    \79\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 515112.
    \80\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
    \81\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    20. In assessing whether a business concern qualifies as small 
under the above size standard, business affiliations must be 
included.\82\ In addition, to be determined to be a ``small business,'' 
the entity may not be dominant in its field of operation.\83\ It is 
difficult at times to assess these criteria in the context of media 
entities, and our estimate of small businesses may therefore be over-
inclusive.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \82\ ``Concerns and entities are affiliates of each other when 
one controls or has the power to control the other, or a third party 
or parties controls or has the power to control both. It does not 
matter whether control is exercised, so long as the power to control 
exists.'' 13 CFR 121.103(a)(1) (an SBA regulation).
    \83\ 13 CFR 121.102(b) (an SBA regulation).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    21. Cable Television and Other Subscription Programming. This 
industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating 
studios and facilities for the broadcasting of programs on a 
subscription or fee basis. The broadcast programming is typically 
narrowcast in nature, e.g., limited format, such as news, sports, 
education, or youth-oriented. These establishments produce programming 
in their own facilities or acquire programming from external sources. 
The programming material is usually delivered to a third party, such as 
cable systems or direct-to-home satellite systems, for transmission to 
viewers.\84\ The SBA has established a size standard for this industry 
of $38.5 million or less. Census data for 2012 shows that there were 
367 firms that operated that year.\85\ Of this total, 319 operated with 
annual receipts of less than $25 million.\86\ Thus under this size 
standard, the majority of firms offering cable and other program 
distribution services can be considered small and may be affected by 
rules proposed in this FNPRM.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \84\ https://www.census.gov.cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch.
    \85\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.
    \86\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=Table">http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=Table.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    22. Cable Companies and Systems. The Commission has developed its 
own small business size standards for cable rate regulation. Under the 
Commission's rules, a ``small cable company'' is one serving 400,000 or 
fewer subscribers nationwide.\87\ Industry data indicate that there are 
currently 4,413 active cable systems in the United States.\88\ Of this 
total, all but ten cable operators nationwide are small under the 
400,000-subscriber size standard.\89\ In addition, under the 
Commission's rate regulation rules, a ``small system'' is a cable 
system serving 15,000 or fewer subscribers.\90\ Current Commission 
records show 4,413 cable systems nationwide.\91\ Of this total, 3,900 
cable systems have less than 15,000 subscribers, and 700 systems have 
15,000 or more subscribers, based on the same records.\92\ Thus, under 
this standard as well, the Commission estimates that most cable systems 
are small entities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \87\ 47 CFR 76.901(e).
    \88\ See Eighteenth Competition Report, 32 FCC Rcd at 584, para. 
39 (citing the Commission's Cable Operations and Licensing Systems 
(COALS) database).
    \89\ See https://www.snl.com/web/client?auth=inherit#industry/topCableMSOs (last visited July 18, 2017).
    \90\ 47 CFR 76.901(c).
    \91\ See footnote 2, supra.
    \92\ August 5, 2015 report from the Media Bureau based on its 
research in COALS. See www.fcc.gov/coals.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    23. Cable System Operators (Telecom Act Standard). The 
Communications Act also contains a size standard for small cable system 
operators, which is ``a cable operator that, directly or through an 
affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent of all 
subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated with any entity 
or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed 
$250,000,000.'' \93\ There are approximately 53 million cable video 
subscribers in the United States today.\94\ Accordingly, an operator 
serving fewer than 524,037 subscribers shall be deemed a small operator 
if its annual revenues, when combined with the total annual revenues of 
all its affiliates, do not exceed $250 million in the aggregate.\95\ 
Based on available data, we find that all but nine incumbent cable 
operators are small entities under this size standard.\96\ The 
Commission neither requests nor collects information on whether cable 
system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual 
revenues exceed $250 million.\97\ Although it seems certain that some 
of these cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose 
gross annual revenues exceed $250,000,000, we are unable at this time 
to estimate with greater precision the number of cable system operators 
that would qualify as small cable operators under the definition in the 
Communications Act.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \93\ 47 CFR 76.901(f) and notes ff. 1, 2, and 3.
    \94\ See NCTA Industry Data, Cable's Customer Base, available at 
https://www.ncta.com/industry-data (last visited July 6, 2017).
    \95\ 47 CFR 76.901(f) and notes ff. 1, 2, and 3.
    \96\ See https://www.snl.com/web/client?auth=inherit#industry/topCableMSOs (last visited July 18, 2017).
    \97\ The Commission does receive such information on a case-by-
case basis if a cable operator appeals a local franchise authority's 
finding that the operator does not qualify as a small cable operator 
pursuant to 47 CFR 76.901(f) of the Commission's rules. See 47 CFR 
76.901(f).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    24. Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) Service. DBS Service is a 
nationally distributed subscription service that delivers video and 
audio programming via satellite to a small parabolic dish antenna at 
the subscriber's location. DBS is now included in SBA's economic census 
category ``Wired Telecommunications Carriers.'' The Wired 
Telecommunications Carriers industry comprises establishments primarily 
engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities 
and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of 
voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications 
networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology 
or combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the 
wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to 
provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, 
including VOIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming 
distribution; and wired broadband internet services. By exception, 
establishments providing satellite television distribution services 
using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in 
this industry.\98\ The SBA determines that a wireline business is small 
if it has fewer than 1500 employees.\99\ Census data for 2012 indicate 
that 3,117 wireline companies were operational during that year. Of 
that number, 3,083 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.\100\ Based 
on that data, we conclude that the majority of wireline firms are small 
under the applicable standard. However, only two entities provide DBS 
service, AT&T and DISH Network. AT&T and DISH Network each report 
annual revenues that are in excess of the threshold for a small 
business. Accordingly, we conclude that DBS service is provided only by 
large firms.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \98\ http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch.
    \99\ NAICs code 517110; 13 CFR 121.201.
    \100\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices.jasf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid+ECN_2012_US.51SSSZ4&prodType=table.
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    25. All Other Telecommunications. ``All Other Telecommunications'' 
is defined as follows: This U.S. industry is comprised of 
establishments that are primarily engaged in providing specialized 
telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking,

[[Page 50605]]

communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry 
also includes establishments primarily engaged in providing satellite 
terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or more 
terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, 
and receiving telecommunications from, satellite systems. 
Establishments providing Internet services or Voice over Internet 
Protocol (VoIP) services via client-supplied telecommunications 
connections are also included in this industry.\101\ The SBA has 
developed a small business size standard for ``All Other 
Telecommunications,'' which consists of all such firms with gross 
annual receipts of $32.5 million or less.\102\ For this category, 
census data for 2012 show that there were 1,442 firms that operated for 
the entire year. Of these firms, a total of 1,400 had gross annual 
receipts of less than $25 million.\103\ Thus, a majority of ``All Other 
Telecommunications'' firms potentially affected by the proposals in the 
Notice can be considered small.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \101\ http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ssssd/naics/naicsrch.
    \102\ 13 CFR 121.201; NAICs code 517919.
    \103\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices.jasf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid+ECN_2012_US.51SSSZ4&prodType=table.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    26. RespOrgs. Responsible Organizations, or RespOrgs, are entities 
chosen by toll free subscribers to manage and administer the 
appropriate records in the toll-free Service Management System for the 
toll-free subscriber.\104\ Although RespOrgs are often wireline 
carriers, they can also include non-carrier entities. Therefore, in the 
definition herein of RespOrgs, two categories are presented, i.e., 
Carrier RespOrgs and Non-Carrier RespOrgs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \104\ See 47 CFR 52.101(b).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    27. Carrier RespOrgs. Neither the Commission, the U.S. Census, nor 
the SBA have developed a definition for Carrier RespOrgs. Accordingly, 
the Commission believes that the closest NAICS code-based definitional 
categories for Carrier RespOrgs are Wired Telecommunications 
Carriers,\105\ and Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except 
satellite).\106\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \105\ 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
    \106\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    28. The U.S. Census Bureau defines Wired Telecommunications 
Carriers as establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or 
providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that 
they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, 
and video using wired communications networks. Transmission facilities 
may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. 
Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications 
network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, 
such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services, wired 
(cable) audio and video programming distribution, and wired broadband 
internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite 
television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure 
that they operate are included in this industry.\107\ The SBA has 
developed a small business size standard for Wired Telecommunications 
Carriers, which consists of all such companies having 1,500 or fewer 
employees.\108\ Census data for 2012 show that there were 3,117 Wired 
Telecommunications Carrier firms that operated for that entire year. Of 
that number, 3,083 operated with less than 1,000 employees.\109\ Based 
on that data, we conclude that most Carrier RespOrgs that operated with 
wireline-based technology are small.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \107\ http://www.census,gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics.naicsrch.
    \108\ 13 CFR 120,201, NAICS code 517110.
    \109\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ4&prodType=table.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    29. The U.S. Census Bureau defines Wireless Telecommunications 
Carriers (except satellite) as establishments engaged in operating and 
maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide 
communications via the airwaves, such as cellular services, paging 
services, wireless internet access, and wireless video services.\110\ 
The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is that such a business 
is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.\111\ Census data for 2012 
show that 967 Wireless Telecommunications Carriers operated in that 
year. Of that number, 955 operated with less than 1,000 employees.\112\ 
Based on that data, we conclude that the majority of Carrier RespOrgs 
that operated with wireless-based technology are small.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \110\ http://www.census,gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics.naicsrch.
    \111\ 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 517120.
    \112\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ4&prodType=table.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    30. Non-Carrier RespOrgs. Neither the Commission, the U.S. Census, 
nor the SBA have developed a definition of Non-Carrier RespOrgs. 
Accordingly, the Commission believes that the closest NAICS code-based 
definitional categories for Non-Carrier RespOrgs are ``Other Services 
Related to Advertising'' \113\ and ``Other Management Consulting 
Services.'' \114\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \113\ 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 541890.
    \114\ 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 541618.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    31. The U.S. Census defines Other Services Related to Advertising 
as comprising establishments primarily engaged in providing advertising 
services (except advertising agency services, public relations agency 
services, media buying agency services, media representative services, 
display advertising services, direct mail advertising services, 
advertising material distribution services, and marketing consulting 
services).\115\ The SBA has established a size standard for this 
industry as annual receipts of $15 million dollars or less.\116\ Census 
data for 2012 show that 5,804 firms operated in this industry for the 
entire year. Of that number, 5,249 operated with annual receipts of 
less than $10 million.\117\ Based on that data we conclude that the 
majority of Non-Carrier RespOrgs who provide toll-free number (TFN)-
related advertising services are small.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \115\ http://www.census,gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics.naicsrch.
    \116\ 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 541890.
    \117\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ4&prodType=table.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    32. The U.S. Census defines Other Management Consulting Services as 
establishments primarily engaged in providing management consulting 
services (except administrative and general management consulting; 
human resources consulting; marketing consulting; or process, physical 
distribution, and logistics consulting). Establishments providing 
telecommunications or utilities management consulting services are 
included in this industry.\118\ The SBA has established a size standard 
for this industry of $15 million dollars or less.\119\ Census data for 
2012 show that 3,683 firms operated in this industry for that entire 
year. Of that number, 3,632 operated with less than $10 million in 
annual receipts.\120\ Based on this data, we conclude that a majority 
of non-carrier RespOrgs who provide TFN-related management consulting 
services are small.\121\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \118\ http://www.census,gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics.naicsrch.
    \119\ 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS code 514618.
    \120\ http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51SSSZ4&prodType=table.
    \121\ The four NAICS code-based categories selected above to 
provide definitions for Carrier and Non-Carrier RespOrgs were 
selected because as a group they refer generically and 
comprehensively to all RespOrgs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    33. In addition to the data contained in the four (see above) U.S. 
Census NAICS code categories that provide definitions of what services 
and functions the Carrier and Non-Carrier

[[Page 50606]]

RespOrgs provide, Somos, the trade association that monitors RespOrg 
activities, compiled data showing that as of July 1, 2016, there were 
23 RespOrgs operational in Canada and 436 RespOrgs operational in the 
United States, for a total of 459 RespOrgs currently registered with 
Somos.

B. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other 
Compliance Requirements

    34. This FNPRM does not propose any changes to the Commission's 
current information collection, reporting, recordkeeping, or compliance 
requirements.

C. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small 
Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    35. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant 
alternatives that it has considered in reaching its approach, which may 
include the following four alternatives, among others: (1) The 
establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or 
timetables that take into account the resources available to small 
entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of 
compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; 
(3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an 
exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small 
entities.\122\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \122\ 5 U.S.C. 603(c)(1) through (c)(4).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    36. The FNPRM seeks comment regarding: (1) Adopting a new five-
tiered flat rate methodology for assessing regulatory fees for 
terrestrial and satellite international bearer circuits (IBCs), 
revising the current five-tiered methodology for submarine cable 
systems, and adopting a new fee category for all holders of section 214 
international authority and (2) revising the calculation for cable 
television ``Bulk Rate Customers.'' The proposals to adopt a flat five-
tier methodology for terrestrial and satellite IBCs might provide 
relief to smaller entities that would fall into the lowest tier. The 
proposal to revise the calculation for Bulk Rate Customers for cable 
television, in multiple dwelling units (MDUs), may affect small cable 
operators who provide service to MDUs. We are seeking comment on this 
issue so that we can improve the calculation of customers in MDUs.

D. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rules

    37. None.

IV. Ordering Clause

    38. Accordingly, it is ordered that, pursuant to section 9 of the 
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 159, this Further 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is hereby adopted.

Federal Communications Commission.
Katura Jackson,
Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2017-23215 Filed 10-31-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P