A conference call provider and a Native American-owned telco are meeting with FCC officials this week in an effort to convince the agency that it does not have to alter the current access charge regime to encourage broadband service expansion to unserved areas.
Officials with FreeConferenceCall.com and Native American Telecom, LLC argue that the existing fee system can encourage economic development on tribal lands and other rural areas because the money such carriers make from traffic terminating on their networks allows them to invest in infrastructure that they otherwise couldn’t afford.
Gene DeJordy, chief executive officer of Native American Telecom, noted that an affiliate it manages on the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe reservation in South Dakota began offering voice and broadband service to residences and businesses there last year. But its business model is largely dependent on the use of FreeConferenceCall and other services that use its network to terminate calls.
It is a business that is able to attract other businesses, he said, noting that the availability of broadband is causing outsiders to inquire about the area unlike before. We are showing the Commission how it works, and why the Commission should continue with its regulatory policies.This system is working.
David Erickson, president of FreeConferenceCall.com, is participating in the meetings with Mr. DeJordy armed with a new report his company commissioned which argues that long distance providers are actually generating profits from calls delivered by free conference calling services by charging their customers for such calls.
The document also stresses that free conference calling services create positives benefits for long distance carriers because they stimulate more consumer demand for unlimited long distance plans, which are largely profitable for interexchange carriers. We’ve always felt it was a win-win-win, Mr Erickson said. And now we have a report to prove it.