CostQuest Associates

CostQuest Associates serves as the frontrunner in designing, developing and implementing economic models for the telecommunications industry. And rightfully so; our company holds a “jack of all trades” persona, as it provides the modeling, input, training, maintenance, testimony and witnessing that is required of any model used in advocacy or public hearings.

Relevant News

Form 477 Data Collection

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What is FCC Form 477

FCC Form 477 collects data on voice and broadband services.  Although the FCC Form 477 data collection has been in place since 2000, the newest revision, ordered in 2013, provides a replacement data source to some elements of data collected from the Recovery Act funded State Broadband Initiative (SBI). 

Form 477 must be filed by all organizations classified as

  1. Facilities based providers of broadband-connections

  2. Providers wired or fixed wireless local exchange service

  3. Providers of interconnected VoIP

  4. Facilities based providers of mobile telephone service

What gets filed?

Depending on the type of services offered, there can be up to 11 tabular or geographic data tables submitted to the FCC.  The electronic submission to the FCC consists of the following sections:

Form 477 Data Element

Filer Identification

Fixed Broadband Deployment

Mobile Wireless Broadband Deployment

Mobile Wireless Broadband Service Availability

Mobile Wireless Voice Deployment

Fixed Broadband Subscription

Mobile Wireless Broadband Subscription

Mobile Local Telephone Subscription

Local Exchange Telephone Subscription

Interconnected VoIP Subscription

Voice Telephone Subscription Detail

What do you do?

Because the new specification for Form 477 represents a hybrid of prior submission formats, new data elements and data elements submitted through a third party (NTIA State Grantee), the new filing is especially complex.  A provider must balance the resources required to isolate the new data elements while also maintaining consistency in approach with the prior filing.  At the same time a provider must put together a team that can find the required information.  Experts in network engineering, sales and marketing, Information Technology and regulatory are required

Where to get help?

The FCC offers a number of provider resources at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/changes-coming-form-477-data-collection.  If that doesn’t clarify everything, CostQuest Associates has the staff, resources and expertise to help.  

How can CostQuest help?

CostQuest specializes in complex business and regulatory problems.  The goal of our work is to develop a stable, documented business process that can reliably and economically provide Form 477 ready information.  We are prepared to assist your firm to the level needed.  This can range from specific, defined pieces of 477 development to an entirely outsourced process.   The engagement steps can be tailored to meet particular needs. Some of the steps we would go through could include the following:

  • Identify and analyze prior Form 477 filings

  • Meet with stakeholders to identify known data gaps 

  • Meet with certifying corporate officer

  • Work with stakeholder to identify data sources

  • Identify, document and approve required data extracts

  • Map client data resources, develop service mapping tables to support each 477 element

  • Develop specifications and code to support 477 data development

  • Develop initial filing package analyze information for consistency with prior 477, SBI and other regulatory filings

  • Identify and address weak areas

  • Work with provider to submit information to FCC

  • Close out filing, submit supporting data to client

As needed, other Quality Assurance points could be added.  For instance, how should 477 information compare to SBI or prior 477 submitted information?  Should it balance to numbers described in regulatory filings? How stable are the results to prior submissions?

Why CostQuest?

CostQuest has spent over 15 years developing people, resources and practices that support some of the largest networking and communications firms in the United States.  Each year we process hundreds of millions of billing records.  We have expertise in translating engineering information—from CAD, paper or enterprise system and extracting relevant, accurate geospatial information.  Using this type of information, we have reliably delivered Replacement Cost New analysis for yearly property tax filings, engineering and planning data for State Broadband Initiative (Broadband Mapping) clients and cost records for internal cost and trending databases.  Our goal is to apply our multi-faceted expertise to your Form 477 filing needs.

Who should I contact?

If you would like more information, please contact 513-662-2124 x 102

Special Access Data Collection

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To support market analysis, the FCC has ordered providers of dedicated services, consumers  of dedicated access and certain other entities that provide “best efforts” grade business broadband Internet to complete a lengthy and detailed data request.

The data request is due December 15, 2014.  There are substantial penalties for non-compliance.

What is covered?

The data request has different sections for providers and consumers.  What is submitted will vary based upon the type of entity the respondent is.  In general the following types of information are requested

  • Facility information (types, location, capacity, routing)

  • Network maps

  • Customer information (type, location, revenue, billing detail)

  • Billing detail includes, billing code, monthly billing information and any adjustments (true ups, discounts, etc)

Who is covered by the order?

All providers and purchasers of special access services as well as some entities that provide “best efforts” business broadband Internet access are required to comply.  This can include ILECs, CLECs, IXCx, WISPs, Cable television providers, government entities, end users purchasing more than $5 million in dedicated services are covered. 

This listing is not intended to be comprehensive; rather it illustrates the large list of entities potentially covered by this order.  The FCC has released a decision tree to determine if you must file into this data request.

What services can CostQuest provide?

For over 15 years CostQuest has assisted public and private organizations navigate complex business decisions.  We assist some of the largest telecommunication firms in the world with property tax, valuation, advocacy and regulatory decision making.  We provide expertise and assistance in the following

  • Billing system review, interrogation and summary. This includes private systems as well as legacy systems like CABS, CRIS and TURKS.

  • Service assignment code and provisioning system analysis and review

  • Asset location and mapping

  • GIS data development, CAD to GIS conversions

  • Inventory review, asset ledger review

Simply put, because of our wealth of experience and veteran consultants we are well positioned to help with this data request.

What will this cost?

The fee for this work will vary based upon what assistance is needed and the resources already in place.  Our typical practice is to meet with the client and provide and documentation and resource review.  The fee and scope for this is fixed.

After the first review is complete and client requirements are elucidated, we are better positioned to develop a budget for our services

Who should I contact?

If you would like more information, please contact 513-662-2124 x 102

Google Fiber in Kansas City Study & Analysis

CostQuest models are being used to develop and evaluate city-specific street-by-street network designs, consider terrain realities and evaluate the resulting economics using real-world demand and cost scenarios including alternative market growth curves.  CostQuest models are being used to develop alternative network topologies including detailed equipment types, counts and capacities – including alternative fiber deployment strategies – required to meet the real-world served by the network.  We also estimate deployment costs as well as anticipated ongoing operating costs which, when combined with customer and market data, facilitates the evaluation of various optional pricing plans. With CostQuest’s experienced analysis, the result of a Gigabit City modeling program helps stakeholders understand the relationship between income and demand and how overall market feasibility plays-out against any number of deployment strategies and related costs. Review our Gigabit Cities Profile.

USF Cost Modeling CAF II

The Administrator of the Universal Service Fund, the Universal Service Administrative Company (“USAC”), procured the services of CostQuest Associates to assist with the public hosting, execution, and support of the Connect America Cost Model, under policy direction from the Commission.  The Connect America Cost Model provides the ability to calculate costs using a variety of different inputs and assumptions, allowing the Bureau to examine various options for different network deployments to serve funded locations (e.g., fiber to the premises or fiber-fed digital subscriber line), different assumptions about the amount of existing facilities assumed to exist (e.g., green-field or brown-field deployments, the mix of aerial, buried or underground plant), as well as different  assumptions about unit costs for capital and operating expenses. 

CostQuest and the National Broadband Plan

CostQuest worked with the Federal Communications Commission to develop of an economic model—specifically output from the CostPro models—to support the FCC’s National Broadband Plan delivered to Congress on March 16, 2010.

The National Broadband Plan was commissioned in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (more commonly known as the Stimulus Plan) wherein Congress directed the FCC to create a National Broadband Plan. The goal behind this initiative is to achieve ubiquitous broadband coverage across the United States.

The FCC recognizes that broadband service is a fundamental means to advancing consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety and homeland security, community development, economic growth, among other national purposes. And therefore, the plan works toward achieving affordability and maximizing broadband infrastructure and services, while also evaluating the status of broadband deployment.

The FCC worked with CostQuest on the assembly of relevant data and the development of an economic model to both establish the baseline of current broadband deployment in all geographic regions of the nation, and determine the “forward-looking” economics of supplying broadband capacity to currently unserved areas. This resulted in the creation of the Broadband Assessment Model, designed to ensure sufficient precision of results and to accurately identify incremental economic costs and revenues associated with broadband augmentation within sub-state economic regions.

We have collaborated with CostQuest to solve complex state and federal broadband challenges for more than two years now. This company is outstanding. The CostQuest Team is flexible, engaging and really cares about providing quality service to its clients."

Dr. Bill Gillis
VisionTech 360, Spokane, WA

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