Pai Tells ACS It May Not Decline Service to Rural Healthcare Providers

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has reminded Alaska Communications Systems Group, Inc., (ACS) that it has an obligation under the Communications Act and FCC rules to comply with a “bona fide request” for telecom services “which are necessary for the provision of health care services in a State,” and that it must not charge rural healthcare providers more than the urban rate for such services.

In a letter dated today, Chairman Pai told ACS President and Chief Executive Officer Anand Vadapalli that he was “disheartened to hear this past week that Alaska Communications, because of questions about its compliance with Commission rules, is reconsidering its participation in the [Universal Service] Fund’s Telecommunications Program, a program that is key to providing remote Alaskan villages with telecommunications services.”

Under the Act and FCC rules, Chairman Pai said, “Alaska Communications may not deny or cut off service to any of its existing rural healthcare provider customers.”  It also “may not deny or cut off service to any of its existing rural healthcare provider customers for lack of payment of any charge higher than the urban rate,” Chairman Pai said.

“I would also remind you that, as a telecommunications carrier offering telecommunications services to rural healthcare providers, Alaska Communications is prohibited from engaging in unjust and unreasonable practices or from discontinuing service to a community without prior Commission approval.” — Lynn Stanton, – Courtesy TR Daily