The Silicon Review
While driving innovation to satisfy insatiable consumer demand for advanced and, increasingly, Internet-based communications services, tech-centric businesses operating in the voice & data, Cloud Communications, Internet of Things (IoT), and Unified Communications (UCaaS) sectors confront many challenges along the road to success. Among the most daunting may well be the unavoidable need to navigate through a gauntlet of complex regulatory compliance potholes that litter the landscape at all levels of government throughout the United States, from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and state taxing authorities on down to local 911 administrators. For although communications technologies may have evolved at lightspeed since the advent of the Internet and elimination of monopolist bottlenecks, the taxes, regulatory fees and other rules & regulations adopted in the Ma Bell era, by and large, remain stuck in a time warp.
The unfortunate reality is that government regulators don’t care if you’re a big or small company, a start-up or Fortune 500 enterprise. Few, if any, regulatory regimes offer U.S.-based communications businesses a safe harbor, which makes compliance a necessary evil, one that all companies must confront.
But despair not, because help is on the way!
A revolutionary, licensable “Compliance as a Software” solution developed and managed by The Commpliance Group (TCG) is currently available. Making it possible for service providers of all shapes, stripes and sizes to affordably achieve compliance with the biggest, most intricate and heavily enforced regulatory program of all – the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (USF). Through its USF program, all providers of interstate and international telecommunications and VoIP telephony are taxed at rates that consistently exceed 20% for every dollar of telecom revenue. As of today, the USF contribution rate sits at 26.5%!
The higher the tax rate, the more the FCC enforces the rules. As two providers recently learned the hard way, entrusting their USF program compliance to the wrong outsourced compliance vendor can wind up costing them dearly.
“FCC Enforcement Bureau Proposes $75,000 Fines Against Two Companies for Repeated and Prolonged Failures to Respond to USAC Information Requests”
In a market that has several solution providers delivering compliance solutions the old-fashioned, highly manual way (oftentimes employing a revolving door of poorly trained “paper pushers” that rely on and fall prey to the “garbage in, garbage out” dilemma), The Commpliance Group brings an entirely different and revolutionary model to the market. Believing in the power of combining knowledge with software, TCG melded the unique knowledge, risk sensitivities, and nuanced knowledge of experienced telecom lawyers together with a robust, highly intuitive software platform, AccuCompliance. The software is built from the ground up to generate timely, accurate and thorough responses according to the Universal Service Administrative Company’s (“USAC”) FCC Form 499-A, distribute data in accordance with jurisdictional rules to state regulatory agency filings, and facilitate comprehensive compliance emanating from a reliable foundation of auditable data. It’s a compliance-as-a-service platform that offers greater ease of accessibility and uses to companies that need to outsource all their compliance needs.
“Through the knowledge built into this platform, we place more power in the hands of our customers without the need to invest heavily in legal counsel, while creating a pathway to a more in-depth analysis by attorneys at an experienced telecom law firm,” says TCG’s founder and CEO, Jonathan Marashlian. Developed with years of dedicated research coupled with the extensive knowledge of the telecom attorneys at Marashlian & Donahue, PLLC, AccuCompliance both simplifies and strengthens the regulatory compliance process for all types of telecom businesses, of every size, level of sophistication and price and risk sensitivity.
AccuCompliance not only helps businesses manage their compliance needs and ward off risks, it also lowers the overall cost of compliance, which remains the single greatest obstacle confronting communications companies operating in the U.S. The solution’s no-cost, Do-It-Yourself onboarding option (“Compliance Wizard”) helps guide businesses that are new to the world of telecom compliance towards compliance solutions that are appropriately scaled and scoped to their unique needs. Through vendor relationships with industry-leading tax and billing SaaS vendors, the likes of Avalara, SureTax, Rev.io and Datagate, to name a few, TCG is an integral part of the compliance outsourcing ecosystem that is essential to IT and telecom operators selling services that no longer adhere to geographic boundaries.
In conversation with Jonathan Marashlian, the visionary behind The Commpliance Group
Q. From an integrity perspective, the decision to be open about organizational compliance sends a very clear message that the company is committed to ethical conduct. How do you define ethical values?
Being ethical in a binary world is simple. Binary rules, where there is a clear “right way” and equally clear “wrong way” to ensure compliance can be administered by folks who are neither familiar with nor comfortable piloting their way through expansive gray areas. Indeed, compliance with a binary regulatory landscape can even be automated, and with relative ease. Unfortunately, when it comes to the U.S. telecom laws & regulations in today’s age of technological convergence, we see far more “gray” than we see either “black or white.” The law in this field is frustratingly complex and full of uncertainties. In such a non-binary environment, I believe that the most ethical way to provide compliance services is to offer scalable and customizable solutions and to give customers the two things they covet the most – education and options. Educate them on the issues, risks and costs… and deliver solutions with options that best suit each customer’s risk tolerance and price sensitivities.
Q. What are your trajectories for the next 5 years?
Having helped hundreds of businesses tackle their regulatory and corporate compliance management needs, TCG is setting a new benchmark for its competitors. The US-based firm now looks forward to launching a website that will enable telecommunication service providers to solve many of the intricate challenges associated with ensuring compliance with regulations and regulatory filings in today’s unprecedented era of technological convergence and the regulatory uncertainties that come with disruption. Built from the ground up to ensure accurate, thorough, and timely compliance with the Universal Service Administrative Company’s FCC Form 499, once your company’s product catalog of regulated and unregulated services is mapped into AccuCompliance using a guided onboarding process, your company can rest easy knowing that its compliance filings will not only be filed on time, but with confidence that the data being reported is accurate and optimized to minimize government fees.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
We are anticipating the public-facing launch of our AccuCompliance SaaS offering in September 2020 through our new branded website, www.TheComplianceSquare.com. The new brand reflects our vision of The Commpliance Group as the town square, where all of your company’s compliance needs “come together” in one place, with one vendor, and through one comprehensive, SaaS-driven solution. We look forward to welcoming customers, both old and new, to The Compliance Square, Where Compliance Comes Together!
Meet the leader behind the success of The Commpliance Group
Jonathan Marashlian is the visionary behind The Commpliance Group, Inc. Mr. Marashlian is a nationally-known expert in communications law and regulation, specializing in market entry, communications taxes & fees, and regulatory compliance. He is an AV Preeminent Rated attorney who has led the law firm, Marashlian & Donahue, PLLC, to multiple Lexology / International Law Office Client Choice Award wins.