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Trainings & Outreach

HC Reporter - September 2015

September 2015

In this issue...

Program Happenings   |   At the FCC   l   In the News   l   Don't Forget

PROGRAM HAPPENINGS

54.314 Certifications Due October 1, 2015

In accordance with Section 54.314 of the FCC rules, carriers must be certified by October 1, 2015. The certification must state that support received was used in the preceding calendar year (2014) and will be used in the coming calendar year (2016) only for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which the support is intended. Most carriers will be certified by their state. Carriers not subject to state jurisdiction must self-certify. 
 
USAC recommends that certifications be filed online using USAC's E-File system. Carriers can confirm USAC received their certification using USAC's online certification search tool. Note that a copy of the certification must also be filed with the FCC and must reference Docket 96-45. Filing only with USAC will not satisfy this requirement.
 
Additional 54.314 Certification resources can be found on the High Cost Program's Forms page, including:
If you have any questions, please contact HC Certifications.

Carriers Accept Over $1.5 Billion in Connect America Fund Support

On August 27, 2015, the FCC announced that ten telecommunications carriers have accepted $1.5 billion in annual support for rural broadband deployment from the Connect America Fund, which, together with the carrier’s own investment, will expand broadband to nearly 7.3 million rural consumers in 45 states nationwide and one U.S. territory over the next few years. Read the full list
  • Windstream accepted $174,895,478 in annual, ongoing support to expand and support broadband for over 800,000 of its rural customers in 17 states. Read the announcement
  • CenturyLink, Inc. accepted $505,703,762 in annual, ongoing support to expand and support broadband for over 2.3 million of its rural customers in 33 states. Read the announcement
  • AT&T, Inc. accepted $427,706,650 in annual, ongoing support to expand and support broadband for over 2.2 million of its rural customers in 18 states. Read the announcement
  • Cincinnati Bell accepted $2,229,130 in annual, ongoing support to expand and support broadband for over 14,000 of its rural customers. Read the announcement
  • Consolidated Telecom, Inc. accepted $13,922,480 in annual, ongoing support to expand and support broadband for nearly 50,000 of its rural customers in six states. Read the announcement
  • Verizon Communications Inc. has conditionally accepted $31,978,057 in annual Connect America Fund Phase II model-based support in California and $16,576,929 in annual Phase II support in Texas. Read the Notice

 

RELINQUISHMENT REMINDER

If a carrier has relinquished its ETC designation, send a copy of the relinquishment order to HC Orders within one week. If USAC does not receive a copy of the relinquishment order within one week, USAC will invoice the carrier for any support paid following the relinquishment. 

 

As adopted in the USF/ICC Transformation Order, carriers must maintain their records for ten years.

 

QUESTIONS?

The High Cost Program team is here to help you! Visit the Contact Us page and let us know how we can help you.

FCC Corrects Notice on Authorizing $175 Million in Annual Connect America Fund Support to Windstream

On August 14, 2015, the FCC issued an Erratum to the Public Notice (DA 15-888) authorizing Windstream to receive $174,895,478 in annual Connect America Fund Phase II model-based support. The Erratum adds a second page to the Public Notice, detailing support amounts and funded locations. Read Erratum

FCC Authorizes Fairpoint to Receive Connect America Fund Phase II Support

On August 19, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-931) authorizing Fairpoint to receive over $37 million in Connect America Fund Phase II support in 14 states. Read the Notice

FCC Authorizes Connect America Fund Phase II Support to Micronesian and Hawaiian Carriers

On August 21, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-945) announcing the authorization of Connect America Fund Phase II support of over $2.5 million to Micronesian Telecommunications and over $4 million to Hawaiian Telecom. Read the Notice 

FCC Authorizes Additional Connect America Fund Support

On August 28, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-968) authorizing AT&T Services, Inc.
CenturyLink, Inc., Cincinnati Bell Telephone Company LLC, and Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. to receive Connect America Fund Phase II model-based support. Read the Notice

Rural Broadband Experiments (RBE) Support Authorized

On August 7, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-897) authorizing support for ten winning bids for Skybeam, Consolidated Communications Networks, Delta Communications, and Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative in the amount of $11,273,764. The authorized support will bring new broadband to 1,889 census blocks in five states. Read the announcement

Northeast Rural Services Removes Certain Census Blocks from Its RBE Awards

On August 14, 2015, Northeast Rural Services filed a Motion to withdraw census blocks from their Rural Broadband Experiments awards. Read the Motion 

AT THE FCC

FCC Releases Public Notice Regarding 100% Overlap Rule and Detailed Map

On July 29, 2015, the FCC published a preliminary determination of rate-of-return study areas that have 100 percent overlap by unsubsidized competitors. The Public Notice (DA 15-868) adopted the methodology used to determine rate-of-return carrier study areas subject to 100 percent overlap and publishes a preliminary list of such study areas using the adopted methodology. Detailed map

FCC Commissioners Release Statement Regarding 100% Overlap Rule

On July 29, 2015, FCC Commissioners Clyburn and O'Rielly released a statement in support of the FCC's Public Notice to implement the phase out of universal service support for rate-of-return carriers in service areas fully served by a competitor that does not receive such subsidies. Read the statement

FCC Corrects Notice Listing RLEC Study Areas With 100 Percent Competitive Overlap

On August 6, 2015, the FCC issued an Erratum correcting footnote 35 in the Public Notice (DA 15-868) adopting the methodology used to determine rate-of-return carrier study areas subject to 100 percent overlap with unsubsidized competitors. The Notice also included a preliminary list of 15 such study areas, and a list of 11 study areas with an overlap of 99 percent or more. The FCC seeks comment on this preliminary determination. Comments were due August 28; replies due September 28. Read the Erratum

Utah Governor's Office Comments on RLEC Study Areas With 100 Percent Competitive Overlap Methodology

On August 27, 2015, the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development filed comments on Docket No. 10-90 "Preliminary Determination of Rate-of-Return Study Areas 100 Percent Overlapped by Unsubsidized Competitors." Read the comments

FCC Announces Modifications to the Alternate Connect America Cost Model

In the "April 2014 Connect America Order and FNPRM," the FCC proposed a transition framework for a voluntary election by rate-of-return carriers to receive model-based support and directed the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) to make the adjustments necessary to the Connect America Cost Model so that it could be used for rate-of-return areas, including incorporating the results of the study area boundary data collection. On July 29, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-869) announcing the Bureau expects to complete incorporating updated results from the study area boundary collection in the near future. Attached to this Public Notice is a table showing the default plant mix input values for each state in v1.0.1 of A-CAM. Read the Notice

Broadband Progress Notice of Inquiry Released

On August 7, 2015, the FCC released the Eleventh Broadband Progress Notice of Inquiry to assess the availability of advanced telecommunication capabilities. Through this Notice, the FCC expects to examine the availability of both fixed broadband and mobile broadband service. Comments are due September 8, 2015 and reply comments are due September 23, 2015. Read the Notice of Inquiry

FCC Publishes Census Blocks in the Alternative Connect America Fund Cost Model

On August 24, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-869) announcing that they have posted a table showing the classification of census blocks as rural, suburban, and urban used in A-CAM. Read the Notice

FCC Releases Order Relating to RBE Applications for Review

On August 27, 2015, the FCC released an Order (DA 15-107) answering three applications for review filed by Rural Broadband Services Corporation, Lennon Telephone Company, and Last Mile Broadband LLC. The applications sought review of a Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) order denying their respective petitions for waiver of the financial and technical qualification requirements established by the FCC for the Connect America Fund rural broadband experiments. The Order upheld the Bureau's decision and accordingly denied the applications. Read the Order

FCC MeetingFairPoint Discusses Connect America Fund Phase II Reporting Requirements

On July 20, 2015, FairPoint Communications met with FCC staff to discuss the Connect America Fund Phase II reporting requirements for recipients of model-based support. Read the summary

FCC Meeting: ADTRAN Discusses Connect America Fund Phase II Competitive Bidding

On July 24, 2015, ADTRAN spoke with FCC staff to clarify that while ADTRAN objects to an across-the-board relaxation of the technical standards in the Connect America Fund Phase II competitive bidding process to accommodate the technical limitations of geostationary satellites, it does recognize that it may be necessary to use satellite-specific standards just for the highest cost areas corresponding to the Remote Area Fund. Read the summary

FCC Meeting: NTCA, WTA, NECA, USTelecom, et al. Discuss Limits on Recoverable Expenses

On July 28, 2015, NTCA, WTA, NECA, USTelecom, et al. met with FCC staff to discuss what kinds of limits could be reasonable to ensure effective use of universal service resources, while expressing concerns about how certain kinds of restrictions could affect operations and delivery of supported services in high-cost rural areas. Read the summary

FCC Meeting: USTelecom, NTCA, et al. Discuss Bifurcated Approach to Rate-of-Return Reform

On August 6, 2015, USTelecom, NTCA, ITTA, WTA, and Moss Adams met with FCC staff to discuss industry efforts on developing technical assumptions for a preliminary bifurcated approach to modernizing rate-of-return universal service support as suggested by the FCC. Read the summary

FCC Meeting: Gila River Discusses Tribal Broadband Factor

On August 12, 2015, Gila River Telecommunications met with FCC staff to express support for the Tribal Broadband Factor as proposed by the National Tribal Telecommunications Association in its June 19, 2015, Ex Parte. Read the summary

FCC Meeting: Rural Wireless Association Discusses Mobility Fund Phase II

On August 25, 2015, the Rural Wireless Association spoke with FCC staff to discuss its involvement and interest in the implementation of Mobility Fund Phase II. Read the summary

FCC Filing: NECA Files 2016 Modification of the Average Schedule High Cost Loop Formula

On August 21, NECA filed the 2016 Modification of the Average Schedule Universal Service High Cost Look Support Formula. The FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-953) on August 25, 2015, seeking comment on the modifications. Comments are due September 24, 2015; reply comments are due October 9, 2015. Read the Notice

FCC Filing: ADTRAN Responds to Ex Parte Filed by Hughes

On July 22, 2015, ADTRAN filed a letter to respond to another proposal in a recent Ex Parte submission filed by Hughes Network Systems concerning the standards for the Connect America Fund Phase II competitive bidding process. Read the letter

FCC Filing: NTCA Submits Ex Parte Regarding Connect America Fund Phase II

On July 23, 2015, NTCA submitted an ex parte letter to address the competitive bidding process for Connect America Fund Phase II. Read the letter

FCC Filing: VON Coalition Supports RLEC Stand-alone Broadband Universal Service Fund Support

On July 31, 2015, the Voice on the Net Coalition filed a letter to express support for the FCC's proposals to provide universal service fund support for stand-alone broadband in rate-of-return areas. Read the letter

FCC Filing: FTTH Council Urges FCC to Hold Fiber-Only Reverse Auction

On August 4, 2015, Fiber to the Home Council Americas (FTTH) sent a letter to Chairman Wheeler urging the FCC to make the deployment of all-fiber networks a fundamental element of the Connect America Fund Phase II competitive bidding processes. Read the letter

FCC Filing: NTCA, WTA, and NECA Respond to Alternative Cost Model Public Notice

On August 10, 2015, NTCA, WTA, and NECA (collectively the Rural Associations) submitted a letter in response to a Public Notice (DA 15-869) describing the FCC's ongoing work in connection with modifications to the Alternative Connect America Cost Model. The Rural Associations expressed their appreciation of the ongoing efforts described in the Notice that represent important and useful steps in bringing that path to fruition, consistent with issues they had raised previously. At the same time, the Rural Associations stated that the work described in the Notice should not be seen as the sole and exclusive "punch-list" of "things to do" in order to modify the price cap-based model so that it reasonably and accurately estimates costs for the much smaller and different RLECs. Read the letter

Great Plains Files Proposed Corrections to Plant Mix Input Value for A-CAM

On August 19, 2015, Great Plains Communications filed proposed corrections to its plant mix input values for use in refining A-CAM to more accurately reflect study area specific plant mixes. Read the proposed corrections 

Business, Government Discuss Broadband Issues in Rural Minnesota

On August 13, 2015, Kim Ukura reported on the meeting between business owners and government officials to discuss broadband issues in in rural Minnesota and how state grants to improve availability are being used in the region. Read the article

 

High Cost Program

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September 2015

  

 

 

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