High Cost

Trainings & Outreach

HC Reporter - March 2016

March 2016

In this issue...

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


FCC Forms 481 and 690 Improvements!

Last year, we held a user focus group to gather your thoughts on your online filing experience with both FCC Forms 481 and 690. Based on your feedback, we've made the following changes to our online system. You can now:
  • Search by SAC,
  • Download your form and attachments as PDFs, and
  • Delete old filings.
We've also:
  • Made the upload templates easier to use, 
  • Added additional pre-populated fields, and  
  • Created individual pages for the "Data Collection" section (FCC Form 481).
But we're still making improvements and need your help. This year, following submission of the form, complete a short survey to tell us what you think of the submission process and give us any suggestions you have for improvements. We look forward to hearing from you!

USAC Files Second Quarter Universal Service Fund Support Mechanism Projections

On February 1, 2016, USAC filed Federal Universal Service Support Mechanisms Fund Size Projections for the Second Quarter 2016. High Cost Program projected demand is $1.125 billion. View the appendices

FCC Authorizes Rural Broadband Support for Two Carriers

On February 9, 2016, the FCC authorized rural broadband experiment support for Midwest Energy Cooperative d/b/a Midwest Connections and for Northern Valley Communications, LLC. The aggregate $2,233,652 in support will bring new broadband service to 289 census blocks. Read Public Notice (DA 16-151)

FCC Ready to Authorize Rural Broadband Support

On February 24, 2016, the FCC announced that it is ready to authorize rural broadband experiment support for New Lisbon Broadband and Communications, LLC for its provisionally selected bid. This $37,695.60 bid covers seven census blocks in rural Indiana. To be authorized to receive this support, New Lisbon must submit at least one acceptable irrevocable stand-by letter of credit (LOC) and Bankruptcy Code opinion letter from its legal counsel by March 7, 2016. Read Public Notice (DA 16-195)


During audits, USAC auditors often find that billing system reports and/or subscriber listings do not agree to the line counts reported to NECA/USAC. Carriers should review their data prior to submission to avoid this type of audit finding.



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. 




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


Reminder: FCC Form 525 Due March 31, 2016

Competitive carriers serving Alaska and Standing Rock, ND are reminded that the FCC Form 525, containing line counts as of September 30, 2015, is due March 31, 2016. Instructions may be found on the High Cost Program's Forms page. Carriers are encouraged to file via E-file.


FCC Releases Additional Illustrative Results for the Alternative Connect America Cost Model

On February 17, 2016, the FCC announced the release of additional illustrative results for the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) v2.1, utilizing input values reflecting a 9.75 percent cost of money. Read the Public Notice (DA 16-164)

Chairman Wheeler Circulating RoR Universal Service Fund Reform Order for Approval

On February 19, 2016, Chairman Wheeler posted a blog post entitled Bipartisan Solutions for Universal Service, in which he indicated he circulated an Order last week to modernize the universal service fund support for rate-of-return carriers. Read the blog post

PRA Comments Due April 18, 2016 on FCC Form 481 Changes

On February 17, 2016, the FCC published a Notice in the Federal Register requesting Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) comments on: 
  • Revisions to FCC Form 481 and its instructions to reflect reporting and certification requirements the FCC adopted for price cap carriers that elect to receive Connect America Fund Phase II model-based support; 
  • Reporting and certification requirements for recipients of Rural Broadband Experiment support; 
  • A reasonably comparable rate certification for broadband for recipients of High Cost Program support; and 
  • An E-rate Program bidding certification for Phase II model-based support and rate-of-return carrier high cost recipients. 
The FCC also proposes to add templates for some of these obligations and to add a template for the existing obligation that certain carriers report data regarding newly served community anchor institutions, among other changes. Comments are due April 18, 2016. Read the Notice

On January 21, 2016, Tim Smith reported in Greenville Online that the South Carolina State Public Service Commission has issued a ruling that wireless providers are in competition with landline telephone companies, a determination that could result in wireless customers paying into the state universal service fund, just as landline customers have done for years. 

On January 27, 2016, Diana Goovaerts reported in Wireless Week that Nokia launched FastMile, a wireless broadband solution that lets operators use LTE radio technology to provide Internet connectivity in difficult-to-reach areas. 

On January 28, 2016, Chris Otts reported on WDRB.com that Kentucky Wired, the ambitious statewide broadband project begun by former Gov. Steve Beshear, faces a 39 percent shortfall in annual revenue needed to make bond payments because of a "tainted" procurement process at the tail end of Beshear's tenure, according to officials with Gov. Matt Bevin's administration.

On January 28, 2016, Meghan Flynn reported in The Tomah Journal that Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and state Rep. Nancy VanderMeer visited Lynxx Lemonweir Valley Telcom to discuss broadband access in rural Wisconsin, including the Rural Broadband Initiative and whether $1.5 million in rural broadband grants will be enough to help bring broadband to all areas of rural Wisconsin.

On February 1, 2016, Legal Solutions reported that a bill proposed in the West Virginia state legislature would authorize that state's government to build and operate a 2,000 mile broadband network throughout the state. That infrastructure would be made accessible on an "open access" basis for all Internet service providers (ISPs). This initiative and other similar government efforts around the world are intended to help expedite broadband access to the many people who currently remain underserved.

On February 1, 2016, Utah Business reported that the Utah Broadband Outreach Center in the Governor's Office of Economic Development released an updated residential broadband map providing an enhanced tool to help businesses and consumers locate available services in their communities.

On February 8, 2016, in the New York Times, J.D. Biersdorfer reviewed various online options available to test broadband speed.

On February 8, 2016, Callie Rainy reported for WYMT that the population of Jackson and Owsley counties may be small but every home and business in those counties has fiber access. "We just finished up the last few miles so everyone now has gigabit capability," said Keith Gabbard, CEO of Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative.


High Cost Program


March 2016