High Cost

Trainings & Outreach

HC Reporter - August 2016

August 2016

In this issue...

Program Happenings   |   At the FCC   l   In the News

PROGRAM HAPPENINGS

Stay Up-to-Date with Your Regulatory Filings!

You must stay current with your regulatory filings. USAC will withhold funding from rate-of-return carriers that do not submit data needed to calculate High Cost Program support.
 
In the Rate-of-Return Reform Order released on March 30, 2016, the FCC created a model-based funding mechanism for rate-of-return carriers and is asking carriers to choose between the new cost model and a modified version of the existing support system. 
 
Carriers that elect the new Alternative Connect America Model (A-CAM) will receive a set amount of monthly support over 10 years and will need to meet defined build-out obligations. Carriers that choose to stick with the modified legacy funding mechanism, Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF-BLS), will receive funding - and be required to meet deployment obligations - that are calculated using data submitted by carriers.
 
Specifically, the FCC and USAC will use FCC Form 477 data to conduct competitive overlap analysis and calculate deployment obligations; study area boundary data to calculate study area density and set operating expense limitations; and data to determine the capital investment allowance. Without this information, USAC will be unable to calculate carrier support, including support for carriers that elect the CAF-BLS path, and will withhold funding until this information is submitted. 
 
Carriers should therefore be certain that all data filed with the FCC, including FCC Form 477 data and study area boundary data, are up-to-date and accurate. Any data revisions should be filed as soon as possible. These filings are in addition to the FCC Form 481 (54.313), the annual use certification (54.314), and deployment data (54.316) that carriers are required to submit in order to receive High Cost Program support (as specified in 54.903).

 

Carriers receiving Mobility Phase 1 support who have reached the milestone(s) necessary to be eligible for subsequent rounds of support must complete FCC Form 690 to receive Payment 2 or 3.

 

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.

USAC Wants Your Input as We Build the Broadband "HUBB"! 

As the FCC modernizes the High Cost Program to support 21st century technology, we will create new tools to show how the funding is expanding access to broadband across rural America. The Rate-of-Return Reform Order released on March 30, 2016, directs USAC to build an online portal - called the High Cost Universal Broadband, or HUBB - that will serve as a repository for geospatial deployment data that must be filed by carriers that receive High Cost Program support. This data will show exactly where carriers that get universal service funding are building out broadband by latitude and longitude and ensure that these carriers are meeting service quality stands for speed and latency. The new online HUBB must be up and running - and ready to accept location-based deployment data - by January 2017, in time for a March 1, 2017, filing deadline for eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs). 
 
As USAC begins the process of designing and building the HUBB, we are seeking your help. We want to engage with you, the carriers and consultants who will be using this tool to submit deployment data, to make sure we are designing a system that meets your needs. We are input from you, the users to questions such as:
  • How do you plan to collect the deployment data?
  • How do you plan to submit the data?
  • How can we design a tool that will work with your systems?
  • What kind of functionality should the HUBB offer?
Our goal is to design a HUBB that works for High Cost Program carriers of all types, sizes, and experience levels. If you want to share your thoughts and opinions with USAC, please email us today. Your insights and feedback are critical to the success of this program. We look forward to collaborating with you to help inform this effort! 

54.314 Certification Due October 1, 2016

To receive support in 2017, carriers must be certified according to section 54.314 by October 1, 2016. This certifies that all federal High Cost Program support provided to carriers was used in the preceding calendar year and will be used in the coming calendar year 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; however, carriers who are not subject to state jurisdiction are required to file on their own behalf. 
 
Carriers and states are urged to file using USAC's E-file system. User guides detailing how to certify using E-file and sample certifications can be found on the Forms page, or in our training videos.

Rural Broadband Experiments Support Ready to Be Authorized

On July 21, 2016, the FCC announced that it is ready to authorize the disbursement of rural broadband experiment support to Big Bend Telecom, Ltd. (BBT). The total support is $178,425 and covers 15 census blocks in rural Texas.

AT THE FCC

FCC Concludes Alternative Connect America Cost Model Challenge Process

On July 25, 2016, the FCC released an Order (DA 16-842) concluding the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) streamlined challenge process and made a final determination regarding the broadband coverage data that will be incorporated into the final version of the model for purposes of the voluntary election of model-based support. 

Offers of A-CAM Support for Rate-of-Return Carriers Announced

On August 3, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-869) releasing the final version of the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM v2.3) and announcing the offers of model-based Connect America Fund support to rate-of-return carriers to fund the deployment of voice and broadband-capable networks in their service territories. Carriers have until November 1, 2016 (90 days) to indicate, on a state-by-state basis, whether they elect to receive model-based support. Download the reports detailing support and obligations.

On July 20, 2016, the NTCA announced that one year after launching the Certified Gig-Capable Provider program to build awareness of community-based broadband providers delivering the Internet's fastest speeds, NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association - has recognized 77 companies as Certified Gig-Capable Providers. The certified companies serve a total of 491 locations in rural areas across 24 states. NTCA also made available an interactive map that highlights the companies that have received certification.

 

High Cost Program

Newsletter

August 2016