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USAC recognizes that some eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) will disagree with decisions regarding High Cost Program support. As is the case with any administrative decision, parties affected by our decisions about billing, collection, or disbursement matters can seek an appeal of those decisions from the High Cost and Low Income (HCLI) Division, or directly with the FCC. The procedures for filing an appeal are outlined below.
Please note that a different procedure exists for filing appeals for missed filing deadlines. In the event an ETC files its line counts or certifications after the deadlines established by the FCC, petitions for waiver must be filed directly with the FCC. USAC is not authorized to waive the filing deadlines, and only an FCC grant of a waiver will permit the use of late filings.
Any appeal must be filed within 60 days of the issuance of the decision. Pursuant to FCC rules, failure to meet this requirement will result in automatic dismissal of the appeal. See Section 54.719-54.725 of the FCC's rules for the details associated with filing an appeal.
Please follow these guidelines when submitting a Letter of Appeal.
Letter of Appeal
High Cost and Lifeline
2000 L Street NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
Appeals may also be submitted by email. Email appeals should read, "High Cost Appeal," in the subject line and can be submitted in any commonly used word processing format. Appeals submitted by email will be considered filed on the same business day if they are received any time before 12:00 AM ET.
Please provide necessary contact information. List the name, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address (if available) of the person who can most readily discuss the appeal. Identify the carrier name, Study Area Code (SAC), and the decision being appealed.
Keep your appeal letter brief and to the point but make sure to identify the problem and why you filed an appeal. HCLI support decisions are made by applying non-discriminatory program rules to information submitted by providers, so a letter that only states, "We appeal the amount of support," provides no information that could lead to a different decision. Make sure to review the original information you submitted and then explain precisely what alternate decision you believe USAC should have reached using that information, within program rules. Be sure to provide documentation to support your appeal.
A telecommunications provider can also file an appeal of a USAC decision or USAC response to a Letter of Appeal directly with the FCC.
Use this address for documents sent by Federal Express or any other express mail:
Federal Communications Commission
Office of the Secretary
9300 East Hampton Drive
Capitol Heights, MD 20743
Office hours: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM ET
For security purposes, hand-delivered or messenger-delivered documents will not be accepted if they are enclosed in an envelope. Any envelopes must be disposed of before entering the building. Hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners.
Appeals may also be submitted to the FCC electronically, either by the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) or by fax. The FCC recommends filing with the ECFS to ensure timely filing. Instructions for using ECFS can be found on the ECFS page of the FCC website. Appeals to the FCC filed by fax must be faxed to (202) 418-0187. Electronic appeals will be considered filed on a business day if they are received at any time before 12:00 AM ET. Fax transmissions will be considered filed on the same business day if the complete transmission is received at any time before 12:00 AM ET.
Important note: Be sure to reference CC Docket No. 96-45 on all communications with the FCC. The appeal transmission, whether electronic or paper, must also provide your company's name and SAC, plus necessary contact information including name, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address of the person filing the appeal. Unless the appeal is made electronically via ECFS, please include a copy of the USAC letter being appealed.