On November 18, 2011, the FCC released the USF/ICC Transformation Order & FNPRM (FCC 11-161), reforming the high-cost component of universal service by phasing out existing mechanisms, eliminating identical support, and introducing the Connect America Fund, including an explicit Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) recovery mechanism. The size of the Connect America Fund, including legacy high-cost support, is frozen at $4.5 billion.
The Connect America Fund modernizes program support with a focus on supporting and expanding fixed broadband availability plus voice service as well as increasing efficiency and accountability. Support will occur in two phases. Phase I provides an immediate one-time infusion of funds to bring broadband to unserved areas. Phase II provides ongoing support to deploy and maintain broadband and voice service in high-cost areas at rates comparable to urban areas.
The Connect America Fund will expand support for mobile broadband and voice services through a Mobility Fund with two phases. Phase I provides immediate one-time support to expand mobile broadband and voice service to unserved areas, determined by reverse auction. Phase II provides ongoing support to deploy and maintain mobile broadband and voice service in high-cost areas. Both phases include specific funding for Tribal areas.