High Cost

Certify: 54.313 Certification (FCC Form 481)

The FCC Form 481 is filed to fulfill a carrier's 54.313 certification requirement so they can continue to receive High Cost Program support.


Who Must File:

All eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) receiving High Cost Program support, with the exception of Mobility Fund recipients.

When and What to File:
  • Due July 1: FCC Form 481 (Carrier Annual Reporting Data Collection Form)
How to File:

Carriers must complete and submit this form online with USAC. Subsequent to carriers submitting this form online to USAC, they can also print out a copy of the completed form for submission to the FCC, state utility regulators, and other applicable agencies. Submissions to the FCC may be made via mail or the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System. Carriers that receive both High Cost and Lifeline program support should follow both the High Cost and Lifeline programs' support requirements.

Carriers may choose to complete this filing themselves and submit it to the FCC and the relevant state commissions, relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal governments, as appropriate. Alternatively, carriers can elect to designate an agent to execute the compliance filing on their behalf. Note that if a carrier chooses to designate an agent to complete and submit FCC Form 481 on their behalf, an authorized officer of the carrier must certify that the data provided by their authorized agent is accurate to the best of their knowledge.

Late Filings

There is a reduction in support for late filings. The FCC will impose a minimum reduction of support of seven days since it is important that carriers meet all filing deadlines. After the initial seven days, support will be reduced further on a day-by-day basis until the carrier files the required certification, plus the minimum seven-day reduction. Therefore, a carrier that misses the deadline by four days would lose seven days of support. A carrier that misses the deadline by 14 days would lose 21 days of support [Report and Order (FCC 14-190), section C, numbers 131-132].

For a late filer, a one-time grace period of three days can be applied so that a carrier that quickly rectifies its error within three days of the deadline will not be subject to the seven-day minimum loss of support. Thus, a carrier that files a certification within two days of the deadline would not lose support, but a carrier that files a certification within five days of the deadline would lose seven days of support, and so on.

If the carrier files late again, the grace period will not be available [Report and Order (FCC 14-190), paragraph 133].

The FCC has determined that the grace period will be done at the holding company level. If a carrier misses the deadline and exercises the grace period, that grace period will not be available for all subsequent years to any of the holding company's other operating companies that hold an ETC designation to serve a different study area [Report and Order (FCC 14-190), paragraph 134].

Trainings and Resources

Use E-File to file FCC Form 481 online.

Step-by-step videos for
filing the form in E-File.


Related Orders

  • FCC Connect America Fund information – FCC web page that lists Orders, Public Notices, and other information related to the Connect America Fund
  • USF/ICC Transformation Order (FCC 11-161) – The order creating this certification/reporting requirement
  • FCC Executive Summary - Summary of the USF/Transformation Order
  • Report and Order (FCC 14-54) – Order implementing additional requirements for FCC Form 481
  • Report and Order (FCC 14-190) – Order increasing the minimum speed requirements that recipients of High Cost Program support must offer to 10Mbps downstream