Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) are required to be certified to receive High Cost Program support, pursuant to Section 54.314, including certification of Mobility Fund Phase I and Tribal study area codes.
Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) receiving High Cost Program support. There are two ways for carriers to be certified depending on the designation of the ETC:
State Certification: State regulatory commissions certify that certain carriers are eligible to receive High Cost Program support in their states.
Self-Certification: A carrier not subject to the jurisdiction of a state must certify that all federal High Cost Program support they received 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 was/is intended.
Both state and self-certifying carriers must also certify Mobility Fund Phase I study area codes and Tribal study area codes (SACs). See sample letters below in the Trainings & Resources section.
States and carriers have two options for submitting their certifications:
USAC highly recommends filing online. A PDF will populate after completing the fields in E-File that you can print for your records and to mail to the FCC.
For state commissions filing online, a state representative will need to complete an Online Filing Request Form to gain access to E-File. Contact USAC at HC Certifications to request a form. At this time, only one state representative can be authorized to use the system at any given time. If there is a change in the assignment of who should complete the 54.314 certification, the state commission must contact USAC at HC Certifications to inform us that a change has occurred and to submit a new Online Filing Request Form.
If submitting a hard copy certification via mail, email, or fax, the letter must state that all federal High Cost Program support provided to such carriers within that state or received by the certifying carrier 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 was/is intended. The certification letter should also include each carrier's study area code (SAC), the six-digit number assigned to each carrier.
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 ETCs 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].