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3/23/2017HUBB Filing Requirements Receive PRA Approval


On March 22, 2017, the FCC announced approval for the information collection associated with the Commission's Connect America Fund,Report and Order, Order and Order on Reconsideration, April 25, 2016, Report and Order, July 7, 2016, and Order, November 22, 2016. For more information, please see our HUBB landing page.  

3/9/2017FCC Releases Mobility Fund Phase II Order


On March 7, 2017, the FCC released an Order (FCC 17-11) adopting the framework for moving forward with the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) and Tribal Mobility Fund Phase II, which will allocate up to $4.53 billion over the next decade to advance the deployment of 4G LTE service to areas that are so costly that the private sector has not yet deployed there and to preserve such service where it might not otherwise exist.  

2/24/2017HUBB Filing Deadlines


The High Cost Universal Broadband (HUBB) portal will soon be ready to accept broadband deployment data from carriers participating in the modernized Connect America Fund (CAF) programs. This data will show where carriers are building out mass-market, high-speed Internet service, and will eventually be displayed on a public-facing map showing the impact of Connect America funding on broadband expansion throughout rural America.

Extension of HUBB Filing Deadlines
On February 24, 2017, the FCC released an Order (DA 17-196) (1) temporarily extending the March 1, 2017 HUBB portal filing deadline for Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II carriers and Connect America Fund-Broadband Loop Support (CAF-BLS) recipients, and (2) clarifying the HUBB portal filing obligations for Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) recipients with respect to “pre-existing” locations. As a result of this order, the first HUBB filing deadline for Phase II carriers will be no sooner than July 1, 2017, and the first HUBB filing deadline for CAF-BLS and A-CAM recipients will be no sooner than March 1, 2018. 

Pursuant to the Order:

  1. CAF Phase II carriers (including Alaska Communications Systems) must file locations deployed in 2016 by the later of July 1, 2017 or two weeks after Federal Register publication of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act, of the information collection requirements related to the HUBB portal (PRA approval).
  2. CAF BLS recipients must file locations deployed between May 25, 2016 (the effective date of the Rate-of-Return Reform Order) and December 31, 2016 by the later of March 11, 2018 or two weeks after PRA approval.
  3. A-CAM recipients must file locations deployed in 2016 and earlier (“pre-existing locations”) by March 1, 2019. (The FCC’s earlier public notice stated that pre-existing locations for ACAM recipients included locations deployed in 2015 and earlier.) As the rules currently require, A-CAM recipients must file locations deployed in 2017 by March 1, 2018.

HUBB Portal Launch Date
• The HUBB will be launched soon. USAC will notify carriers and other stakeholders when it becomes available.
• Until Paperwork Reduction Act approval is granted, carrier officers will not be able to certify location data.
• USAC will provide updates on the HUBB resource page, through the HUBB email distribution list, and other ongoing communications with stakeholders. For regular updates on the HUBB, please sign up for the HUBB email distribution list, entitled "High Cost Detailed HUBB Updates," in USAC's Subscription Center.

2/14/2017FCC Announces Results of 2017 Urban Rate Survey


On February 14, 2017, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 17-167) announcing the 2017 rate floor for incumbent ETCs and reasonable comparability benchmarks for fixed voice and broadband services. In addition, the notice announced the posting of the fixed voice and broadband services data collected in the most recent urban rate survey, and explanatory notes regarding the data, on the FCC’s website. The notice also announces the required minimum usage allowance for ETCs subject to public interest obligations for fixed broadband.

The Public Notice indicates that each ETC providing fixed voice services must certify in the FCC Form 481 filed no later than July 1, 2017, that the pricing of its basic residential voice services is no more than $49.51. The reasonable comparability broadband benchmark varies, depending upon the supported service’s download and upload bandwidths and usage allowance. A table providing the details can be found in the Public Notice.

2/10/2017HUBB Is Coming Soon, Be Prepared! FAQs Now Available


The High Cost Universal Broadband (HUBB) portal will soon be live and ready to accept broadband deployment data from carriers participating in the modernized Connect America programs.

Carriers can take steps now to prepare for the HUBB launch and be ready to file data showing where they are building out mass-market, high-speed Internet service.

USAC is committed to helping carriers file successfully with the HUBB. Below are some resources from USAC and the FCC to help carriers collect geolocated broadband deployment data, check its accuracy, and upload it to the portal:

2/9/2017Buildout Methodology Selection made by All Carriers for CAF Broadband Loop Support


USAC has collected the buildout methodology selection made by all carriers for Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support, including those with no buildout requirement (NBR). This information is now posted on USAC’s website on the High Cost Program Tools page.

2/7/2017Deployment Obligations for Rate-of-Return Carriers


On February 3, 2017, the FCC released updated information regarding the mandatory deployment obligations that will apply to rate-of-return carriers who remain on legacy universal service support mechanisms. This updated information now includes deployment obligations for ASTCA.

This information is now posted on USAC’s website on the High Cost Program Search Tools page. 

1/24/2017FCC Authorizes Revised A-CAM Support


On January 24, 2017, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 17-99) authorizing 182 rate-of-return companies that elected 217 revised offers of Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) support to receive model-based support. Nationwide, a total of 207 rate-of-return carriers in 43 states have now been authorized to receive A-CAM support.

1/13/2017Elect A-CAM by January 19 or Remain with High Cost Legacy Funding


Carriers have until 5:30 PM EST on Thursday, January 19, 2017, to notify the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that they elect to receive High Cost Program support based on the Alternative Connect America Model (A-CAM). Carriers can make this election on a state-by-state basis. 

No action is required if carriers wish to continue to receive support from reformed legacy mechanisms, including Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF-BLS) and High Cost Loop Support (HCLS), if applicable. If a carrier fails to submit any final election letter by the January 19, 2017 deadline, it will remain on legacy support.

To Select A-CAM Support
To elect A-CAM support, carriers must email the FCC at ConnectAmerica@fcc.gov and indicate their A-CAM election in the email, along with specific state elections (if applicable). Elections will be considered timely if the FCC receives them by 5:30 PM EST on January 19, 2017. (Note: please see 47 CFR Section 0.403, 1.7). Carriers should not mail a hard copy of their election letter to the FCC.

Carriers submitting election letter emails will receive an e-mail confirmation receipt from the FCC.  Should carriers not receive this receipt, they should contact the FCC, via email or via phone at (202) 418-7400, no later than 4:00 PM EST on January 19, 2017. Confirmation of receipt does not constitute authorization to receive A-CAM support.

Background on A-CAM
The Rate-of-Return Order allows carriers to elect the new A-CAM model, which provides a set amount of monthly support over 10 years, or remain with a reformed version of legacy support mechanisms, including CAF-BLS and HCLS. After receiving initial carrier elections by November 1, the FCC took a number of steps to address high demand for A-CAM support. 

Those steps include allocating an additional $50 million annually to the A-CAM budget and making revised offers to 191 carriers that previously elected A-CAM. The methodology used to calculate the revised offers reduces support by varying percentages based on how many locations in a carrier’s eligible service territory still lack access to broadband speeds of 10 megabits per second downstream and 1 megabit per second upstream. Carriers that accept the revised offer of support must agree to meet the terms of the original A-CAM offer if additional support becomes available in 2017 to fund the original offers.

More Resources
For more information, please visit our Rate of Return Reform Order web page. If you have any questions, please contact us at HC Questions.

1/6/2017How to File Successfully in HUBB


On January 5, 2017, USAC held a webinar "Successfully Filing Broadband Deployment Data with USAC". A recording of the webinar and a copy of the slide deck are now available on the website.

12/28/2016FCC Authorizes Support and Approves Performance Plans for Alaska Plan Participants


On December 21, 2016,  the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-1425) authorizing Alaska Plan support for 13 Alaskan rate-of-return carriers. A separate Public Notice (DA 16-1419), approving the performance plans  of the eight wireless providers that elected to participate in the Alaska Plan, was released at the same time. Both documents may be accessed on the Rate-of-Return Reform Order page.

12/28/2016FCC Announces A-CAM Support


On December 20, 2016 the FCC released an Order (FCC 16-178) adopting measures to address the significant demand for A-CAM support. At the same time, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-1422) authorizing 35 rate-of-return companies to receive more than $51 million annually in A-CAM support  and announced offers of revised A-CAM support amounts to 191 rate-of-return companies. Both documents may be accessed on the Rate-of-Return Reform Order page.

12/21/2016USAC Posts Second Offer for A-CAM Support


On December 20, 2016, USAC posted details of the second offer for A-CAM support, which includes legacy transition payments, to the Rate-of-Return Reform Order section of the website.

12/19/2016Webinar: How to Be Successful with the HUBB Portal - January 5


Join USAC for a webinar on Thursday, January 5 at 2:00 PM, to prepare for the upcoming launch of the HUBB (High Cost Universal Broadband) portal.

Webinar: How to Be Successful with the HUBB Portal
January 5, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Register Now

Topics

  • An overview of different methods for gathering correct geographic coordinates showing broadband deployment, along with an explanation of the pros and cons of these approaches.
  • A demonstration of a new data validator tool that allows carriers to check the accuracy of their deployment data before officially uploading it to the portal.
  • Answers to questions submitted in advance using the "Questions and Comments" section of the registration form.
  • Live Q&A

Please note: USAC will not discuss or answer policy questions.

Who should attend
Carriers participating in modernized Connect America programs should attend this webinar.

Reporting Geolocated Data in the HUBB
Starting in 2017, carriers participating in modernized Connect America programs must file deployment data with USAC’s HUBB portal showing where they are building out mass-market, high-speed Internet service by precise location. This information will include latitude and longitude coordinates for every location where service is available, and will eventually be displayed on a public-facing map showing the impact of Connect America funding on broadband expansion throughout rural America. HUBB will be available and ready to accept geolocated deployment data in early 2017, in time for a March 1 filing deadline.

Support
If you have any questions about the event or the HUBB portal, please contact HC Questions.

12/9/2016FCC Releases Public Notice Providing Guidance on Reporting Obligations


On December 8, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-1363) providing guidance to Connect America Fund recipients regarding their obligation to report geo-located broadband information and make service milestone certifications to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).

9/28/2016Webinar Invitation: Rate-of-Return Order Q&A with the FCC


Join the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau Staff and USAC for a webinar on October 6 to discuss the status of implementation of the 2016 Rate-of-Return Reform Order.

Rate-of-Return Reform Order Q&A
The session will begin with a short presentation, but most of the time will be dedicated to Q&A with the FCC. The agenda includes:

  • Status of the implementation of the Rate-of-Return Reform Order (released March 30, 2016)
  • Questions submitted in advance (submit yours using the "Questions and Comments" section of the registration form)
  • Open Q&A

Register Now: 2016 Rate-of-Return Order Q&A
Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 1:00 PM ET

Carriers are encouraged to submit questions in advance using the "Questions and Comments" section of the registration form. 

This session will be recorded and posted to USAC's Online Learning Library for later viewing. A recording of the Rate-of-Return Reform Order webinar presented in April 2016 is also available on that page, along with the slide deck and Q&A.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact HC Questions.