High Cost

FCC Forms 481/690 Due by 11:59:59 PM ET, July 1
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6/16/2016E-File Outage for FCC Form 481 Filers Due to System Maintenance: Monday, June 20


USAC's E-File system for FCC Form 481 filers will be unavailable Monday, June 20, from 7:00-9:00 AM ET, for system maintenance. The online FCC Form 481 will not be accessible for contributors or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for FCC Form 690 online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

6/7/2016FCC Form 481 Now Ready for Certification


As announced in a Public Notice (DA 16-601), released on May 31, 2016, the FCC Form 481 has been OMB-approved. As such, the certify button and bulk certification options are now active and carriers can make their final certifications.

This filing is required for all ETCs participating in the High Cost and/or Lifeline programs with the exception of participants in Phase I Mobility Fund [section 54.313(k)]. FCC Form 481 is due Friday, July 1, 2016

FCC Form 481 Templates and Resources
Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can log into E-File and access the FCC Form 481. USAC has also posted the FCC Form 481 Template (PDF version), filing instructions, and all necessary upload templates to our website. 

While the names of these files on our website have been updated to reflect the approval of the form, the content has not changed as a result of the approval. These can all be found on the High Cost Forms and Lifeline Forms pages. 

In addition, a recording of the webinar held about this year's FCC Form 481 submission may be accessed on the USAC website.

6/7/2016June 2016 HC Reporter Issued


The June 2016 HC Reporter is now available. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

6/7/2016FCC Provides Guidance to Incremental Support Recipients Regarding Validation of Compliance


On June 3, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-618) providing guidance to price cap carriers that accepted Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase I incremental support regarding upcoming validation of compliance for Phase I incremental support. In response to informal inquiries from CAF Phase I incremental support recipients, the FCC provided guidance about the types of documentation that recipients should be prepared to produce upon request. Examples of potentially relevant documentation would include, but not be limited to: 


•      Engineering studies, 
•      Construction schedules, 
•      Records of plant placed in service, 
•      Network maps, 
•      Advertising materials, and/or
•      Customer subscription records. 


Carriers should be prepared to produce their capital improvement plan from the time period immediately pre-dating the acceptance of CAF Phase I incremental support for either round. Carriers also should be prepared to produce documentation demonstrating the steps taken to determine an area was not already served according to the then-current National Broadband Map or slated to become served as a BIP or BTOP project, to the best of their knowledge. Carriers that accepted funding in the second round to deploy to locations shown on the then current National Broadband Map as already served by them with 3 Mbps/768 kbps should be prepared to produce documentation that those locations were served at the time of acceptance through a copper-fed digital subscriber line access multiplexer.


6/3/2016E-File Outage for FCC Form 481 Filers Due to System Maintenance: Monday, June 6


USAC's E-File system for FCC Form 481 filers will be unavailable Monday, June 6, from 4:00-6:00 PM ET, for system maintenance. The online FCC Form 481 will not be accessible for contributors or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for FCC Form 690 online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

6/1/2016FCC Form 481 Approved by OMB


On May 31, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-601) announcing the approval of FCC Form 481 by the Office of Management and Budget.

5/17/2016Tariff Review Plan Templates


USAC has developed submission templates to help you with your Tariff Review Plans, due June 16, 2016. Access the templates on the Handouts & Reference page. Completed templates should be submitted with your TRP.

5/17/2016May 2016 HC Reporter Issued


The May 2016 HC Reporter is now available. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

5/6/2016FCC Releases Density Data


On May 3, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-478) announcing the release of rate-of-return study area density data. Density will be used in implementing various reforms adopted by the FCC in the Rate-of-Return Reform Order.

4/27/2016Overview of the FCC's Rate-of-Return Reforms Webinar FAQs Available


After the webinar, "Overview of the FCC's Rate-of-Return Reforms" (presented April 4, 2016), the FCC prepared written answers to some of the questions submitted during the event.

An initial batch of answers to the audience's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are now available on the FCC's Connect America Fund page, or you can download them here.

The FCC is still reviewing some of the questions received during the webinar, and will update the FAQ document with additional answers over the next few weeks.

Thank you again for your thoughtful questions during the webinar. Resources from the event are available in USAC's Online Learning Library. And if you have additional questions about the Rate-of-Return reforms, please send them to HC Questions.

4/14/2016Comments on Rate-of-Return USF Reform FNPRM Due May 12


On April 12, 2016, the FCC published the FNPRM attached to the March 30, 2016 Rate-of-Return USF Reform Order in the Federal Register. The FNPRM seeks comments on proposed rule changes to the FCC’s accounting and affiliate transaction rules for ratemaking and USF support purposes “to eliminate inefficiencies and provide guidance to rate-of-return carriers regarding the FCC’s expectations for appropriate expenditures.” The FNPRM also seeks comments on: methods for reducing support in competitive areas; increasing support for RoR carriers in tribal lands and unserved areas; measures to improve the operation of the current rate-of-return system; and streamlining ETC annual reporting requirements. Comments are due May 12; replies due June 13.

4/11/2016Updated A-CAM Results and Competitive Coverage Challenge Process


On April 28, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-378) announcing the release of a new version of the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) and commencing the challenge process to competitive coverage. Comments to challenge coverage data for competitors will be due April 28, 2016. 

4/6/2016FCC Announces the Results of 2016 Urban Rate Survey


On April 5, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-362) announcing the results of the 2016 urban rate survey for fixed voice and broadband services. Under the FCC’s rules ILEC ETCs must report in their annual FCC Form 481 the number of residential service lines for which the sum of the local rate and state fees is below the rate floor set in this Public Notice.

4/6/2016April 2016 HC Reporter Issued


The April 2016 HC Reporter is now available. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

4/1/2016FCC Form 481 Now Available; Due July 1


USAC is pleased to announce that eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can now log into E-File and access FCC Form 481, the Carrier Annual Reporting Data Collection Form, which is due Friday, July 1, 2016 for Program Year 2017. 

FCC Form 481 is required for all ETCs participating in the High Cost and/or Lifeline programs, with the exception of participants who only receive Phase I Mobility Fund (Section 54.313(k)).

USAC has posted drafts of these items on the High Cost Forms and Lifeline Forms pages:

  • FCC Form 481 Template
  • Filing instructions
  • Upload templates

These documents will be posted as drafts until Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval is complete. Upon approval, USAC will post updated versions of these documents and notify carriers.

Carriers May Begin, but Not Certify, FCC Form 481 Filing
Please note that carriers may begin the filing, but will not be able to certify the filing.

Currently, the form and instructions are still pending OMB approval, and as a result, the "certify" button and bulk certify options will be disabled until approval has been made. 

USAC will send notification when the "certify" buttons are activated.

3/31/20162015 USAC Annual Report Now Available


USAC's 2015 Annual Report highlights the strategic groundwork put in place to support the modernization orders from the FCC. USAC developed a strategy and approach to maximize program impact and amplify our dedication to the mission of universal service. The Annual Report demonstrates these strategic shifts and showcases detailed supporting numbers for each program area.

3/31/2016FCC Announces Webinar on Rate-of-Return Reform: April 4


The FCC will host a webinar on Monday, April 4, 2016, from 2:00-3:30 PM ET, to provide a summary of the reforms to the high-cost support mechanisms for rate-of-return carriers adopted in the Rate-of-Return Reform Order. Interested parties may register here.

3/25/2016FCC Form 690 Now Available in E-File - Due July 1, 2016


Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can now access the FCC Form 690, the Mobility Fund Phase 1 Annual Report Form, in E-File.

Log in now: FCC Form 690 in E-File

The FCC Form 690 is required for all participants in Phase I Mobility Fund [Section 54.313(k)]. The annual filing is due Friday, July 1, 2016. USAC has also posted the following resources on the High Cost Program Forms page:

  • A PDF version of FCC Form 690,
  • OMB-approved filing instructions and an online filing user guide,
  • A video series about filing FCC Form 690, and
  • The necessary upload template.

Please note that the FCC Form 690 is required for all participants in Phase I Mobility Fund [Section 54.313(k)], including 902 auction winners.

3/11/2016March 2016 HC Reporter Issued


The March 2016 HC Reporter is now available. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.