High Cost

FCC Forms 481/690 Due by 11:59:59 PM ET, July 1








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8/19/2016August 2016 HC Reporter Issued

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

8/17/2016Preliminary Eligible Census Blocks for CAF Phase II Auction Available

On August 10, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing a preliminary list and map of census blocks that have been deemed initially eligible for the Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II auction. The list  and the map are on the FCC website. Notifications of additional coverage data are due by August 31, 2016.

FCC Issues Compliance Guide for RoR USF Obligations, Reporting
On August 11, 2016, the FCC issued a Small Entity Compliance Guide describing the service and reporting obligations for rate-of-return (RoR) carriers that voluntarily elect, on a state-level basis, to receive CAF A-CAM model-based support or that choose to remain on legacy mechanisms. The guide details various performance, deployment, and reporting obligations for all RoR carriers receiving High Cost Program support, including speed, latency, data usage, buildout, reporting, certification, recordkeeping, interconnection, and pricing.

FCC Releases Minor Corrections to A-CAM
On August 15, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice with minor changes to the reports showing the model-based Connect America Fund support amounts offered to rate-of-return carriers originally released on August 3, 2016. Specifically, the report now includes a revised support amount for Fremont Telecom and corrections to the short names previously assigned to seven study areas. No other changes were made and all other companies’ support amounts remain the same. 

8/5/2016Offers of A-CAM Support for Rate-of-Return Carriers Announced

On August 3, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice releasing the final version of the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM v2.3) and announcing the offers of model-based Connect America Fund support to rate-of-return carriers to fund the deployment of voice and broadband-capable networks in their service territories. Carriers have until November 1, 2016 (90 days) to indicate, on a state-by-state basis, whether they elect to receive model-based support. See the reports detailing support and obligations.

8/3/2016Stay Up-to-Date with Regulatory Filings

Please stay up to date with your regulatory filings. USAC reminds rate-of-return carriers that it will withhold funding from carriers that do not submit data needed to calculate High Cost Program support.

In the Rate of Return Reform Order released on March 30, 2016, the FCC created a model-based funding mechanism for rate-of-return carriers and is asking carriers to choose between the new cost model and a modified version of the existing support system. 

Carriers that elect the new Alternative Connect America Model (A-CAM) will receive a set amount of monthly support over 10 years and will need to meet defined build-out obligations. Carriers that choose to stick with the modified legacy funding mechanism, Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF-BLS), will receive funding - and be required to meet deployment obligations – that are calculated using data submitted by carriers.

Specifically, the FCC and USAC will use FCC Form 477 data to conduct competitive overlap analysis and calculate deployment obligations; study area boundary data to calculate study area density and set operating expense limitations; and data to determine the capital investment allowance. Without this information, USAC will be unable to calculate carrier support, including support for carriers that elect the CAF-BLS path, and will withhold funding until this information is submitted.

Carriers should therefore be certain that all data filed with the FCC, including FCC Form 477 data and study area boundary data, are up-to-date and accurate. Any data revisions should be filed as soon as possible. These filings are in addition to the FCC Form 481 (54.313), the annual use certification (54.314) and deployment data (54.316) that carriers are required to submit in order to receive High Cost Program support (as specified in 54.903).

7/7/2016July 2016 HC Reporter Issued

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

6/29/2016Support Calculations for Budget Control Mechanism

USAC announces support calculations for budget control mechanism as required by the FCC’s Rate-of-Return Reform Order. Please see the Budget Control Mechanism for Rate of Return Carriers page for more information.

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.

6/1/2016FCC 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.