High Cost

Trainings & Outreach

HC Reporter - October 2015

October 2015

In this issue...

Program Happenings   |   At the FCC   l   In the News


FCC Approves Additional Lines For FCC Form 481

On September 2, 2015, the OMB approved additional lines for the FCC Form 481. The requested data impacts only price cap carriers receiving Connect America Fund Phase I incremental support. An email with further details and information for affected carriers, including when carriers may begin entering the data through USAC's E-File system, will be sent shortly.

FCC Authorizes Rural Broadband Experiments Support

On September 11, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-1003) authorizing five winning bids for First Step Internet and Northeast Rural Services. Read the Notice

FCC Releases Connect America Fund Phase II Support Details and Map

As previously announced, the FCC has authorized ten carriers to receive nearly $9 billion in support over six years for rural broadband deployment from the Connect America Fund. On September 15, 2015, the FCC released data detailing the amount of annual support and locations of support by carrier, state, and county. In addition, a map depicting areas where support was accepted is now available. Read the Announcement



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If a carrier has relinquished its ETC designation, send a copy of the relinquishment order to HC Orders within one week. If USAC does not receive a copy of the relinquishment order within one week, USAC will invoice the carrier for any support paid following the relinquishment. 

FCC Announces Rural Broadband Experiments Support Ready to be Authorized

On September 15, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-1024) announcing that Rural Broadband Experiments support for 13 provisionally selected bids is ready to be authorized. The provisionally authorized selected bids are identified in the attachment of the Public Notice. Provisionally selected bidders were required to submit letters of credit and legal counsel opinion letters by September 29, 2015. Read the Notice


Mobility Fund Support for 11 Winning Bids Ready to be Authorized

On September 21, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-811) announcing they are ready to authorize Mobility Fund Phase I support for the Auction 901 winning bids, identified in Attachment A. To be authorized to receive support, the winning bidder identified in the attachment is required to submit for each of its specified winning bids an acceptable, irrevocable stand-by letter of credit and Bankruptcy Code opinion letter from its legal counsel in accordance with the instructions provided in the Notice by 6:00 PM EDT on October 5, 2015. Read the Notice 

FCC Releases Alternative Connect America Cost Model

On August 31, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-980) containing the Alternative Connect America Cost Model version 1.1 and illustrative results for potential use in rate-of-return areas. Read the Notice

FCC Denies Applications for Review

On August 27, 2015, the FCC denied applications filed by Rural Broadband Services Corporation, Lennon Telephone Company, and Last Mile Broadband LLC seeking review of a Wireline Competition Bureau Order (DA 15-139) denying their respective petitions for waiver of the financial and technical qualification requirements established by the FCC for the Connect America Fund rural broadband experiments. Read the Memorandum

FCC Addresses Transition to Model-Based Support

On August 31, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-981) that addresses the transition to model-based support for carriers that accepted the offer of Connect America Fund Phase II support. Read the Notice

FCC Announces Fourth Quarter Universal Service Fund Contribution Factor

On September 14, 2015, the FCC announced that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter of 2015 will be 0.167, or 16.7 percent. Read the Notice

Commissioner Pai Urges Action on Expanding Rural Broadband Development

On September 15, 2015, Commissioner Pai released a statement on expanding rural broadband development following his meeting with many entrepreneurs working to deploy broadband in rural areas of Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota. Read the Statement

FCC Invites Comments on BellSouth's Application to Discontinue Service

On September 18, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-1051) inviting comment on the application of AT&T Services, on behalf of BellSouth Communications, to discontinue domestic telecommunications services.  Comments are due by October 19, 2015. Read the Notice

FCC Seeks Comment on Windstream's Petition for Limited Waiver

On September 21, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-1057) seeking comment on Windstream's petition for limited waiver of the FCC's intercarrier compensation revenue recovery rules for price cap carriers.  Comments are due by October 21, 2015 and reply comments are due by November 5, 2015. Read the Notice

Chairman Wheeler Discusses Rate-of-Return Reform at NTCA Fall Conference

On September 21, 2015, Chairman Wheeler spoke at the NTCA Fall Conference in Boston, MA to discuss broadband deployment and High Cost Program reform. Read the Remarks

Michigan Commissioner Appointed to Federal-State Board

On September 22, 2015, the FCC released an Order (FCC 15-132) appointing the Honorable Sally Talberg, Commissioner, Michigan Public Service Commission, to serve on the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service. Read the Order

FCC Meeting: NRECA and UTC Discuss Connect America Fund Phase II Competitive Bidding

On September 2, 2015, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) met with FCC staff to present and discuss principles and procedures supported by NRECA and UTC to govern the competitive bidding process for the available funds under Phase II of the Connect America Fund. Read the summary

FCC Meeting: Alexicon and Gila River Discuss Cost Model Inputs and Tribal Broadband Factor

On September 3, 2015, Alexicon Consulting and Gila River Telecommunications met with FCC staff to discuss cost model inputs and possible effects they have on generating support levels for Tribal lands. Read the summary

FCC Meeting: GCI Discusses ATA Rate-of-Return Plan

On September 11, 2015, GCI spoke with FCC staff to discuss the Alaska Telephone Association's plan for rate-of-return and CETC High Cost Program support. Read the summary

FCC Meeting: WTA, et al. Discuss Alternative Cost Model

On September 16, 2015, WTA, Wheat State Telephone, Northern Arkansas Telephone, Valley Telephone, GVNW, and Monte R. Lee and Company met with the FCC to discuss their experience in serving rural areas and its relevance to universal service reform. Read the summary

FCC Meeting: JSI Discusses Alternative Cost Model Underlying Data

On September 17, 2015, JSI spoke with the FCC to discuss the Alternative Connect America Cost Model and its underlying data. Read the summary

FCC Meeting: ACS Discusses Connect America Fund Phase II Implementation

On September 16, 2015, ACS spoke with FCC staff to discuss open matters affecting implementation of Phase II of the Connect America Fund in Alaska. Read the summary

FCC Meeting: NTCA Meets with Commissioner O'Rielly to Discuss Updates to Support Mechanisms

On September 22, 2015, Commissioner O'Rielly and his legal advisor participated in an NTCA policy committee meeting and a separate meeting with other NTCA members. Read the Ex Parte

FCC Meeting: Rep. Walden Issues Statement on Proposed Connect America Fund for Rate-of-Return Carriers

On September 22, 2015, House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (OR) issued a statement relating to Chairman Wheeler's announcement that the Connect America Fund will focus its resources for broadband deployment on areas where private investment is not occurring.

FCC Filing: NTCA, ITTA, et al Suggest Modifications to Capital Budget Mechanism

On August 31, 2015, NTCA, ITTA, USTelecom, WTA, and NECA filed a letter to suggest modifying the proposed Capital Budget Mechanism for RLEC broadband universal service support to ensure a more equitable and efficient distribution of federal universal service fund resources by linking prospective eligibility of capital expenses for universal service fund support to carrier specific budgets that are premised upon replacement over a series of years of depreciated plant. Read the letter 

FCC Filing: NECA Files Data on Potential FCC Bifurcated Concept for Rate-of-Return Universal Service Fund Support

On September 11, 2015, NECA filed preliminary data and results for a potential FCC bifurcated concept for rate-of-return universal service fund support as discussed in an August 6, 2015, meeting with the FCC. Read the letter

FCC Filing: PRTC Removes Three Census Blocks From Connect America Fund Phase I Broadband Plan

On September 17, 2015, Puerto Rico Telephone Company filed a letter notifying the FCC that it removed three census blocks from its original Connect America Fund Phase I Round 2 deployment plan after one party challenged the eligibility of those census blocks. Read the letter

FCC Comments: NTCA Supports Halstad Request for Reinstatement as Provisional Winner for Rural Broadband Experiments

On September 1, 2015, NTCA filed reply Comments on Halstad Telephone's Petition for Reconsideration, urging the FCC to grant the requested relief to Halstad. Read the Comments

FCC Comments: Frontier Files Reply on ETC Designations and Obligations in Areas Served by Price Cap Carriers

On September 24, 2015, Frontier filed a Reply in response to the Public Notice (DA 15-851) on refreshing the record on pending issues related to ETC designations and obligations in areas served by price cap carriers. Read the Comments

Upcoming Connect America Fund Reverse Auction Puts Markets Up for Grabs for Broadband Funding

On September 1, 2015, Joan Engebretson reported in telecompetitor.com that about 10 percent of Connect America Fund Phase II funding remains unclaimed following the deadline by which price cap carriers were required to indicate whether or not they planned to accept funding. The FCC plans to award this remaining funding through a reverse auction that will be open to the incumbents and to competitors, with funding going to the company that offers to deliver broadband for the lowest level of support. Read the article

Regulators Look at Rule Changes to Raise Maine's Broadband Game 

On September 9, 2015, Darren Fishell reported in Bangor Daily News that Maine's utilities regulators may soon follow other states in setting specific standards for giving telecom companies access to utility poles, a move that advocates of broadband expansion argue is a key component of increasing high-speed Internet access. Read the article 


High Cost Program


October 2015




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