High Cost

Trainings & Outreach

HC Reporter - January 2016

January 2016

In this issue...

Program Happenings   |   At the FCC   l   In the News


Rural Broadband Experiment Support Authorized for Three Carriers in Three States

On December 11, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-1416) authorizing rural broadband experiment support for BARC Electric Cooperative, Douglas Services, Inc., and Northeast Rural Services, Inc. The $5,196,652.85 in authorized support will bring broadband to 617 census blocks in three states. Read Public Notice (DA 15-1416) 


FCC Releases Proposed First Quarter 2016 Universal Service Contribution Factor

On December 11, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-1412) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the first quarter of 2016 will be 0.182, or 18.2 percent. Read Public Notice (DA 15-1412) 

FCC Finalizes Carriers Subject to 100 Percent Overlap Rule

On December 14, 2015, the FCC released an Order (DA 15-1419) announcing the final determination of the 100 percent overlapped study areas. The FCC found that only Pineville Telephone is subject to 100 percent overlap by an unsubsidized competitor and ordered support payments for Pineville be phased down over a two-year period, commencing in January 2016. Read the Order (DA 15-1419) 

Alternative Connect America Cost Model 2.1

On December 17, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-1431) announcing the release of the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) v2.1, which:
  • Incorporates study area-specific plant mix values submitted by rate-of-return carriers, 
  • Updates broadband coverage data to address issues raised by rate-of-return commenters regarding reported competitive coverage, and 
  • Provides an alternative coverage option that excludes from support calculations census blocks served with either fiber to the premises (FTTP) or cable. 
The Notice also includes results that illustrate how the two different coverage assumptions used in calculating support impact the potential support calculated for a particular study area. Read Public Notice (DA 15-1431) 


Often, non-revenue producing and/or non-working loops are reported in the line count filing. This is incorrect. Carriers should review their data prior to submission to avoid this type of audit finding.



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. 



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FCC Meeting: Small Company Coalition Calls for Reduced Regulatory Compliance Burden for Small Providers

On November 30, 2015, Laurel Highlands Telecommunications, Wheat State Telephone, and the Small Company Coalition met with FCC staff to discuss the workload and cost of regulatory compliance for small communications providers. Read the summary (GRTyree Consulting)

FCC Meeting: Nebraska Companies Call for Sufficient Funding for Model-Based Universal Service Support

On December 2, 2015, Parrino Consulting spoke with FCC staff on behalf of the Nebraska Companies regarding the reform of rate-of-return universal service support and providing sufficient funding for the model-based option. Read the summary (Parrino Strategic Consulting Group)

FCC Meeting: NTCA Discusses Competitive Overlap and Reasonable Comparability for RLECs

On December 2, 2015, NTCA spoke via telephone with FCC staff to discuss processes and standards that should be used to verify the presence and capabilities of would-be unsubsidized competitors in rural local exchange carrier (RLEC) study areas or portions thereof. Read the summary (NTCA)

FCC Meeting: ACS Calls for Continued Voice Service Support in Areas Outside of Connect America Fund Phase II Areas

On December 10, 2015, Alaska Communications spoke by telephone with FCC staff to express that the FCC should provide explicit support for voice service in extremely high-cost census blocks in Alaska that are served by Alaska Communications, in addition to the Connect America Fund Phase II frozen support that the FCC currently has reserved for Alaska Communications. Read the summary (Alaska Communications)

FCC Filings: Smith Bagley Advocates Opening Connect America Fund Phase II Auction to Mobile Providers

On December 3, 2015, Smith Bagley filed a letter relating to the FCC's pending consideration of policies and rules for the Connect America Fund Phase II competitive bidding process, as it relates to service on Tribal lands. Read the letter (LNGS)

FCC Filings: Gila River and NTTA Propose Service Obligations Associated With Tribal Broadband Factor

On December 4, 2015, Gila River Telecommunications and the National Tribal Telecommunications Association filed a letter to provide information regarding obligations that would accompany funding associated with the proposed Tribal Broadband Factor. Read the letter (Gila River Telecommunications, Inc. & NTTA)

Sen. Angus King Presses FCC to Police FairPoint's Broadband Project

On November 24, 2015, Whit Richardson reported in the Portland Press Herald that U.S. Sen. Angus King has sent a letter to federal regulators seeking clarity about how FairPoint Communications will be held accountable as it uses millions in federal subsidies to expand broadband Internet access in rural Maine. Read the article (Portland Press Herald)

Connect America Fund Revenue Impact: Major Carriers Could See $400 Million Annually

On December 1, 2015, Joan Engebretson reported in the Telecompetitor that within the next few years the nation's largest local telecom service providers could see their collective annual revenues increase by more than $400 million from new broadband build-outs funded through the Connect America Fund, according to Telecompetitor's analysis. Read the article (Telecompetitor)

Colorado Releases State Broadband Portal

On December 9, 2015, Jake Williams reported in State Scoop that Colorado unveiled a new online portal that lets Colorado's residents check the status of broadband in their area. Read the article (State Scoop)

Read High Cost Program news and industry-related news throughout the month on our Industry News page!


High Cost Program


January 2016