High Cost

Trainings & Outreach

HC Reporter - February 2016

February 2016

In this issue...

Program Happenings   |   At the FCC   l   In the News


FCC Authorizes RBE Support for Skybeam in Iowa

On January 12, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-30) authorizing Rural Broadband Experiment support for Skybeam, LLC for the winning bid identified in the attachment to the Public Notice. The $569,795.93 in support authorized will bring new broadband service to 265 census blocks in Iowa.

Common Audit Findings Web Page

In our continuing efforts to ensure compliance with FCC rules and program requirements, we have put together a list of some of the most common rule violations identified during audits and Payment Quality Assurance (PQA) reviews of High Cost Program recipients. Check out the new web page!


PRA Comments Due March 21 on Mobility Fund Phase I Annual Reports

On January 20, 2016, the FCC published a notice in the Federal Register seeking Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) comments on FCC Form 690 (Annual Report for Mobility Fund Phase I Support), and the record retention requirements, which were revised in the May 14, 2012, Third Order on Reconsideration of the USF/ICC Transformation Order. PRA comments are due March 21, 2016.

FCC Releases Fifth "Measuring Broadband America" Report

On December 30, 2015, the FCC released the results of its ongoing nationwide performance study of consumers' fixed broadband Internet access service in its fifth "Measuring Broadband America" report.

FCC Releases the Chairman's Draft of the 2016 Broadband Progress Report

Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the FCC to determine whether "advanced telecommunications capability" – broadband – is being deployed to all Americans in a "reasonable and timely fashion." If the answer is negative, the Act requires the FCC to "take immediate action" to speed deployment. A summary of Chairman Wheeler's draft of the 2016 Broadband Progress Report, which he is circulating to his fellow commissioners for their consideration at the January 28 Open Meeting, is provided.


During audits, USAC auditors often find non-regulated assets or expenses reported on FCC High Cost Program forms. This is a filing error. Only regulated assets and expenses should be reported.


Carriers receiving Mobility Phase 1 support who have reached the milestone(s) necessary to be eligible for subsequent rounds of support must complete FCC Form 690 to receive Payment 2 or 3.



The High Cost Program team is here to help you! Visit the Contact Us page and let us know how we can help you.

FCC Meeting: ACA Discusses Requirements for Connect America Fund Phase II Bidding

On December 22, 2015, the American Cable Association (ACA) spoke by telephone with FCC staff to discuss the Connect America Fund Phase II competitive bidding process and the order on circulation to establish a framework for that process. Read the summary (Bidding)

FCC Meeting: Atlantic Tele-Network Proposes New Mobility Fund Phase II Approach

On January 4, 2016, Atlantic Tele-Network met with Wireless Telecommunications Bureau staff to discuss its proposal for the structure and implementation of Mobility Fund Phase II. Read the summary (Mobility Fund Phase II)

FCC Meeting: NTCA and Premier Discuss Universal Service Fund Reform Transition, Obligations, and Competitive Overlap

On January 7, 2016, NTCA and Premier Communications met with FCC staff to discuss the need for reasonable and sensible transitions with respect to any aspects of universal service reform, such as operating expense limits, that may be applied by the FCC to costs associated with prior investments. Read the summary (Fund Reform)

FCC Meeting: Nebraska Companies Recommend Additional Funding for Model-Based Support

On January 12 and 13, 2016, Great Plains Communications, the Consolidated Companies, Harold Furchtgott-Roth, and Parrino Strategic Consulting Group met with FCC staff to urge the Commission to move forward with rate-of-return universal service fund reforms and to provide adequate additional funding for the model to obtain significant broadband build out. Read the summary (Model-Based Support)

FCC Meeting: Utilities Telecom Council Supports Connect America Fund Phase II Auction to Promote Fiber

On January 12, 2016, the Utilities Telecom Council met with FCC staff to express its support for the adoption of a framework for the reverse auction for Phase II of the Connect America Fund that would promote opportunities for fiber projects to successfully bid for access to funding in unserved areas. Read the summary (Promote Fiber)

FCC Filing: Satellite Industry Calls for Technology Neutrality in Connect America Fund Phase II Auction

On December 29, 2015, the Satellite Industry Association filed a letter to express concern with UTC's recent ex parte, which urged the FCC to adopt a framework for the Connect America Fund reverse auction process that would give preference to fiber-to-the-home technologies. Read the letter (Satellite Industry)

FCC Filing: Frontier Requests Adjustment of Connect America Fund Phase II Locations in Seven States

On December 30, 2015, Frontier filed a letter to inform the FCC that the actual number of locations in its eligible census blocks is less than the number of Connect America Fund Phase II model-determined locations in seven states. Read the letter (Frontier)

FCC Filing: ADTRAN Identifies Problems with MOS Metric for Connect America Fund Phase II Services

On December 30, 2015, ADTRAN filed a letter to respond to a letter ViaSat attached to its December 18, 2015, ex parte, which suggested criteria for broadband services eligible for subsidies under Connect America Fund Phase II. ADTRAN said they appreciate ViaSat's efforts to develop Connect America Fund Phase II standards that "ensure that consumers receive high-quality services capable of supporting important broadband applications," but believe that some of the specific suggestions may not achieve that goal. Read the letter (ADTRAN)

FCC Filing: Vantage Point Says Revised A-CAM Still Lacks Necessary Precision

On January 5, 2016, Vantage Point filed a letter containing a refreshed assessment of what impact the A-CAM model revisions had on the A-CAM's ability to properly estimate the costs of FTTP deployment in RLEC areas. Read the letter (Vantage Point)

FCC Filing: Small LECS Request Corrected A-CAM Illustrative Results

On January 4, 2016, Hager Telecom filed a letter claiming West Wisconsin Telcom erroneously reported census blocks in its FCC Form 477 deployment file, and this erroneous filing has eliminated all potential A-CAM support for Hager Telecom in Version 2.1, released on December 17, 2015. Somerset Telephone, Bloomer Telephone, Amery Telcom, Baldwin Telecom, Spring Valley Telephone, Nelson Communications Cooperative, and Clear Lake Telephone all filed similar letters. Read the letter (Hager Telecom)

On December 30, 2015, Kevin Carty reported in Morning Consult that broadband speeds in the U.S. have tripled since 2011, according to a recent FCC report.

On January 5, 2016, Colin Wood reported in Government Technology that in 2016, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton wants to triple the state's past broadband efforts.

When Dayton commented on the state's $1.87 billion budget surplus, he recommended that Minnesota allocate $100 million in grant funding for rural broadband development. If that funding is approved by the state legislature this spring, the current grant program would require applicants to at least match the funding offered, which means the state may soon see a total of $200 million in rural broadband funding.

On January 11, 2016, Johnny Kampis reported in Watchdog.org that AT&T is now testing an Internet service in Walker County, Alabama that could help fill the broadband gap in rural areas. About sixty-five households are being paid to participate in the wireless local loop service, which involves installing a directional antenna on their homes to receive a wireless Internet signal from a nearby cell tower.

On January 11, 2016, the National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that HUD updated its National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on December 30, 2015, to clarify that NHTF money may be used for installing broadband infrastructure. HUD also issued similar FAQs for the HOME Investment Partnership and Community Development Block Grant programs.


High Cost Program


February 2016