High Cost

Trainings & Outreach

HC Reporter - April 2016

April 2016

In this issue...

Program Happenings   |   At the FCC   l   In the News


FCC Forms 481 and 690 Online Systems Ready for Filing

FCC Forms 481 and 690 are due July 1, 2016. FCC Form 481 is required for all carriers participating in the High Cost and/or Lifeline programs, with the exception of participants in Mobility Fund Phase I [Section 54.313(k)].


Carriers receiving Mobility Fund Phase I are instead required to file FCC Form 690. Both forms for 2016 are now available in our online filing system, E-File.


We have also posted the form templates (PDF version), filing instructions, and all necessary upload templates to our website on the Forms page.


*Please note that carriers may begin the FCC Form 481 filing, but will not be able to certify their filing. The form and instructions are still pending OMB approval and, as a result, the certify button and bulk certify options will be disabled until approved. We will send notification when the certify buttons are activated. This is related to the FCC Form 481 only; FCC Form 690 is not affected and may be certified at any time. 

FCC Releases Order Adopting USF Reform for Rate-of-Return Carriers

On March 30, 2016, the FCC released an Order (FCC 16-33) adopting significant reforms to place the High Cost Program on solid footing for the next decade to "preserve and advance" voice and broadband service in areas served by rate-of-return carriers.


In 2011, the Commission unanimously adopted transformational reforms to modernize universal service for the 21st century, creating programs to support explicitly broadband-capable networks. In this Order, the FCC takes necessary and crucial steps to reform the rate-of-return universal service mechanisms to fulfill the statutory mandate of ensuring that all consumers "have access to advanced telecommunications and information services."


After extensive coordination and engagement with carriers and their associations, the FCC is modernizing the rate-of-return program to support the types of broadband offerings that consumers increasingly demand, efficiently targeting support to areas that need it the most, and establishing concrete deployment obligations to ensure demonstrable progress in connecting unserved consumers. This will provide the certainty and stability that carriers seek in order to invest for the future in the years to come.


On April 4, 2016, the FCC presented an overview of the Order via webinar. The following event resources are available:


A common mistake carriers make is not having any or inadequate documentation to support their reported allocation methodology (factors).


You should be sure that your methodology is based on cost causative factors.



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.


Final Mobility Fund Phase I Support Authorized

On March 11, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-215) authorizing Mobility Fund Phase I support for 11 winning bids. With the authorization identified in this Public Notice, all Auction 901 winning bids have been authorized, and the long-form applications will now be made available to the public.

FCC Adopts Revised Protective Order Regarding FCC Form 481 Financial Information

On March 22, 2016, the FCC released a Protective Order (DA 16-296) governing the filing of and access to FCC Form 481 financial information filed by privately held rate-of-return carriers pursuant to section 54.313(f)(2) of the Commission's rules. This Protective Order is substantially similar to the "2015 Protective Order," but streamlines the procedures for submitting filings with the FCC – thereby significantly reducing the burden on filers.

On March 13, 2016, Nicholas Thompson sat down with Tom Wheeler, the head of the FCC, to talk about his new proposal to give people more control over their privacy online. If the idea is formally approved, Americans will be able to stop their Internet service providers - the companies, such as Comcast and Verizon, that provide the infrastructure over which the Internet flows - from giving information about their browsing habits to advertisers.

On March 19, 2016, David McCabe reported in The Hill that the FCC will vote on whether to consider proposed new privacy rules for broadband providers like Comcast or Time Warner Cable, including what you need to know about the proposal that could, within a year, be coming to an Internet service provider near you.


High Cost Program


April 2016