Requesting Confidentiality

USAC provides public access to most FCC Form 481 data filed annually by carriers participating in the High Cost program.

Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) that receive High Cost support must file the FCC Form 481 report with USAC annually. This form collects financial and operations information used to validate carrier support.

Please note that information designated as confidential pursuant to FCC protective orders (i.e., rate-of-return carriers’ detailed financial information) will not be included in the data that is made public. In addition, narrative attachments and detailed information regarding newly available backhaul for Alaska Plan participants will be excluded from public release by default.

Please also note that USAC will not provide public access to data filed by Lifeline-only carriers.

How to Request Confidentiality

USAC understands that some of the information collected via FCC Form 481 could be considered proprietary or sensitive commercial and financial information. Certain information is already protected from public disclosure as trade secrets and commercial or financial information under the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) rules at 47 C.F.R. § 0.457(d), or pursuant to the FCC’s Protective Order governing the filing of and access to FCC Form 481 financial information.

If you believe applicable rules do not provide adequate protection, you may request that information and documentation filed be protected from public disclosure or inspection through 47 C.F.R. § 0.459. Parties requesting confidential treatment under 47 C.F.R. § 0.459 should complete the confidential request in the 481 system. The FCC Form 481 Online Filing User Guide provides the steps necessary to do so. Carriers will be required to provide the following information for any line they request to treat as confidential:

  • A statement of the reasons for withholding the information from public inspection;
  • Identification of the specific information for which confidential treatment is sought;
  • Explanation of the degree to which the information is commercial or financial, or contains trade secrets or is privileged;
  • Explanation of the degree to which the information concerns a service that is subject to competition;
  • Explanation for how disclosure of the information could result in competitive harm;
  • Identification of any measures the party has taken to prevent unauthorized disclosure;
  • Identification of whether the information is already available to the public and the extent of any previous disclosure;
  • Justification for the period of time the party asserts the information should not be available for public inspection; and
  • Any other information that the party believes may be useful in assessing whether its request for confidentiality should be granted.

After Filing

USAC will save all confidentiality requests and related information and share them with the FCC for review. Any information under review will remain confidential until the FCC makes a determination. USAC will make public all other information.