Submit Data in the HUBB
The HUBB Portal
USAC closely monitors compliance with broadband deployment obligations to ensure that carriers receiving Connect America Fund (CAF) support are bringing high-speed Internet access to rural America as required. Carriers participating in funds with defined fixed build-out obligations – requiring them to provide voice and broadband service with minimum speeds to a set number of locations in eligible areas over a clear timeline, with interim and final milestone deadlines – must file deployment data with the High Cost Universal Broadband portal, or HUBB, on an annual basis. This includes information on where carriers are offering mass-market, high-speed Internet service using CAF support, with latitude and longitude coordinates, minimum speeds and date of deployment for every location where service is available.
The HUBB conducts automated, real-time validation checks of the deployment data submitted by the carriers. The system validates, for instance, that a location’s latitude and longitude coordinates fall within an area eligible for funding and that the location is not a duplicate of one that has already been filed. The HUBB also checks to be sure that the date of deployment falls within the timeline of the fund in which the carrier participates and calculates carrier progress toward meeting the fund’s broadband build-out obligations, including interim and final deployment milestones. The HUBB will not accept locations that do not pass these automated validation checks and carriers will not receive credit for those deployments.
The data submitted to the HUBB is the foundation for the Connect America Fund (CAF) Map, an interactive online map that shows the impact of CAF support on broadband expansion in rural America. The map displays the geographic areas that are eligible for CAF support, as well as the specific fixed locations where carriers participating in the program have reported deployment in the HUBB. See the HUBB Dashboard for a high-level snapshot of deployment totals based on data certified in the system as of March 10, 2023, to reflect deployment through Dec. 31, 2022, including deployment numbers by fund, speed tier and state. The HUBB Dashboard shows that as of Dec. 31, 2022, carriers had reported deployment to nearly 7.38 million locations, including nearly 1.36 million locations with speeds of a gigabit or faster.
In addition, the HUBB serves as a starting point for a more in-depth verification process to confirm deployment to a random sample of locations reported in the system. All carriers participating in CAF programs with defined broadband build-out obligations are subject to this verification process, with verification reviews tied to annual deployment milestones. The HUBB is also a starting point for the Performance Measures compliance framework, which ensures that broadband service subsidized by the Connect America Fund meets basic speed and latency performance standards so that people living in rural communities have access to the same high-quality networks as those living in urban areas.
HUBB Filing Requirements by Fund
Carriers participating in the following funds have until March 1, 2024, to file and certify data for all locations deployed with CAF support in 2023 or certify that they have “no locations to upload”:
- Alternative Connect America Cost Model (Original ACAM)
- Original ACAM carriers face a milestone for deploying broadband at speeds of at least 10 megabits per second downstream and 1 megabit per second upstream (10/1 Mbps) and must be at least 70 percent of the way toward meeting their final 10/1 Mbps build-out obligations as of the end of 2023 (70 percent 10/1 Mbps milestone).
- Revised Alternative Connect America Cost Model (Revised ACAM)
- Like Original ACAM carriers, Revised ACAM carriers face a milestone for deploying broadband at speeds of at least 10 megabits per second downstream and 1 megabit per second upstream (10/1 Mbps) and must be at least 70 percent of the way toward meeting their final 10/1 Mbps build-out obligations as of the end of 2023 (70 percent 10/1 Mbps milestone). In addition, Revised ACAM carriers face a milestone for deploying broadband at speeds of at least 25 megabits per second downstream and 3 megabit per second upstream (25/3 Mbps) and must be at least 50 percent of the way toward meeting their final 25/3 Mbps build-out obligations as of the end of 2023 (50 percent 25/3 Mbps milestone).
- Alternative Connect America Cost Model II (ACAM II)
- ACAM II carriers face a milestone for deploying broadband at speeds of at least 25 megabits per second downstream and 3 megabit per second upstream (25/3 Mbps) and must be at least 50 percent of the way toward meeting their final 25/3 Mbps build-out obligations as of the end of 2023 (50 percent 25/3 Mbps milestone). ACAM II carriers must also meet similar deployment obligations for eligible locations on Tribal lands.
- Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF BLS)
- CAF BLS carriers face one final milestone – for deploying broadband at speeds of at least 25 megabits per second downstream and 3 megabit per second upstream (25/3 Mbps) – by end of 2023
- All CAF BLS carriers are subject to HUBB filing obligations, including CAF BLS carriers that were exempt from HUBB reporting in the past because they had already built out 10/1 Mbps broadband to at least 80 percent of their study area.
- The HUBB will not accept any locations deployed before May 25, 2016, the effective date of the 2016 Rate of Return reform order.
- CAF BLS carriers that were fully deployed to all locations in their study area before May 25, 2016 or become fully deployed – meaning that they are offering broadband at speeds of at least 25 megabits per second downstream and 3 megabit per second upstream (25/3 Mbps) to all locations – have satisfied their buildout obligation. USAC and the FCC will develop a process for these carriers to certify to full deployment. Fully deployed carriers should not attempt to record any broadband locations built prior to May 25, 2016 in the HUBB, but still need to file any locations deployed in 2023 or certify “no locations to upload” for the year.
- Rural Broadband Experiments (RBE)
- RBE carriers face rolling deployment milestones.
- Alaska Plan (other than carriers with individualized performance plans that only require them to maintain service at existing levels)
- Alaska Plan carriers must also submit node and link data showing any new deployments or upgrades made to the middle-mile fiber and microwave nodes or networks needed to deliver broadband service in areas eligible for CAF support.
- Alaska Plan carriers with individualized performance plans requiring them only to maintain service at existing levels over the program’s 10-year support term do not have defined deployment obligations and therefore do not have to file in the HUBB (although they were subject to the five-year service milestone certification that applied to all Alaska Plan carriers as of the end of 2021). USAC encourages these carriers to certify annually that they did not deploy service to any new locations during the previous year. If these carriers do deploy new locations or upgrade service to existing locations at any speed, they should report those locations in the HUBB. An Alaska Plan carrier may become subject to defined deployment obligations due to changed circumstances (such as access to new middle-mile capacity) and may get credit for any locations certified before those revised obligations become effective.
- Connect America Fund Phase II Auction (CAF II Auction)
- CAF II Auction carriers face a milestone for deploying broadband with speeds, usage allowance and latency consistent with their winning auction bids, and must be at least 60 percent of the way toward meeting their final build-out obligations as of the end of 2023 (60 percent milestone).
- Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF)
- RDOF carriers must submit any locations deployed since July 1, 2019.
- RDOF carriers must deploy broadband with speeds, usage allowance and latency consistent with their winning auction bids, and can take advantage of an optional 20 percent deployment milestone (deploying to at least 20 percent of required locations) by the end of the second year of the program (the end of the second full calendar year following funding authorization – which is 2023 for carriers authorized in 2021) to reduce Letter of Credit (LOC) obligations (optional 20 percent milestone).
- Bringing Puerto Rico Together (Uniendo a Puerto Rico) Fund and the Connect the USVI Fund (PR/USVI)
- Carriers can take advantage of an optional 20 percent deployment milestone (deploying to at least 20 percent of required locations) by the end of 2023 to reduce Letter of Credit (LOC) obligations (optional 20 percent milestone).
Carriers that do not deploy any locations in 2023 must still log into the HUBB and certify “no locations to upload” for 2023 by March 1, 2024. New this year: The “No locations to upload” certification functionality will only be turned on between Jan. 1, 2024, and March 1, 2024. Note that USAC has reverted all “No locations to upload” certifications for any carriers that have already completed this certification for 2023. These carriers must log back into the system and complete this certification again between Jan. 1, 2024, and March 1, 2024.
Carriers that do deploy locations in 2023 can file and certify those locations throughout the year.
All carriers must complete a new annual certification to confirm that their filing activity for 2023 is complete, or that they have no locations to upload for the year, with an additional certification between Jan. 1, 2024, and March 1, 2024.
Carriers with 2023 deployment milestones must also complete additional milestone certifications as part of the annual HUBB filing – including separate milestone certifications for separate deployment obligations by speed tier – and will face verification reviews tied to those milestones. Carriers subject to defined deployment milestones must notify the FCC and USAC, and relevant state, U.S. Territory or Tribal governments if applicable, within 10 business days after the applicable deadline if they have failed to meet a milestone. (See 47 CFR Section 54.320(d)) Carriers that miss milestones face increased reporting obligations and potential loss of support.
Accurate geolocation data is the key to filing successfully with the HUBB. Please see the USAC Geolocations Methods Guide for an overview of different methods for collecting accurate latitude and longitude coordinates.
How to File
The HUBB portal is accessible through USAC’s E-File system. Please see USAC’s Multifactor Authentication Troubleshooting Steps for help logging into E-File. Users must have one of the following HUBB entitlements to access the system:
- HUBB SPO (Service Provider Officer): allows the user to enter and certify data.
- HUBB SPU (Service Provider User): allows the user to enter but not certify data (typically provided to users inside the carrier).
- HUBB SPA (Service Provider Agent): allows the user to enter but not certify data (typically provided to agents outside the carrier).
The individual listed as the company officer on the carrier’s Form 498 can assign these entitlements. Company officers or general contacts with questions about logging into E-File or E-File passwords should contact customer operations via email or at (888) 641-8722. For E-File questions, customer service can only help the company officer or general contact listed on a carrier’s FCC Form 498. Others should direct E-File questions to the company officer or general contact who established the carrier’s authorized user entitlements. Please see USAC’s 498 ID webpage for help registering for a Form 498 ID, also called a Service Provider ID (SPIN).
Officers who encounter trouble adding system-specific entitlements to a user’s account should email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: the carrier’s SPIN; the system (Form 481, HUBB, PMM) to be accessed; the email address the officer uses to log into E-File; and the email address and user role (SPO, SPU or SPA) of the person who needs the entitlement.
Eligible telecommunications carriers will see a reduction of at least seven days of support for late certifications. After the first seven days, USAC will continue to reduce support on a day-by-day basis, plus an additional seven days, until the required certification is complete. A carrier would lose seven days of support for a certification that is four days late, for instance. And a carrier would lose 21 days of support for a certification that is 14 days late. [Report and Order (FCC 14-190), section C, numbers 131-132].
The FCC grants a one-time, three-day grace period for late certifications across all fillings. This means that carriers will see no reduction in support for a late certification submitted within three days of the filing deadline if it is the first time that the certification is late. [Report and Order (FCC 14-190), paragraph 133].
This one-time grace period applies at the holding company level and across filing obligations. This means that if a carrier takes advantage of the three-day grace period for any filing, the grace period will not be available for any filing in subsequent years to other operating companies that serve different study areas but are owned by the same holding company. [Report and Order (FCC 14-190), paragraph 134].