ACAM

Established by the 2016 Rate-of-Return Reform Order, the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (ACAM) program provides funding to rate-of-return carriers that voluntarily elected to transition to a new cost model for calculating High Cost support in exchange for meeting defined broadband build-out obligations. (Carriers that elected ACAM support following the 2016 order, but did not elect the new Revised ACAM offer, continue to participate in the original ACAM program, or ACAM I.) ACAM models the forward-looking economic costs of deploying a high-speed network and delivering broadband service. Carriers that elected this option receive predictable monthly payments to provide voice and broadband service to all funded locations over the program’s 10-year support term (2017-2026). Learn more.

Service Requirements

Carriers that elected ACAM funding must meet the deployment obligations published in the Public Notice authorizing them to receive A-CAM support. These deployment obligations are based on the following service requirements:

  • Maintain existing voice and broadband service and offer broadband speeds of at least 10 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream (10/1 Mbps) to a number of eligible locations equal to the number of fully-funded locations (locations for which the carrier receives support for the full cost of build-out)
  • Offer broadband speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps to a number of eligible locations equal to a certain percentage of fully funded locations depending on the population density of the carrier’s service area.
    • For a density threshold of 10 or more locations per square mile, offer speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps to a number of eligible locations equal to at least 75 percent of fully-funded locations by the end of 2026
    • For a density threshold of more than five but fewer than 10 locations per square mile, offer speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps to a number of eligible locations equal to at least 50 percent of fully-funded locations by the end of 2026
    • For a density threshold of five or fewer locations per square mile, offer speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps to a number of eligible locations equal to at least 25 percent of fully-funded locations by the end of 2026
  • Offer broadband speeds of at least 4/1 Mbps to a number of eligible locations equal to a certain percentage of capped locations (locations for which the carrier receives support for only the partial cost of build-out) depending on the population density of the carrier’s service area
    • For a density threshold of 10 or more locations per square mile, offer speeds of at least 4/1 Mbps to a number of eligible locations equal to at least 50 percent of capped funded locations by the end of 2026
    • For a density threshold of fewer than 10 locations per square mile, offer speeds of at least 4/1 Mbps to a number of eligible locations equal to at least 25 percent of capped funded locations by the end of 2026
  • Provide broadband upon reasonable request to the remainder of locations

Deployment Requirements

Carriers must offer at least one commercial voice service and one commercial broadband service that meet the relevant service requirements, and must meet the following broadband deployment milestones:

  • Deploy at least 10/1 Mbps service to the number of eligible locations equal to at least 40 percent of fully funded locations by the end of year 4 (2020)
  • Deploy at least 10/1 Mbps service to the number of eligible locations equal to at least 50 percent of fully funded locations by the end of year 5 (2021)
  • Deploy at least 10/1 Mbps service to the number of eligible locations equal to at least 60 percent of fully funded locations by the end of year 6 (2022)
  • Deploy at least 10/1 Mbps service to the number of eligible locations equal to at least 70 percent of fully funded locations by the end of year 7 (2023)
  • Deploy at least 10/1 Mbps service to the number of eligible locations equal to at least 80 percent of fully funded locations by the end of year 8 (2024)
  • Deploy at least 10/1 Mbps service to the number of eligible locations equal to at least 90 percent of fully funded locations by the end of year 9 (2025)
  • Deploy at least 10/1 Mbps service to the number of eligible locations equal to at least 100 percent of fully funded locations, in addition to meeting final deployment obligations to deploy 25/3 Mbps and 4/1 Mbps by the end of year 10 (2026)

Please see this spreadsheet for carrier-specific deployment obligations.

Annual Filing Requirements

Carriers receiving ACAM support must comply with the following filing and certification requirements annually:

  • March 1: Submit and certify deployment data in the HUBB showing where the carrier built out broadband using CAF support in the previous calendar year (and complete separate deployment milestone certifications) or certify that the carrier has “no locations to upload.” Carriers must report latitude and longitude coordinates, minimum speeds offered and date of deployment, among other information, for every location where mass-market, high-speed Internet service is available. Submit Locations in the HUBB. USAC will conduct verification reviews to confirm deployment to a random sample of locations reported in the HUBB following each deployment milestone. Carriers 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 build-out milestone (see 47 CFR Section 54.320(d)).
  • July 1: Submit speed and latency test data from performance measures testing conducted in the previous calendar year at a random sample of locations reported in the HUBB that have active subscribers. (USAC encourages carriers to file and certify test results on a quarterly basis after each quarter’s testing is complete.) Submit speed and latency test data in the Performance Measures Module.
  • July 1: Certify financial and operational data collected by FCC Form 481.
  • July 1: Submit FCC Form 507 to report line counts.
  • October 1: Certify that the carrier is eligible to receive High Cost support and used all support received in the proceeding calendar year only to provide, maintain and upgrade the facilities for which the support was intended and will do the same in the coming calendar year. State utility commissions certify carriers under their jurisdiction as eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs). Carriers not subject to state jurisdiction self-certify. Learn more about the annual ETC certification.

Related Orders

Rate-of-Return Reform Order (FCC 16-33) – Order adopting voluntary path to model based support for rate-of-return carriers (ACAM)

Public Notice (DA 16-1246) – Notice announcing the results of the rate-of-return carriers that accepted the initial offer of model support

ACAM Order (FCC 16-178) – adopted measures to address the significant demand for Alternative Connect America Cost Model (ACAM) support

Public Notice (DA 16-1422) – Notice announcing the first authorizations of support and revised offers

Public Notice (DA 17-99) – Notice announcing second authorizations of support

Public Notice (DA 18-750) – Notice announcing third authorizations of support

Public Notice (DA 19-650) – Notice providing guidance regarding ACAM final deployment obligations