USAC and the FCC have taken action to ensure that wireless carriers receiving legacy High Cost support have more flexibility in where they use funding to provide service to customers and that certain other eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) have more flexibility in order to comply with network performance pre-testing requirements.
- More flexibility to target support. The FCC is giving wireless carriers flexibility to use support to provide service beyond a particular service area.
- More flexibility to comply with pre-testing requirements. The FCC is giving CAF II carriers more flexibility to comply with network performance pre-testing mandates.
More Flexibility to Target Support
On March 31, the FCC waived the requirement for competitive eligible telecom carriers (CETCs) receiving legacy High Cost support to spend all of this support to provide, maintain and upgrade facilities and services in a particular service area. This waiver gives CETCs, which are primarily mobile wireless carriers, flexibility to use legacy support to provide, maintain and upgrade facilities and services within any of the designated service areas of an affiliated CETC owned by the same holding company through June 30, 2020.
- Order DA 20-358 – Provides flexibility to spend legacy support in more areas
More Flexibility to Comply with Pre-Testing Requirements
On April 3, the FCC waived certain pre-testing requirements for Connect America Fund Phase II Model (CAF II) carriers to comply with network performance testing mandates intended to ensure that fixed-location, CAF-supported broadband meets basic speed and latency standards. The order permits carriers to test speed and latency at fewer than the required number of subscriber locations during the current pre-test period if testing requires installation of new equipment inside subscriber premises.
- Order DA 20-377 – Waives Performance Measures pre-testing sample size