Note: On January 26, 2023, the FCC released Order DA 23-6, waiving the requirement that HCPs and service providers participating in the Telecom Program use the Rates Database to calculate urban and rural rates for Funding Year (FY) 2024 and FY2025.
In the RHC Telecommunications (Telecom) Program, support for eligible telecommunications services is calculated based on the difference between the rates available for identical or similar services in rural and urban areas in a state. For more information on rural and urban rates, and the Telecom Program, please review the Telecom Program Page.
For FY2024 and FY2025, rules requiring rural rates to be calculated using Methods 1 through 3 and the pre-Rates Database calculation method for urban rates will be reinstated with the following minor changes:
For FY 2024 and FY2025, applicants and service providers using Methods 1 and 2 to calculate rural rates are not permitted to use previously approved rates.
- For FY 2024 and FY2025, applicants and service providers using Methods 1 and 2 to calculate rural rates are not permitted to use previously approved rates.
- For FY2024 and 2025, service providers will be permitted to use previously approved rates for rural rates that would otherwise be calculated under Method 3.
- If there are no comparable rural rates within 30 percent of the speed of the requested service, service providers may use the rate for a higher bandwidth service that is otherwise similar to the requested service to justify a rural rate.
- Similarly, if there are no comparable urban rates within 30 percent of the speed of the requested service, health care providers may use the rate for a higher bandwidth service that is otherwise similar to the requested service to justify an urban rate.
NOTE: for Method 3: For all previously approved rural rates, applicants must provide USAC with the previous FRN associated with that approved rate and submit all documentation associated with that rate.
For more information about filing your FCC Form(s) 466 without using the rates database, please refer to the following webpage and tip sheet:
With the Rates Database You Can:
Determine the median rate calculated for the service(s) you are seeking, based on the following criteria:
- Location: The state where your facility or site is located.
- Rate Tier: The tier where your facility or site is located. The options are Frontier (only in Alaska), Extremely Rural, Rural, Less Rural, or Urban.
- Bandwidth (MB): The speed of the service you are purchasing. This should be a numeric value in megabytes (MB). For example, if you are purchasing 1 GB service, you should enter 1,000 in this field. If you are purchasing voice services, this field will not be factored into the calculation, so please enter 0.
- Best Efforts/Dedicated Service: Dedicated services contain service level guarantees (e.g., speed, reliability, traffic prioritization, latency, etc.) and are priced higher than mass marketed retail best-efforts service offerings that may come with service objectives but no contractual service level guarantees. Users must indicate the level of service they require as the Rates Database distinguishes between dedicated and best-efforts service offerings in providing median rates.
- Category of Service: This is the broad category of the service you are purchasing – either Voice or Data.
- Service Type (optional): This is the specific type of service you are purchasing, e.g., Ethernet, microwave, satellite, etc. This field is tied to the “Category of Service,” so if you select Data for “Category of Service,” only data services will be available for the “Service Type.”
Please note, bandwidth data used for median rate calculation will automatically include 30% +/- range requested bandwidth in accordance with the RHC Reform Order for identifying similar services for evaluating rates.
Once a median rate is identified you can view and download the data used for the median rate calculation. Note that the download file shows all available rates identified. Identical rates for the same service from the same service provider were treated as duplicates and counted as one distinct available service offering for purposes of calculating a median rate. The download file indicates rates identified as available but deemed a duplicate and excluded from the calculation of distinct rates. The download file will also include additional details on the source of the rate identified then displayed in the results summary on the Rates Database website.
Don’t know your rurality tier for conducting a rate search? Start with the Rurality Tier Search Tool.
Just interested in the raw data in the Rates Database? You can access that through our Open Data Platform.
The rural rate will be the median of all available rates identified for the same or functionally similar service offered within the rural tier applicable to the HCP’s location within the state.
The rural rate is determined using the following tiers in which an HCP is located:
- Extremely Rural: areas entirely outside of a Core Based Statistical Area;
- Rural: areas within a Core Based Statistical Area that do not have an Urban Area with a population of 25,000 or greater;
- Less Rural: areas in a Core Based Statistical Area that contains an Urban Area with a population of 25,000 or greater, but are within a specific census tract that itself does not contain any part of a Place or Urban Area with a population of greater than 25,000; and,
- Frontier (for HCPs located in Alaska only): areas outside of a Core Based Statistical Area that are inaccessible by road as determined by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Division of Community and Regional Affairs.
Read more about Core Based Statistical Areas
The urban rate is the median of all available rates identified by USAC for the same or functionally similar services in all urbanized areas in the state where the HCP is located to the extent that urbanized area falls within the state.
What rates will you use?
Rural rates: HCPs must use the lower of the rural rate available in the Rates Database or the rate included in the service agreement that the HCP enters into with the service provider when requesting funding for the requested service.
Urban rates: HCPs must use the urban rate for the requested service that is available in Rates Database.