About USAC

Website & Privacy Policies

Updated May 2018

Thank you for visiting the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) website. USAC is the independent, not-for-profit corporation that administers the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) and the four universal service programs under the oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Below is information on USAC's Privacy Notice, Rights under the Privacy Act of 1974, and USACs Website Policy.

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USAC Privacy Notice

This Privacy Notice describes the practices of USAC (USAC, we, or us) with respect to personal information we collect through our website. USAC is committed to protecting the privacy and security of its visitors to this website and of any personal information that we collect during your visit. Except as described below, USAC does not collect personal information from or about you when you visit our website. USAC may update this Privacy Notice from time to time and without notice. If the Privacy Notice is updated, the last modified date of the policies is reflected in the upper right hand corner of this page.

By "personal information", we mean information that can be used to identify you and also information that, when combined with other information from or about you, can be used to identify you. Examples of personal information include your name, physical address, email address, telephone number, social security number and other government identifiers, unique identifiers for the devices you use to access this website, and user identification (ID) and password for any accounts you create with USAC. USAC may also collect personal information through the FCC forms that are used to administer the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the universal service programs, or through questions submitted through USAC's website.

Except for the automated collection activities described below, website visitors do NOT have to provide information when searching, retrieving, downloading, or otherwise accessing and using the USAC website.

If you have questions about this Privacy Notice or about our collection and handling of your personal information, please contact USAC's Director of Privacy at privacy@usac.org.

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Information that USAC Collects Directly From You

USAC may obtain information directly from you in a number of ways, such as:

  • When you choose to complete and submit one of the interactive forms on this website;
  • When you register for or participate in one of the USF programs administered by USAC, including the High Cost, Lifeline, Schools and Libraries (E-rate) and Rural Health Care programs;
  • When you report data that is used for USF contributions and disbursements;
  • When you ask us a question or request information;
  • When you subscribe to one of our interactive resources such as newsletters, emails, webinars, and USAC social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

The personal information that we collect directly from you through this website generally consists of your contact information (e.g., name, physical address, email address, and telephone number). If you choose to provide us with personal information, we will use that information to respond to your message and to provide you with the information and services you requested. When you provide personal information to USAC, please only provide the information that USAC asks for. DO NOT INCLUDE ADDITIONAL, UNREQUESTED PERSONAL INFORMATION.

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Information that USAC Collects Automatically When You Visit Our Website

When you visit USAC's website, we may automatically collect and store some or all of the following information: the Internet protocol (IP) address from the device which you accessed USAC's website or the device you used to certify and submit a FCC form to USAC; the date and time; the Internet address of the website from which you linked to the USAC website; the name of the file or the words that you searched; the items that you clicked on a page; and the browser and operating system that you used. Our website uses Google Analytics to analyze your website activity. You may opt out of all Google Analytics tracking by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. Even if you disable cookies, Google Analytics can still gather data about your website usage. The add-on instructs the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js or analytics.js) to prohibit sending information to Google Analytics. The browser add-on is available for most modern browsers.

We also use web log information to measure the number of visitors to the various sections of our website and to identify system performance or problem areas. We also use this information to help us develop the site, analyze patterns of usages and to make the website more useful. This information is not used for associating search terms or patterns of site navigation with individual users. USAC periodically deletes its web logs.

Except for third-party websites that provide services to USAC, we do not track or collect information about your online activities on websites other than USAC's website.

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How USAC Uses Information that It Collects From and About You

We use the information that we collect from or about you:

  • To maintain our relationship with you;
  • To administer, operate, maintain and secure our website, newsletters, emails, and social media accounts;
  • To administer and process forms and applications for the USF and for the four universal service programs (High Cost, Lifeline, Schools and Libraries (E-rate), and Rural Health Care);
  • To provide support and respond to specific inquiries;
  • To provide information, education and updates about USAC activities and services;
  • To customize and improve our communications and content;
  • To comply with legal requirements, USAC policies and procedures, and FCC requirements;
  • For USAC accounting, recordkeeping, backup and administrative purposes.

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Who USAC Shares Personal Information With and Why

Except to the extent necessary to fulfill USAC business and legal obligations, we do not sell, transfer, or otherwise disclose to third parties personal information that we collect directly from or about you. To promote transparency and accountability for USAC's administration of the USF and the four universal service programs, business contact information provided on FCC forms may be publicly available through tools available on USAC's website at https://www.usac.org/about/about/opendata/default.aspx. Email harvesting, or the process of obtaining a large number of email addresses for use in bulk mailing or for spamming, is not an authorized use for USAC's open data and search tools. This conduct may also violate Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM Act).

We may also transfer information to third-party service providers and business partners to the extent necessary to help us comply with our legal and contractual obligations, to provide information and services to prospective and current USF participants, and to perform related business services such as hosting our website or managing e-discovery. Third-party service providers and business partners are not authorized to use or disclose the information except as necessary to provide services to us.

In addition to the circumstances described above, USAC may also disclose or share information collected from and about you:

  • If you expressly request or authorize us;
  • If we are required to do so by law or pursuant to legal process;
  • In response to a request from law enforcement authorities or other government officials, including the Federal Communications Commission;
  • When we believe disclosure is necessary or appropriate to prevent physical harm or financial fraud or theft, or in connection with an investigation of suspected or actual fraud or illegal activity;
  • In connection with the sale, transfer, or financing of all or part of a USAC business or its assets, to a third party; or
  • As a result of emergencies or acts of God.

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Information Security and Unauthorized Access

USAC uses a variety of administrative, technical and physical security measures to prevent unauthorized or unlawful disclosure or access to your personal information. These measures are intended to ensure an appropriate level of security in relation to the risks associated with the personal information to be protected.

For site security purposes, USAC monitors network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to download or change information. By using this site, you are agreeing to such security monitoring. If attempts are made to obtain unauthorized access to USAC's systems, USAC may provide information to the appropriate law enforcement officials. Engaging in prohibited activity such as unauthorized access to USAC's systems is strictly prohibited and may result in civil and/or criminal punishment.

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Cookies

When you visit our website (as is true for many other websites), our servers generate information known as cookies. Cookies are commonly used to recognize your computer and support your activities and preferences during current visits ("per-session cookies") and future visits ("persistent cookies").

USAC uses per-session cookies to service technical purposes, such as providing seamless navigation through the USAC website. These cookies do not permanently record data and are not stored on your computer's hard drive. USAC's session cookies are available only during an active browser session. When you close your browser, the session cookie disappears. USAC does not use persistent cookies which are stored on your computer's hard drive until the next time you visit our website.

If you prefer not to receive cookies from USAC's website, you can set your browser to warn you before accepting cookies and refuse the cookie when your browser alerts you to its presence. If you need to learn how to change the way your browser handles cookies, you can follow these instructions. Turning off cookies in your browser might impair your experience on USAC's website.

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Third Party Websites

USAC's website includes links to information created and maintained by third parties, including links to social media sites used by USAC. Third-party sites may collect different and/or more information about you. Additionally, by virtue of using those sites, you may reveal certain personal information to USAC or third parties.

USAC is not responsible for the policies and practices of the third-party website. Additionally, USAC does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, usefulness or completeness of the third-party websites. You should not use any information obtained from a third-party website as the basis for decisions or actions regarding universal service collections or disbursements or participation in any universal service program activity. USAC does not endorse the third party sponsoring the site, any views expressed on the site, or products or services offered on the site.

Please note that this Privacy Notice does not apply to third-party sites. Instead, each site is governed by different policies and practices. You should review the privacy policies for each site you visit.

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Contact USAC

You may contact USAC's Director of Privacy at privacy@usac.org if you would like to correct, update or supplement personal data. You can also contact us at privacy@usac.org if you have any questions about this Privacy Notice, the practices of this site, or your dealings with our website. Please note that we may take reasonable steps to verify your identity before implementing your request.

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Rights Under The Privacy Act Of 1974

The Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act) (5 U.S.C. § 552a) prohibits the disclosure of information about individuals that the federal government maintains in a system of records without their consent. The FCC is required to provide notice of its systems of records by publication in the Federal Register. The FCC published a systems of record notification (SORN) for the Lifeline Program that is designated as FCC/WCB-1. The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) are part of the FCC's Lifeline program systems of record (FCC/WCB-1) and the data is protected under the Privacy Act. USAC adheres to the Privacy Act requirements with respect to all information that it collects, maintains, uses, or disseminates in NLAD and the National Verifier.

If you participate in the Lifeline program, you will be asked to provide additional information to verify your eligibility to receive federal Lifeline benefits. This information includes first name, last name, address, last four digits of social security number (SSN) and date of birth. USAC will share this information that you provide with a third-party verification service to verify your identity and may share your data with other state and federal agencies to verify your eligibility to receive Lifeline support. In addition, your information may also be used for the purposes described in the SORN.

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National Verifier Computer Matching Agreements (CMAs)

The National Verifier matches data about Lifeline applicants or subscribers to state and federal data sources to verify the eligibility, based on whether the individual participates in a Lifeline-qualifying assistance program. Computer Matching Agreements (CMAs) must comply with the requirements pursuant to the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988.

In 2017, the Commission and USAC engaged in five new CMAs as part of the Lifeline program:

If you have any questions about your rights under the Privacy Act, you may contact us at privacy@usac.org.

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Freedom of Information Act

USAC administers the USF and the four universal service programs under the authorization and oversight of the FCC. Consequently, requests for information made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (FOIA), should be made directly to the FCC. Information regarding FOIAs, including how to file a request, may be obtained from the FCC's FOIA page.

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USAC Website Policy

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Disclaimer of Liability

USAC makes every effort to ensure the website is accurate. However, there may be errors and/or omissions. USAC's website is provided "as is" and USAC does not guarantee the accuracy or content of this site and expressly disclaims liability for any errors or omissions.

Your use of USAC's website is your acknowledgment and agreement that:

  • USAC's website is provided on an "as is" and "as available" basis. Your use of the website is at your sole risk.
  • USAC and its officers, directors, employees, agents, affiliates and licensors expressly disclaim any and all warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, quality, and non-infringement.
  • USAC and its officers, directors, employees, agents, affiliates and licensors disclaim any and all warranties that:
    • USAC's website will be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free;
    • Results obtained from the use of USAC's website will be accurate or reliable;
    • USAC's website will meet your requirements; and
    • Any errors in USAC's website will be corrected.
  • You are solely responsible for and hereby waive any and all claims and causes of action with respect to any damage to your computer, Internet access, or loss of data that arises out of, or is in connection with, USAC's website.

You expressly acknowledge and agree that USAC and its officers, directors, employees, agents, affiliates and licensors shall not be liable to you for any special, incidental, indirect, statutory, exemplary, punitive, or consequential damages of any kind whatsoever, or for any lost profits, business or revenue, or loss of use, goodwill or data, system failure, or other intangible losses (even if USAC knew, should have known, or had been advised of the possibility of such damages), arising out of, or in connection with, USAC's website.

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Consent

Your use of USAC's website is your consent to USAC's polices including, but not limited to, USAC's Privacy Notice and Website Policy.

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Other

If there is an absence of applicable federal law, District of Columbia law applies without regard to any otherwise applicable principle of conflicts of laws. Any and all claims, causes of action or disputes arising out of or relating to your use of USAC's website shall be brought exclusively in the courts located in the District of Columbia. You agree to the personal jurisdiction of the courts located in the District of Columbia and agree to waive any and all objections to the exercise of jurisdiction by such courts.

If people with disabilities experience any problems with USAC's website or users have questions about the accessibility of USAC's website, they may contact USAC at (202) 776-0200 or via email.

USAC reserves the right to amend the Website Policy at any time and without notice. If the Website Policy or Privacy Notice is updated, the last modified date of the policies is reflected in the upper right hand corner of this page.

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