Tag Archives: Universal Service Fund

Commission Resolves Long-Pending Stratos and Morris USF Contribution-Related Petitions

In orders issued last week, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) continues what appears to be a trend of resolving long-pending universal service fund (USF) contribution issues.  The Orders, released May 23, 2017 and May 24, 2017 by the Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau), ruled on petitions filed by, respectively, Morris Communications, Inc. (Morris) and Stratos … Continue Reading

Pai Directs USAC to Improve E-Rate Productivity Center

Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) Chairman Ajit Pai sent a letter this week to Chris Henderson, CEO of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) expressing concern about flaws in USAC’s administration of the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC), the online application and account portal. In the letter, Chairman Pai noted his support for E-Rate as … Continue Reading

FCC Approves Bidding Weight Rules for Connect America Fund Phase II Auction

At the February 2017 Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) approved an Order finalizing bidding rules for the upcoming Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II auction where service providers will compete for up to $1.98 billion in financial support in areas where the incumbent provider declined cost-model funding. This Order is the next stage in … Continue Reading

Pai FCC’s First Commission-Level Vote Targets Rural Broadband Access

On January 26, 2017, in its first action under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) voted to allow the State Of NY to award up to $170 million in Connect America Fund (CAF) fuding to expand broadband access in unserved, rural portions of New York State.  These … Continue Reading

Microsoft and Partners Seek FCC Approval to Use TV White Spaces to Extend E-Rate-Supported Broadband Services to Close the Homework Gap

A potential solution to the so-called “homework gap” – otherwise known as the limited ability of low-income students in rural or underserved areas to access a broadband connection at home – is the subject of a petition submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) by an innovative public-private partnership and is now open … Continue Reading

Client Advisory: Lifeline Modernization and Transition from Voice to Broadband

At its open meeting on March 31, 2016 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) voted along party lines (3-2) to adopt a Lifeline Modernization Order implementing significant changes to the Lifeline Universal Service Program, the most significant of which is an expansion of the program to cover broadband service. Last week, the Commission released … Continue Reading

FCC Releases Updated 2016 Universal Service Revenue Reporting Worksheet

It’s a new year and the FCC has just released its annual update to the FCC Form 499A.  Telecommunications providers must use the 2016 Form 499A to report calendar year 2015 revenues for purposes of calculating contributions to the federal Universal Service Fund and other revenue-based contribution requirements including TRS, LNP, NANP and annual FCC … Continue Reading

TerraCom & YourTel Reach $3.5 Million Settlement With FCC over Alleged Privacy, Data Security, and Lifeline Violations

On July 9th, the Enforcement Bureau (EB) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) reached a $3.5 million Consent Decree to resolve an investigation into whether TerraCom, Inc. (TerraCom) and YourTel America, Inc. (YourTel) (collectively, the Companies) violated laws protecting “phone customers’ personal information,” and whether YourTel failed to timely de-enroll Lifeline subscribers following … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts Lifeline Item

Yesterday, the FCC adopted a Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Memorandum Opinion and Order to comprehensively restructure and modernize the Lifeline program.  While we do not yet have the order, the FCC issued a news release and the Chairman and Commissioners issued statements on the proceeding. … Continue Reading

FCC Announces USF Enforcement “Strike Force” To Combat Waste, Fraud and Abuse

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a Public Notice on July 14, 2014, announcing the creation of a new “Strike Force” to respond to concerns of waste, fraud and abuse in the Universal Service Fund (USF). Chairman Wheeler reiterated that “the Commission is committed to aggressively rooting out waste, fraud and abuse.” Operating within the Enforcement … Continue Reading

FCC Launches E-rate 2.0 Rulemaking

As we told you this morning, the FCC launched its rulemaking proceeding to consider reforms to the Schools and Libraries program of its Universal Service Fund (better known as the "E-rate" program). The FCC pledged a comprehensive review and modernization of the E-rate program that will mark the most significant reexamination of E-rate policies in … Continue Reading

FCC to Initiate Proceeding to Reform the E-rate Program

 In the first major proceeding of Acting Chairwoman Clyburn’s tenure, the FCC is scheduled to open a rulemaking today to consider reforms to the Schools and Libraries program of its Universal Service Fund (better known as the "e-rate" program).  The rulemaking follows Commissioner Rosenworcel’s April 2013 proposal to establish "E-rate 2.0" and President Obama’s ConnectEd … Continue Reading

FCC Announces Another Slight Decrease in USF Contribution Factor

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;} Earlier today, the FCC proposed another slight decrease in the quarterly USF contribution factor. The combination of the lowest demand projection in two … Continue Reading

Obama Proposes E-rate Reform

In a speech yesterday, President Obama proposed to reform the federal Universal Service Fund’s Schools and Libraries program (commonly referred to as the "E-rate" program.  He directed the FCC to implement a program under the E-rate fund to bring high speed connectivity to 99 percent of the nation’s students within five years.  The President targeted … Continue Reading

FCC Allocates Another $485 Million in Connect America Fund Phase I Support for Price Cap LECs

Josh Guyan contributed to this post. The FCC’s November 18, 2011 USF/ICC Transformation Order established the Connect America Fund (CAF) and provided for two phases of funding for expanding broadband coverage to unserved locations. The Commission allocated $300 million for CAF Phase I support that was offered to price cap local exchange carriers (LECs) to … Continue Reading

FCC Denies Another E-Rate Appeal for Failure to Comply with Competitive Bidding Procedures

With the e-rate program pressing against its cap in funding, the FCC seems to be clamping down on its competitive bidding procedures.  For the fifth time this month, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau denied a school’s e-rate appeal because it failed to comply with the competitive bidding procedures. In this case, the applicant, Fall River … Continue Reading

FCC Issues Connect America Fund Order and Notices Affecting Tier 2 and Tier 3 LECs

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;} David Darwin co-authored this post. In the final days of the Genachowski era, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau continued to press forward to implement … Continue Reading

FCC Denies E-rate Appeal for Improper Service Provider Conduct in Competitive Bid

Shortly after I posted an entry noting the FCC’s denial of e-rate appeals for competitive bidding violations, the Wireline Competition Bureau issued another decision along the same lines.  In this case, however, the focus was on the conduct of the service provider during the bidding process.  This case involves a Missouri service provider, Synergetics Diversified … Continue Reading

Three E-rate Appeals Denied for Failures in Competitive Bidding

Earlier this month, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau denied three appeals by school districts seeking funding under the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund.  In all three decisions, the Bureau found that the school had failed to follow the Commission’s competitive bidding rules for such requests, and therefore, the USAC had properly denied … Continue Reading

Comment Dates Set for E-Rate Bundled Services Rule Change

Earlier this month, we told you about the FCC’s change of heart regarding "free" equipment bundled with e-rate eligible services.  The FCC’s proposed rule change was published in the Federal Register today, establishing the comment dates for the proceeding.  Comments on the proposal are due May 23, 2013, with reply comments due June 7. Service … Continue Reading

FCC Reverses Course, Proposes to Eliminate “Bundled Services” Exception to E-rate Cost Allocation Rules

In 2010, the FCC revised its rules for the Schools and Libraries Program of the federal Universal Service Fund (commonly known as the "e-rate" program).  One of the principal changes to the rules was the adoption of rules prohibiting e-rate recipients from receiving gifts from service providers.  The FCC has clarified its gift rules twice, … Continue Reading

Revised FCC Debt Collection Processes for Delinquent Support Fund Obligations Shift Burdens to Carriers

The FCC recently announced revisions to its debt collection process for those carriers that are delinquent in contributing to the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (“USF”), Telecommunications Relay Services Fund (“TRS”) and North American Numbering Plan Fund (“NANP”) (collectively the “Funds”). Under the new procedures, the Fund administrators will forward delinquent accounts directly to the United … Continue Reading
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