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 an ongoing effort by the Commission to revise aspects of the high cost program of the universal service fund (USF) to encourage the extension of voice and broadband communications services to rural and high cost areas of the country. As of this writing, the Commission has yet to release the text of the order.

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As reported earlier on this blog, the FCC has adopted a Report and Order setting forth the application requirements and selection methodology for its forthcoming rural broadband experiments. The FCC will provide $100 million of Connect America Fund financial support for experiments in areas where the incumbent provider of voice services is a price

This past Friday, at its open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 14-98) establishing the method by which the FCC will solicit proposals for and award funds to support experiments in bringing robust broadband services to rural America’s high cost areas.  

With expenditures of nearly $9 billion annually, the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (USF) approximates the total revenue of the entire National Football League. It is no wonder that USF continues to dominate the Commission’s telecommunications agenda. In 2013, the Commission implemented most aspects of the new “Connect America Fund”, continued work on its 2012 Lifeline

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 and refine the Connect America Fund (“CAF”).  Late yesterday, the Bureau released a number of order and notices on various parts of the CAF that will affect both Tier 2 and

As expected, late yesterday, the FCC announced that it would again attempt to tackle its "holy grail" of regulatory action:  reforming carrier-to-carrier compensation mechanisms and the high-cost program of the Universal Service Fund.  The FCC has placed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing both intercarrier compensation and USF reform on its agenda for February 8.  The combined NPRM furthers the National Broadband Plan’s promise to refocus FCC policy to supporting broadband networks.

These two topics are at the core of what we cover in this blog.  The complicated mix of carrier-to-carrier compensation mechanisms, which make how a call is classified critical to determining its cost, has engendered significant litigation involving such issues as VoIP, prepaid calling cards, access charges, reciprocal compensation and many others.  Meanwhile, the funding and administration of the $7 billion per year Universal Service Fund is a constant source of audit issues, enforcement actions and rulemaking proposals.


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On April 21, 2010, the FCC issued a Notice regarding proposed universal service reforms. The document is 28 pages long plus some lengthy appendices.  The Notice itself is divided into a Notice of Inquiry section discussing steps to implement the Connect America Fund proposed in the National Broadband Plan, and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing specific ideas about