USF/ICC Zone

The changing landscape of USF and ICC have profound implications on the broadband ecosystem. Stay tuned to Telecompetitor for the latest news, analysis, & commentary.

USDA Broadband Loan and Grant Recipients Announced

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture said today that it has awarded $190.5 million in broadband grants and loans to 19 communications service providers for projects in 25 states. The USDA makes low-interest loans to rural telephone companies through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan program, which was initially...Learn More

Non-Profit RFP Seeks Construction of Rural Healthcare Fiber Networks

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A non-profit organization representing healthcare and educational institutions is seeking contractors that can build wide area fiber networks for these institutions in rural areas lacking broadband connectivity. The organization, known as MiCTA, was founded in 1982 to negotiate group purchasing agreements with the local incumbent...Learn More

CEO: Windstream Likely to Accept CAF II Broadband Funding

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Windstream expects to accept Connect America funding in Phase II of the program to cover some of the costs of bringing broadband to customers who can’t get broadband service today, said Windstream CEO Jeff Gardner in an interview with Telecompetitor last week. “We’re very optimistic...Learn More

Telcos on Universal Service Reform: Contribution Base Must Be Addressed

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Reforming how the Universal Service program is funded is critical at a time when a wide range of reforms have been made to how Universal Service funding is spent, said several telcos and telecom associations in comments filed with the House Energy & Commerce Committee...Learn More

CAF Speed Target Could Create New Winners and Losers

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Even as some urban Internet service providers are boosting high speed access speeds to a gigabit, while many competitors are raising speeds to 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps, rural ISPs might face a similar challenge in the near future, if not to the same degree....Learn More

FCC: E-Rate Reforms Could Bring Wi-Fi to Every Student in Five Years

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The FCC estimates that 10.5 million students per year could gain Internet connectivity inside their schools if the commission moves ahead with E-Rate reforms outlined in July. Within five years, all U.S. schools would have internal Internet connectivity, the FCC says. The E-Rate program is...Learn More

Windstream CFO Offers Rural Telecom Providers “Elegant Exit” Option

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Small telecom service providers and cable companies could have an “elegant exit strategy” by selling their network assets to the real estate investment trust that Windstream plans to spin off, said Windstream Chief Financial Officer Tony Thomas today. Thomas, who will be the CEO of...Learn More

RUS Broadband Loan Awards Made to Three Rural Telcos

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The Rural Utilities Service has awarded nearly $40 million in broadband loans to support new or improved broadband service. The program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture,  provides low-interest loans to bring broadband to rural areas where deployment costs are higher than in urban...Learn More

Comcast Internet Essentials Low-Income Broadband Offers Amnesty on Past Due Balances

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An announcement today from Comcast highlights a broadband adoption challenge that may have been previously overlooked. The company said it will make its Internet Essentials low-income broadband service available to people who previously were not able to receive the service because they had past due...Learn More

Telergee: Rural Telco Financials See Flat Revenues and Declining Margins

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The typical small rural telco financials saw margins decrease about 3% between 2012 and 2013 as their revenue mix shifted toward non-regulated lines of business, according to the 2014 Telergee Alliance Benchmarking Study. Telergee is an alliance of accounting firms specializing in rural telecom. The...Learn More

FCC Proposes Model-Based CAF for Rate-of-Return Carriers

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The FCC wants rate-of-return telecom companies to transition to model-based support as today’s voice-focused high-cost Universal Service Fund is phased out and converted to a broadband-focused Connect America Fund program. Small rural ROR companies today receive USF support based on how their actual costs compare...Learn More

USF Strike Force Established to Crack Down on Fraud and Abuse

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The FCC has created what it is calling a “USF strike force” that will be “dedicated to combatting waste, fraud and abuse” in the Universal Service Fund. Neither the move nor its timing are surprising, considering that the commission is counting on freeing up USF...Learn More