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.

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

FCC Reveals Rural Broadband Trial Plans, Reforms E-Rate

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The budget for FCC rural broadband trials announced in January has been set at $100 million and the commission expects to award funding by year-end, officials said at today’s FCC meeting, where selection criteria for the rural broadband trials also were adopted. The commission also...Learn More

NTCA Finds Fast Rural School Broadband

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It appears that the rural-rural broadband gap applies to schools as well as the broader Internet marketplace. That seems the best explanation for two substantially different measurements of average school bandwidth in surveys conducted by NTCA- The Rural Broadband Association and EducationSuperHighway, an advocacy organization...Learn More

FCC Releases Details About Universal Service Reforms

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The FCC today released a 200-page document providing details about Universal Service reforms adopted back in April. Among other things, these reforms eliminate the use of quantile regression analysis to limit Universal Service Fund (USF) support. They establish a new rate floor.  And they establish...Learn More

Appeals Court Rejects Connect America Fund Challenges

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Small rural telecommunications service providers experienced a setback Friday when an appeals court upheld Federal Communications Commission authority to transition today’s voice-focused Universal Service program to a broadband-focused Connect America Fund (CAF) and to reform the inter-carrier compensation system. Connect America Fund Challenges Several parties...Learn More

FCC E-Rate Modernization Workshop: $750 Per Gigabit Target Suggested

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Schools and libraries nationwide should be able to get gigabit connectivity to their service provider’s central office for an average of $750 per gigabit per month, said Evan Maxwell, CEO of Education SuperHighway, at an FCC workshop yesterday about E-rate modernization. The E-rate program is...Learn More

USF Reform: Goodbye Quantile Regression, Hello (Maybe) a 10 Mbps Target Speed

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Small rural telecom network operators got several pieces of good news from the FCC today. At today’s monthly meeting, the commission reversed the quantile regression analysis benchmarks that reduced Universal Service Fund support for some of those carriers. The commission also said it would allow...Learn More

Three Men Indicted for Lifeline Program Abuse

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The Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to crack down on abusers of the Universal Service low-income Lifeline program seem to be paying off. Late last week the FCC, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice announced that three Florida...Learn More