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

FCC Seeks More Than $76 Million from Two Carriers for Alleged USF Violations

The FCC plans to fine Hawaii-based Sandwich Isles Communications more than $49 million for allegedly violating rules of the high-cost Universal Service Fund (USF) and to require the company to repay over $27 million in improper USF payments.  In an unrelated development, the commission also...Learn More

USTelecom, NTCA Ask FCC for More A-CAM Universal Service Funding

Two key telecom associations – USTelecom and NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association – have asked the FCC for additional Universal Service funding. The requests come in the wake of the revelation that more rate-of-return carriers than anticipated had opted for A-CAM Universal Service funding based on...Learn More

Does Deletion of Agenda Items Signal Republican-Triggered FCC Freeze?

Don’t expect the FCC to make any major decisions for the remainder of President Obama’s term in office. As the nation gets set for a Republican administration, including anticipated Republican control of the FCC, commission chairman Tom Wheeler apparently has heeded calls from Republican lawmakers...Learn More

FairPoint Broadband Coverage Extended to 18,300 Locations Across 50 Markets

A recently completed project extends FairPoint broadband coverage to 50 communities in their New England footprint. Extending the company’s fiber network some 17,000 miles, the FairPoint broadband service expansion brings high-speed Internet connectivity to some areas that have never had it before and/or raises network...Learn More

$21.7 Million Fine Planned, Alleging USF FCC Rural Health Care Program Fraud

The FCC plans to fine telecom services reseller Network Services Solutions and its chief executive $21.7 million for apparent violations involving alleged FCC Rural Health Care program fraud, a program of the Universal Service Fund (USF). The fraud violation fine is the result of Network...Learn More

Carrier Elections of FCC A-CAM Model Based Broadband Support Exceed Budget by $1.6 Billion

The FCC is seeking input on what to do about a $1.6 billion budget shortfall for the broadband Connect America Fund program for rural rate-of-return carriers opting to transition to support based on a cost model developed by the FCC. The shortfall occurred because more...Learn More

FCC Mobility Fund Proposal Raises Important Questions

The FCC plans to vote next month on a proposal for a Universal Service/ Connect America mobility fund that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler shared with other commission officials just last week. A fact sheet about the FCC mobility fund proposal released to the public  raises...Learn More

Stand-Alone Broadband: Will Rural Users Still Pay Twice What Urban Users Pay?

The FCC’s plan to allow rural rate-of-return carriers to collect Universal Service funding for stand-alone broadband may not achieve its intended goal of substantially reducing the cost of that service, cautioned Michael Romano, senior vice president of industry affairs and business development for NTCA—The Rural...Learn More

AT&T Asks FCC to Take Action on “Nefarious” Inter-Carrier Compensation Practices

 AT&T last week asked the FCC to address what it called “nefarious” inter-carrier compensation(ICC) practices including unusually high tandem switching and transport access charges and non-competitive 800-number database dips. In a blog post AT&T noted that such practices are counter-productive to FCC efforts to phase...Learn More

Rural Telecom Financials: Telergee Study Finds Margins and Revenues Up

The average rural telco saw revenues increase 2.8% between 2014 and 2015, according to new research about rural telecom financials from the Telergee Alliance of accounting firms specializing in rural telecom. This is an improvement over the previous year, when margins dropped 1.7% despite a...Learn More

Wheeler Rural Wireless Plans Include Revised Roaming Rules, Mobility Fund

The FCC will take action aimed at revising mobile data roaming rules this year, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler yesterday, speaking at a Competitive Carriers Association event. Such reforms, he said, would be particularly important to rural wireless carriers, who must rely on roaming agreements...Learn More

FCC Commissioner Pai Gigabit Opportunity Zones Proposal Would Target Rural Areas

A proposal from FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai aims to encourage gigabit deployments in rural America by giving tax breaks to network operators deploying the high-speed broadband service. The Pai Gigabit Opportunity Zones proposal also would set aside 10% of the money raised from spectrum auctions...Learn More