Press Release

With this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB or Bureau) provides guidance to
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II support recipients
and other stakeholders regarding the processes for provider defaults. Support recipients are showing significant progress in meeting their deployment milestones, as noted below, and there is no demonstrated need for widespread relief from the RDOF and CAF Phase II default penalties. Given the flexibility available under the existing default processes and other Commission rules and the lack of demonstrated need for broad relief, as well as our strong interest in preserving the integrity of the Commission’s broadband deployment programs, we decline to provide a blanket amnesty.

However, we recognize that certain carriers may not be able to meet their broadband deployment
obligations or have experienced changed circumstances that may impact their deployment. To ensure
that high-speed broadband is deployed across the country, close coordination between the Commission’s high-cost programs and other federal broadband deployment programs is critically important. In recent months, the Bureau has quickly responded to default requests for these high-cost programs, has approved transfers of deployment obligations to other carriers which avoids support payment recovery and default penalties, and has waived Commission rules where warranted to reduce support payment recovery and default penalties. The Bureau also has the ability, where good cause exists based on individual circumstances, to waive other non-compliance rules for defaults in these high-cost programs.

To ensure federal deployment funds reach the locations where they are needed, we strongly
encourage carriers contemplating defaulting on their deployment obligations under the Commission’s
competitively bid high-cost programs to reach out to the Bureau, and to the relevant state or territory
broadband offices or Tribal governments, about their situation as soon as possible. Earlier defaults can
limit the support recovery and penalty costs to the carrier and also ensure that states and territories timely receive the necessary information for their Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD)
planning. Earlier defaults also ensure that our sister federal agencies timely receive this information to
target funding for their broadband deployment programs.

Press Release

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