Pursuant to the FCC’s directive in its December Connect America Fund (CAF) rate-of-return order, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau today announced 262 revised offers of Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) support.
The FCC had increased available high-cost support for rate-of-return (RoR) carriers while requiring them to increase speeds for supported service to 25 megabits per second downstream and 3 Mbps upstream (25/3), up from current requirements of 10/1 Mbps. Subject to that new speed requirement, the FCC authorized up to $67 million per year in additional support for carriers that have already elected support under the A-CAM; made a new offer of support for carriers that haven’t yet elected A-CAM support to do so; and increased the budget for rate-of-return carriers remaining under actual cost-based support by “initiating an annual inflation adjustment, eliminating 2018 cuts mandated by budgetary rules established under the prior Administration, and setting a guaranteed floor of minimum support for each carrier” (TR Daily, Dec. 12, 2018).
The revised offers announced today reflect the additional support for carriers that have already elected support under the A-CAM. According to a report breaking down the revised offer by state and by individual carriers within a state, a total of 622,433 locations could receive fully funded supported service, compared to 582,956 fully funded locations before the increase in support.
In a public notice announcing the revised offers today, the bureau said, “Under this revised offer, all locations with costs above $52.50 will be funded up to a per-location fund cap of $200.” It added that carriers must accept the additional support by March 27 or they will be deemed to have declined it “and will continue to receive current support amounts and be subject to current deployment obligations.”
An additional report lays out service obligations for individual carriers.
“Pursuant to the current authorizations, a carrier must provide at least 10/1 Mbps service or faster to a number of eligible locations equal to 40 percent of fully funded locations by 2020, and an additional 10 percent of fully funded locations each year until 2026. Pursuant to the revised offer, an electing carrier must provide 25/3 Mbps or faster service to 40 percent of its required 25/3 Mbps locations by 2022, and an additional 10 percent each year until 2028. A company electing the revised offer must separately meet each set of milestones, but any location served with at least 25/3 Mbps service would satisfy both milestones. For example, a carrier that must deploy 25/3 Mbps service to 100 locations by 2022 pursuant to the revised offer would be able to count those locations toward the milestones for the current authorization because, by definition, any location with 25 Mbps service has service of at least 10/1 Mbps,” the bureau said. —Lynn Stanton, [email protected]
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