The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced in the Rural Broadband Accountability Plan that it will double the number of audits and verifications in 2022, compared to 2021 for Universal Service Fund recipients. This plan, according to an FCC press release, is “a new effort to monitor and ensure compliance for universal service high-cost programs including the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.”

There also are a number of changes to the existing audit and verification procedures:

  • In addition to the number of audits and verifications increasing, certain recipients will be randomly selected to include on-site audits as well as audits and verifications.
  • Prior to a program’s first required deployment milestone, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) will conduct more verifications.
  • Largest dollar recipients will be required to have an on-site audit in at least one state.
  • Higher risk recipients will be subject to more audits and verifications.
  • The results of the audits, verifications, and speed and latency performance testing will be made public on the USAC’s website.

These changes by the FCC are to help ensure the areas that require more funding to improve connectivity get it. The FCC also believes the additional measures will speed up processes and hold companies that receive the funding accountable for providing the service their communities need.

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