On October 30, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice, DA 23-1025, in which the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau authorizes 368 companies in 44 states to receive Enhanced Alternative Connect America Cost Model (Enhanced A-CAM) support to expand rural broadband.
The report released on the same date shows the authorization amount and initial deployment obligations for each carrier that elected an Enhanced A-CAM offer. The included information provides details on the support and deployment requirements for carriers that made the election. Data includes a year-by-year table of support and deployment milestones for “required locations” or locations that were determined to lack 100/20 Mbps service at the time of the offer. The authorizations specify support to the electing companies for the 15-year period beginning January 1, 2024 in exchange for these companies committing to deploy broadband service of at least 100/20 Mbps service to more than 700,000 unserved locations across the U.S. and maintain or improve existing 100/20 Mbps service to approximately 2 million locations.
According to the FCC’s release, carriers authorized to receive Enhanced A-CAM support are reminded of their requirements related to tariffs. Legacy rate-of-return carriers electing Enhanced A-CAM support must exit the National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc. (NECA) common line tariff pool before they will be authorized to receive model-based support. These carriers, however, may continue to tariff non-pool rates for common line and consumer broadband-only loops pursuant to NECA tariffs. These carriers must coordinate with NECA to make any required tariff filings to effectuate these requirements. Legacy rate-of-return carriers electing Enhanced A-CAM support that participate in NECA’s tariff and pools must notify NECA by November 17, 2023 that they will no longer participate in the NECA common line tariff pool, effective January 1, 2024. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) may disburse Enhanced A-CAM support once it confirms that the electing Enhanced A-CAM legacy rate-of-return carrier notified NECA that it will exit the NECA common line tariff pool.
For questions regarding the FCC’s release, Enhanced A-CAM support and obligations, or any tariff requirements, please reach out to a professional at FORVIS.