In a brief Public Notice released today, the FCC’s Wireline Bureau announced that it will delay the requirement for recipients of Connect America Fund (CAF) to begin testing broadband speed and latency until first quarter 2020. The testing requirements were established in a July 2018 Order (see our July 11, 2018 e-Lert for details). That Order required all CAF recipients with defined buildout obligations to conduct the testing beginning third quarter 2019 and report the results of tests conducted during the third and fourth quarters of 2019 by July 1, 2020.
When the Order was released, Legacy carriers with 80% or more 10/1 broadband deployment did not have defined buildout obligations and thus were not subject to the testing requirements. On May 2, 2019, the Wireline Bureau released a Public Notice with revised buildout obligations under the 25/3 speed standard that are now applicable for all Legacy carriers. Accordingly, beginning first quarter 2020, all Legacy carriers will be required to conduct the tests in addition to A-CAM I and A-CAM II electors, Rural Broadband Experiment winners, CAF Phase II auction winners, and Price Cap carriers receiving CAF Phase II support.
As explained in today’s Public Notice, the delay is due to several factors, including the need for the FCC to address pending petitions seeking changes to the rules and develop interfaces required to collect the data. As these developments occur, JSI will keep clients informed through e-Lerts and will conduct a webinar once all the rules are final. We are also available to work with companies on an individual basis with meeting the testing requirements.