On November 11, 2016, USAC sent rate-of-return carriers an email notice about the mandatory deployment obligations that will apply to rate-of-return carriers that remain on legacy Universal Service support mechanisms (HCLS and CAF BLS). USAC reminded carriers that they need to select a methodology for calculating the deployment obligations that they will be required to meet over a five-year period (2017-2021).  However, because the FCC has not determined the next steps in the A-CAM, the USAC notice requires all carriers with less than 80% 10/1 Mbps deployment to select a buildout methodology by December 5. USAC directed carriers to email hcinfo@usac.org with the subject line CAF BLS Buildout Methodology Selection, and specify in the body of the email which methodology you are selecting and your study area code.

The two buildout methodologies that carriers must choose between are the Weighted Average Cost Method or the A-CAM Cost Method. On October 6, the FCC released a comparison of buildout requirements with the two methodologies.  The comparison can be found in the link labeled “Excel file of deployment obligations” at the bottom of the USAC notice. Companies will need to review columns I and K on the comparison to determine the number of locations which your company would be required to deploy broadband under each methodology were it to remain on legacy support. Please note that “NBR” stands for “No Buildout Requirement” which pertains to those carriers that have 80% or more 10/1 Mbps, and that in some instances, there is no option to choose the A-CAM methodology which is indicated by an “NA” in column K. JSI recommends that carriers select the methodology that indicates the lower number of locations.

For questions about the buildout methodology notification, contact your cost consultant or Steve Meltzer or John Kuykendall in the Maryland office at 301-459-7590.

Source: JSI e-Lert