Companies have until March 27 to decide
On February 25, 2019, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing that rate-of-return carriers that currently receive Alternative Connect America Model (A-CAM) support have until March 27, 2019, to notify the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau if they will elect a revised offer of additional support up to $200 per location. This offer only applies to the 262 existing A-CAM recipients. A second A-CAM offer to all existing Legacy support recipients is forthcoming.
This revised offer will raise the $146.10 census block funding cap to $200, which was the original funding offer made to A-CAM carriers in August 2016. The revised offer also extends the duration of the A-CAM support for two additional years, to 2028. A-CAM glidepath carriers are already at the $200 census block funding cap so they will not receive any additional funding beyond the additional two years in funding. While the revised offer doesn’t increase the total number of locations to which the carrier must provide service, those who accept the revised offer will commit to offering 25/3 Mbps to more locations.
In conjunction with the Public Notice, the FCC released the company-specific revised offers, which show the two years of additional support and the modified associated buildout obligation schedule at 25/3 Mbps. Carriers that elect the revised offers will continue to have their 10/1 Mbps milestone obligations under the original timetable (ending in 2026) and the new 25/3 Mbps obligations will have a new milestone schedule for the remaining 10 years.
Of course, carriers that plan to deploy at least 25/3 Mbps to all fully funded locations would sufficiently meet both sets of milestones since any 10/1 Mbps obligations would be fulfilled by 25/3 Mbps or greater service. Each company’s milestones for both 10/1 Mbps and 25/3 Mbps are in the company-specific revised offers.
Once A-CAM recipients decide to accept the revised offer on a state-by-state basis (for those who have study areas in multiple states), they must submit election letters to the FCC at ConnectAmerica@fcc.gov. JSI’s cost consultants are available to review the revised A-CAM offer with existing A-CAM carriers, including the amount of support, the new buildout obligations and the milestone schedules, so companies can make an informed decision by the March 27 deadline. We also have a template letter and can assist with making the filing.
For questions and analysis of the revised A-CAM offer, please contact your JSI cost consultant or Ryan Denzel at 651-452-2660.