FCC Releases Preliminary List of CAF Phase II Auction Eligible Areas

Challenges Due Aug. 31

On August 10, the FCC moved the ball forward on the Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II competitive auction by releasing a preliminary list of eligible census blocks, along with the reserve price and number of eligible locations in each block. The FCC emphasizes that this is not the final list, and sets a comment date of August 31 for unsubsidized competitors, such as CLECs, cable broadband providers, and fixed wireless providers, to submit data on newly deployed broadband at 10/1 Mbps or greater in the eligible areas. The FCC expects to release the final list at least three months before the CAF Phase II auction short-form application is due.

The preliminary list is based on June 2015 Form 477 broadband deployment data, but the final list will be based on December 2015 Form 477 data and any additional data submitted in the comment period that reflects deployment that was not included in the December 2015 data. If revisions need to be made to the December 2015 data, those revisions should be made and submitted as an attachment to comments by the August 31 deadline. Challenges to a different provider’s certified Form 477 will not be accepted.

JSI clients that have CLECs, cable affiliates and WISPs in nearby price cap exchanges where the price cap carrier declined CAF Phase II support should compare this preliminary list with the most recent broadband deployment data to determine if there are any blocks listed as eligible for reverse auction support that your company now serves. If eligible blocks are identified, you should first check to make sure that the blocks were not already listed as served on your Form 477 filing which contained the December 2015 data. If not, JSI encourages you to file a challenge and if necessary, revise your December 2015 Form 477 data. JSI is available to assist with checking the census blocks, filing comments, and revising your Form 477 data.

All clients that are interested in participating in the CAF Phase II auctions should begin reviewing the preliminary list and identifying eligible areas that might be opportunities for expanding their broadband networks. The preliminary list includes more than just the 20 states where price cap carriers declined CAF Phase II support. For example, broadband experiment provisionally winning blocks that did not make it to the final funding authorization are included, which considerably broadens the number of states where census blocks are potentially eligible. JSI can help you review the list, map the eligible census blocks that you are interested in, and begin planning your auction strategy. JSI also has prepared a primer on the CAF Phase II auctions that we can provide to you upon request. We will be holding a webinar on the ins and outs of the auction rules after the final list and final rules are released.

For any questions about the CAF Phase II auctions or to delve into the preliminary eligible areas list to either file a challenge or analyze opportunities, contact Cassandra Heyne in the MD office at 301-459-7590, Lans Chase in the Georgia office at 770-569-2105, or Lisa McLaughlin in the Texas office at 512-338-0473.

Source: JSI e-Lert