Rate-of-Return Carriers Must Select a Buildout Methodology by Aug. 30

Rate-of-return carriers that chose to remain on Legacy Universal Service support mechanisms (HCLS and CAF-BLS) received an email late yesterday from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) giving them until Friday, August 30, 2019, to choose how they would like their mandatory five-year deployment obligations calculated.

Each carrier can choose one of two methods: the Weighted Average Cost Method; or the A-CAM II calculation of the cost per location of providing 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream service in the unserved census blocks in the carrier’s study area. Deployment obligations for each method can be found in the FCC’s CAF-BLS revised deployment obligations file. Please note that some carriers cannot choose the A-CAM II calculation methodology because they do not have any unserved census blocks (reflected as NA in the CAF-BLS revised deployment obligations file). Those carriers must choose the deployment obligation derived from the average cost of providing 25/3 Mbps service.

The revised deployment obligations replace the buildout obligations previously adopted in the 2016 Rate-of-Return Reform Order. The new obligations have been updated to reflect the increased budget for support, as well as the faster 25/3 Mbps service deployment speed requirement. As required by the FCC, the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA) developed a five-year forecast of the total CAF-BLS support for each rate-of-return carrier. That forecast was multiplied by an appropriate percentage based on that carrier’s reported deployment of 25/3 Mbps broadband service within its study area.

Carriers must email USAC at hcinfo@usac.org by Friday, August 30 with the subject line: CAF BLS Buildout Methodology Selection. In the body of the email, specify the carrier name, study area code (SAC), and which methodology your company is selecting:  Weighted Average Cost Method Buildout Requirement or A-CAM Cost Method Buildout.

For questions about the buildout methodology notification, contact your JSI cost consultant or Ryan Denzel in JSI’s Minnesota office at 651-452-2660.