September 8, 2020
USAC Launches CAF Map Version 3.0
USAC has released version 3.0 of the CAF Map, an interactive online map that shows the impact of the Connect America Fund (CAF) program on broadband expansion across rural America.
First launched in 2018, the Connect America Fund Broadband Map – or CAF Map – displays the geographic locations where carriers that receive CAF support have built out mass-market, high-speed Internet service. Version 3.0 of the map contains updated information reflecting broadband deployment completed in 2019, as well as data from several new broadband deployment funds. The dataset that serves as the foundation for the map can be found here.
The CAF Map is a key source of information about CAF-supported broadband deployment for consumers, policymakers, researchers and others.
The High Cost Program provides funding to telecommunications carriers to deliver service in rural areas where the market alone cannot support the high cost of deploying network infrastructure and supplying connectivity. While the High Cost Program historically has subsidized traditional voice service to ensure that rates in rural and urban areas are reasonably comparable, the FCC has reformed the program to support broadband by creating the Connect America Fund. The Connect America Fund aims to close the digital divide with a series of modernized funds that require carriers to meet defined broadband build-out obligations in rural America.
The CAF Map displays the geographic areas eligible for CAF support, as well as the specific fixed locations where carriers participating in the program have reported broadband availability. Among other details, the data in the map include address, latitude and longitude coordinates, carrier name, deployment year and minimum speeds available.
The information in the map comes directly from the carriers, which file and certify CAF-funded broadband deployment data annually using USAC’s High Cost Universal Broadband (HUBB) portal. The current version of the CAF Map reflects broadband deployment completed as of December 31, 2019. USAC independently verifies broadband deployment to a random sample of reported locations each year to monitor carrier compliance with CAF build-out obligations, but not all data in the map has been subject to this review.
The map currently contains broadband deployment data from carriers participating in the following Connect America Fund programs:
- Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF Phase II) provides funding based on a cost model to telephone companies known as “price cap carriers” to build broadband to a specific number of fixed locations in eligible areas. The CAF Phase II term runs from 2015 to 2020, with interim deployment milestones. Carriers may select a seventh year of support, which extends the term to 2021.
- Alternative Connect America Cost Model (ACAM I) provides funding based on a cost model to smaller telephone companies to build broadband to a specific number of fixed locations in eligible areas. Revised ACAM increased model-based funding for existing ACAM carriers to meet expanded broadband buildout obligations. The original ACAM term – for carriers that elected to participate in the original ACAM program, but not Revised ACAM – runs from 2017 to 2026, with interim deployment milestones. The Revised ACAM term runs from 2019 to 2028, with interim deployment milestones. ACAM locations in the CAF Map include locations funded by both the original ACAM program and Revised ACAM.
- Connect America Fund-Broadband Loop Support (CAF BLS) provides funding based on carrier costs and other financial data to smaller telephone companies known as “rate-of-return” carriers to build broadband to a specific number of fixed locations in eligible areas. The CAF BLS term runs from 2017 to 2021. Please note that not all existing CAF BLS locations are in the CAF Map yet since some CAF-BLS carriers have until March of 2021 to report pre-2019 broadband deployment completed since May of 2016.
- Alternative Connect America Cost Model II (ACAM II) provides funding to “rate of return carriers” that voluntarily elected to transition from CAF BLS funding to model-based support to build broadband to a specific number of fixed locations in eligible areas. The ACAM II term runs from 2019 to 2028. Please note that not all existing ACAM II locations are in the CAF Map yet since ACAM II carriers have until March of 2021 to report pre-2019 broadband deployment. In addition, some existing ACAM II locations deployed before 2019 currently appear as CAF BLS locations in the CAF Map since USAC is still migrating those locations to ACAM II in the HUBB.
- The Alaska Plan provides funding to “rate-of-return” carriers to build broadband to fixed locations in rural and remote parts of Alaska. The Alaska Plan term runs from 2017 to 2026, with an interim deployment milestone.
- Rural Broadband Experiments (RBE) provides funding to telecommunications carriers that successfully bid to deploy broadband in unserved price cap areas, including rural areas that are the most costly to serve. The RBE term runs from 2015 to 2025, with interim deployment milestones.
- Connect America Fund Phase II Auction (CAF II Auction) provides support to carriers and other entities that successfully bid to deploy broadband in areas where the incumbent price cap carrier did not accept CAF II model-based funding and other price cap areas that are the most costly to serve. The CAF II Auction term runs from 2019 to 2025. Please note that many existing CAF II Auction locations are not in the CAF Map yet since CAF II Auction carriers are not required file in the HUBB for the first time until March of 2021.
The CAF Map will be updated with additional broadband deployment data as it is filed and certified by carriers participating in these CAF programs, and as more CAF programs are added to the map. Information in the map data is also subject to change as carriers increase network speeds, revise geographic coordinates and address information and/or correct inaccuracies.
August 4, 2020
Increased Wait Times at the Customer Support Center due to Inclement Weather
Damage from Hurricane Isaias has limited capacity at the High Cost Customer Support Center, causing increased wait times. We appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience.
July 2, 2020
High Cost Customer Support Center Closed July 3, 2020
The High Cost Customer Support Center will be closed on Friday, July 3 to observe the Independence Day holiday. It will re-open on Monday, July 6 at 8 am ET.
April 13, 2020
Temporary Phone Outage at High Cost Call Center
Power outages as a result of severe storms have impacted our ability to answer phone calls to 844-357-0408. We apologize for this inconvenience. Please note, High Cost is still able to send and receive emails at this time. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.
To submit program documents to USAC, please use your normal submission channels or email HCQuestions@yfdingzhi.com.
Thank you for your patience.
March 16, 2020
USAC Remains Open for Business – DC Office Closed
At USAC, we are committed to the health and safety of our employees, contractors, and stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic. USAC remains fully operational.
The USAC offices in Washington, DC are closed. All USAC staff will work remotely and can be reached at their USAC email and telephone numbers.
While the way we work has changed, USAC will conduct the regular and ongoing work administering the Universal Service Fund. This includes processing and reviewing program applications, collecting contributions, disbursing payments, and implementing program guidance from the FCC.
All USAC customer support centers remain open. Please be patient if you experience longer than usual wait times with our customer service teams as circumstances continue to change.
To submit program documents to USAC, please use your normal submission channels or email HCQuestions@yfdingzhi.com.
If you send other documents to USAC via mail or overnight delivery, you must also email a PDF copy to Outreach@yfdingzhi.com.
USAC continues to monitor developments and will implement additional precautions if necessary. This is an evolving situation, and we will keep you informed of any changes as they arise.
February 12, 2020
The HUBB is Down
UPDATE: All HUBB issues have been resolved. Please retry your activity and contact USAC if you are still experiencing any issues.
Please be aware that the High Cost Universal Broadband (HUBB) portal was down earlier today. We were experiencing issues with the HUBB due to the high volumes of transactions.
January 29, 2020
FCC Establishes Uniform Filing Deadlines for CAF Phase II Support Recipients
On January 27, 2020, the FCC released an Order (DA 20-108) that aligns program deadlines related to deployment and reporting obligations for Connect America Fund Phase II auction support recipients. It establishes uniform deadlines for all recipients of CAF Phase II auction funding to reduce confusion and ensure continued compliance with these obligations and requirements.
January 15, 2020
January Systems Maintenance
Each month, the Infrastructure Operations team conducts maintenance on infrastructure services.
January maintenance will begin at 9 PM on Friday, January 17th , and end by 10 AM on January 18th. During this time, users may be unable to access any of the USAC systems, including the HUBB.
January 14, 2020
FCC Announces Deadline for CAF BLS Carriers to Report Pre-Existing Locations
On January 13, 2020, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 20-57) setting a deadline of March 1, 2021 for carriers receiving Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF BLS) that were previously exempt from HUBB reporting obligations to report pre-2019 broadband deployment with the HUBB. Starting this year, all CAF BLS carriers are now subject to HUBB reporting obligations and have until March 2, 2020 to report broadband deployment completed in 2019. This includes CAF BLS carriers that were previously exempt from HUBB reporting obligations because they had already built out broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream (10/1 Mbps) to at least 80 percent of their study area. These carriers have until March 1, 2021 to report pre-2019 broadband deployment at speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream (25/3 Mbps) completed since May 25, 2016.
December 17, 2019
Holiday Hours of Operation
USAC’s customer service team will be available during the following hours:
December 23 – Open regular hours
December 24 – Closed
December 25 – Closed
December 26 – Open regular hours
December 27 – Open regular hours
December 30 – Open regular hours
December 31 – Open with shortened hours from 9AM ET – 6PM ET
January 1, 2020 – Closed
Normal operations will resume on January 2, 2020
December 13, 2019
December Systems Maintenance
Each month, the Infrastructure Operations team conducts maintenance on infrastructure services. December maintenance will begin at 9 PM on Friday, December 13th , and end by 10 AM on December 14th. During this time, users may be unable to access any of the USAC systems, including the HUBB.
November 18, 2019
New HUBB Edit and Delete Functionality Now Available
USAC has implemented new functionality in the High Cost Universal Broadband (HUBB) portal to let carriers edit, delete and replace certain broadband deployment data already certified in the system on a bulk basis.
Carriers can now make bulk modifications to the following information in the HUBB:
- Address, city, state and zip code
- Speed tier
- Number of units
- Carrier ID
- Month and day of deployment
- Latitude and longitude coordinates if the change would move a location by a distance of 36 feet or less
Carriers could previously edit address, city and state, speed tier and number of units for individual records only.
Carriers can also now delete certified deployment records out of the HUBB and upload new locations on a bulk basis. Carriers must supply a reason for all deletions.
Please note that if a carrier needs to change a deployment year, or edit latitude and longitude coordinates in order to move a location by more than 36 feet, the carrier must delete the existing location(s) out of the HUBB and upload replacement location(s). Any changes to a deployment year of a certified deployment record are subject to FCC approval.
Also note that while carriers can currently certify new data uploaded to the HUBB to replace records that have been deleted, they cannot yet certify modified data uploaded to the system. USAC will send a notification when that certification functionality becomes available. In the meantime, carriers can upload edited records for later certification.
Information on using the new bulk modifications and deletions functionality can be found on the HUBB resources page.
October 31, 2019
Mixed Merger Information and Requirements
Carriers must notify USAC within 30 days of a merger closing when a company receiving a fixed level of High Cost support (e.g. model-based support) acquires or is acquired by an average schedule company or a company receiving support based on its costs.
On May 11, 2018, the FCC released an order (FCC 18-62 ) approving the purchase of carrier receiving model-based support by a carrier receiving legacy support. This type of transaction is known as a “mixed merger.” FCC approval was subject to a condition now known as the “Hargray condition,” which caps the operating expense of the carriers of the combined entity that receive cost-based support. The purpose of this condition is to prevent potential cost shifting.
This condition has been applied to subsequent mixed mergers and requires carriers to:
- Notify USAC of the merger within 30 days of the merger closing date.
- Submit the latest audited financial statements to USAC, including all notes and consolidating statements, by December 31, annually, for seven years following the merger. This submission should also include a certification that the carrier has complied with the “Hargray condition”.
Carriers should send these submissions to USAC at email@example.com.
The condition “sunsets” if any of the cost-based carriers involved in the mixed merger become fixed-support carriers at any point during the seven-year period.
For questions please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 641 – 8722 and ask for High Cost Operations.