2012 Reforms and Changes required by the USF/ICC Transformation Order
High Cost Program
2012 implementing reforms and changes required by the USF/ICC Transformation Order, which overhauled universal service policies for rural and hard-to-serve areas. USAC successfully developed and deployed system functionality to address program changes, including freezing or capping various types of support and implementing new High Cost support mechanisms. This monumental transformation of the High Cost Program required USAC to secure the necessary resources to perform required system modifications, create new online forms to collect better data, educate internal and external stakeholders, and coordinate with USAC’s finance team to develop new disbursement and reporting processes. The FCC revamped carrier certification and reporting requirements, and USAC met all deadlines for implementing these changes. High Cost Program staff developed a rate floor certification form to collect data on carriers’ end-user rates to determine their support amounts if they did not meet a specified local rate floor. USAC procured a new cost model for price cap carrier support, working closely with FCC staff on the agreement to purchase the rights to the application for calculating this support. USAC deployed several versions of the proposed cost model in early 2013, giving carriers the ability to calculate costs using a variety of different inputs and assumptions. This data will allow the FCC to determine the final cost model and inputs in 2013 so that USAC will be able to calculate and disburse this support. Following the FCC’s Mobility Fund Phase I auction held this past September, USAC staff developed the new operations and systems needed to make support payments to authorized winning bidders starting in early 2013. The Mobility Fund provides dedicated funding for mobile voice and broadband services, with Phase I funds supporting swift deployment of networks for mobile broadband services in areas unserved by current generation mobile broadband, or 3G. High Cost Program staff made several presentations at industry events in 2012 to highlight the changes resulting from the FCC’s overhaul of the program. In addition, staff continued providing new information on USAC’s website and by emails and newsletters to stakeholders about program changes and processes.