FCC Seeks Additional Comment on Rural Health Care Telecom Program

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The FCC has released a Public Notice seeking additional and focused comment on issues originally raised in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order dealing with the determination of urban and rural rates to be used to calculate support in the Telecommunications Program within the agency’s Rural Health Care (RHC) Program. The RHC Program provides funding to eligible health care providers for telecommunications and broadband services necessary for the provision of health care. Meanwhile, the Telecommunications Program within the RHC Program is set up such that rural health care providers get the same connectivity services for the same prices as their urban counterparts. The Commission’s initial Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order raised a variety of questions involving how the RHC program would be run. Since the close of the original comment period in March 2018, USAC has undertaken extensive reviews of Telecommunications Program applications for compliance with the Commission’s urban/rural rate rules. By this latest Public Notice, the Commission wants to update the records and build upon the experiences gained by broadband service providers, health care providers, and Commission staff since the original comment window closed. Comments are due Monday, January 7, 2019 and reply comments are due Monday, January 21, 2018.

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