FCC Seeks Comment on Petition to Clarify A-CAM Deployment Requirements

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The Federal Communication Commission (FCC or Commission) has issued a Public Notice seeking comment on a Petition for Clarification or Declaratory Ruling filed by Northeast Iowa Telephone Co. (NEIT) and Western Iowa Telephone Association (WIATEL) (collectively the Iowa Carriers), which asks the Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) to clarify the definition of “eligible locations” under the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) deployment requirements for residences that also serve as businesses. 

According to the Iowa Carriers, there is a discrepancy between FCC orders and the guidance subsequently released by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) regarding the eligibility of home-based businesses for consideration in meeting the Commission’s A-CAM deployment requirements.  Under FCC rules, the Iowa Carriers argue, A-CAM recipients must only offer broadband services to the defined eligible locations in order to meet their deployment obligations.  With respect to home-based businesses, however, USAC has issued conflicting guidance, indicating that home-based businesses can only be included as eligible locations meeting A-CAM deployment requirements if the home-based businesses actually subscribe to a carrier’s broadband service and use separate equipment from that provided to the home.

In their Petition, the Iowa Carriers seek clarification on USAC’s “separately subscribe” guidance and furthermore ask the Commission to clarify that there is no separate facilities requirement as long as a service provider can serve every unit within a physical address.  Interested parties can contest or support the Iowa Carriers’ Petition through the comment period ending July 10, 2019, and the reply comment period ending July 25, 2019.

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