Rural Health Care Waivers Granted in Light of Service Outages

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The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) has granted a limited waiver to Community Hospital Corporation (CHC) allowing CHC to select a replacement service provider for Network Services Solutions, LLC (NSS) without competitive bidding due to recent difficulties NSS has had with service outages. The Bureau also has waived the FCC’s Rural Health Care (RHC) and Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) competitive bidding rules for a number of health care providers (HCPs) similarly affected by NSS to enter into short-term replacement contracts without initiating a new competitive bidding process.  Generally, RHC and or HCF applicants must first post to USAC’s website and review for at least 28 days all responding bids submitted before entering into a service agreement with the selected provider.  The affected HCPs, which largely serve rural and remote areas, all entered into contracts with NSS to receive subsidized communications services subsidized under the RHC Telecommunications and/or HCF Programs and a number of NSS’s HCP customers have been experiencing service outage issues.  Under these circumstances, the Bureau found a limited waiver to be in the public interest so that NSS’s HCP customers may continue to receive support upon switching to another service provider.

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