USF Relief Granted to RLEC Broadband Providers

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The FCC has granted a 2017 petition filed by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association and USTelecom requesting targeted, temporary forbearance for Rural Local Exchange Carriers (RLECs) from Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution requirements applied to revenues from the provision of broadband Internet access services. The forbearance order specifically provides relief to certain small RLECs that were required to pay into USF based on revenues from broadband services offered as a common-carriage service to participate in tariff pooling arrangements.  Forbearance was sought from these requirements whether the service is tariffed or offered on a de-tariffed basis, until such time that the FCC determines whether any and all broadband services (and not just RLEC-provided broadband Internet access transmission services) should be required to contribute to support of federal USF programs or completes some other form of contributions reform.  Forbearance will be effective for the third quarter of 2018 beginning July 3, 2018 to coincide with the effective date of the 2018 annual access charge tariff filings, and the FCC also extended the deadline for certain Form 499-Q revisions.

 

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