A coalition of eight rural utility and telecom groups dubbed the “Rural Coalition” has submitted a Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II proposal to the FCC addressing issues of weighting of targeted broadband performance tiers and validating performance. Using the baseline 25/3 Mbps tier as an unweighted tier, the groups propose a 10% handicap for bids in the minimum 10/Mbps tier, whereas the faster 100/20 Mbps and 1Gbps/500 Mbps tiers would receive cumulative -15% and -45% advantages, respectively (up to -60% total). Bids that include high latency would be handicapped by 25%.
|Performance Tier||Weighting %|
|1Gbps/500 Mbps||-45 for a total of -60|
|High latency (regardless of speed)||+25|
Additionally, the groups propose an accountability and validation framework that would include (1) stricter eligibility requirements to compete for the higher 100/20 Mbps and 1Gbps/500 Mbps performance tiers and (2) an engineering-based validation process that would account for localized conditions and challenges.