WCB Modifies Nextlink’s and Plains Internet’s CAF II Funding and Obligations to Effectuate Transfers of Control

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The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC, Commission) Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) has issued a Public Notice announcing that it has modified the Connect America Fund, Phase II (CAF II) auction (Auction 903) support and obligations in Texas for AMG Technology Investment Group, LLC d/b/a Nextlink Internet and Plains Internet, LLC.  The two carriers exchanged a total of 267 CAF II census blocks with approximately $275,000 in annual support after the FCC approved their section 214 transfer of control application on August 25, 2021. 

The WCB action modifying the corresponding support and obligations illustrates a process and outcomes that are likely to apply for future transactions.  In this case:

  • WCB conditioned its authorization on each carrier assuming “responsibility for complying with universal service fund requirements and Commission rules, regardless of any preexisting or reasonably foreseeable conditions on the ground ….” 
  • Both carriers committed to meeting CAF II obligations as a part of the section 214 approval and WCB declined to ask for additional information as both carriers will continue to offer the same service.  
  • The Texas Public Utility Commission has approved the carriers’ requests to modify their Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) designations in the relevant transferred census blocks. 
  • The carriers also obtained new Letters of Credit securing the adjusted support amounts. 
  • Finally, WCB waived the procedural rules for the Eligible Locations Adjustment Process (ELAP) to permit Nextlink to amend its filings by including location information for the newly acquired census blocks.
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