THE REGULATORY MIX AND BLOG ARTICLES

Posted by Amy Gross on 11/2/20 2:33 PM

 

Today's Regulatory Mix:  USDA Announces Additional Broadband Funding, GAO Report on FCC USF High Cost Program

 

Country BroadbandUSDA Announces Additional Broadband Funding

The USDA announced additional broadband funding in Oklahoma, New York, Colorado, North Dakota, Montana, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska and Virginia.

In Oklahoma:

  • Cross Cable Television LLC will use a $15.8 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,815 people, 125 farms, nine businesses, one educational facility and a fire department to high-speed broadband internet in Haskell and Muskogee counties in Oklahoma. 
  • Pine Telephone Company Inc. will use a $6.9 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,099 people, 82 farms, 30 businesses, two fire stations, a post office and a public school to high-speed broadband internet in Atoka County, Oklahoma.
  • Medicine Park Telephone Company will use a $3.7 million ReConnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,082 people, 21 farms and 16 businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Comanche County, Oklahoma.

In New York, Seneca Telecommunications LLC will use a $544,000 ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 928 people, five farms and a business to high-speed broadband internet in Cattaraugus, Erie and Chautauqua counties in New York. This grant will provide high-speed internet service to the Cattaraugus Reservation of the Seneca Nation.

In Colorado, Yampa Valley Electric Association will use a $6 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 553 people, 27 farms, 27 businesses and three post offices to high-speed broadband internet in Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, Grand and Eagle counties in Colorado.

In North Dakota and Montana  Reservation Telephone Cooperative will use a $6.9 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 1,413 people, 104 farms, 49 businesses, a public school and a fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Dawson, Richland and Wibaux counties in Montana and McKenzie County, North Dakota.

In Utah and Nevada:

  • Beehive Telephone Company Inc. will use a $2.3 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect four residents, four farms and four businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Washington County, Utah.
  • Beehive Telephone Company Inc. of Nevada will use a $2.7 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 147 people to high-speed broadband internet in Elko County, Nevada.

In Idaho and Wyoming, All West Communications Inc. will use a $5.6 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 188 people, nine businesses and five farms to high-speed broadband internet in Summit County in Utah, Bear Lake County in Idaho, and Sweetwater and Lincoln counties in Wyoming.

In Nebraska, Rock County Telephone Company will use a $3.1 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network that will connect 261 people, 70 farms and seven businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Rock, Keya Paha and Brown counties in Nebraska.

In Virginia, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative will use a $1.5 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 1,964 residents, 34 businesses, 27 farms, a fire station and two post offices to high-speed broadband internet in Brunswick and Halifax counties in Virginia.

 

 

GAO Cover enhanced (2)GAO Report on FCC USF High Cost Program

In response to a request for Congress, the General Accountability Office released a report reviewing USF’s high-cost program’s performance goals and measures. This report examined: (1) the extent to which the program’s performance goals and measures align with leading practices to enable the effective use of performance information and (2) the key challenges selected stakeholders believe FCC faces in meeting the program’s goals.  GAO reviewed FCC’s program goals and measures and assessed them against applicable criteria, including GAO’s leading practices for successful performance measures.

Among other things, GAO found that the FCC’s measures for its performance goals do not always align with leading practices, which call for measures to have linkage with the goal they measure and clarity, objectivity, and measurable targets, among other key attributes. For example, for two of FCC’s five goals, GAO found that FCC’s measures met most, but not all, of the key attributes.

 

Examples of FCC’s Performance Measures Compared with a Selection of Key Attributes of Successful Performance Measures

GAO chart for the Mix 11220

GAO made four recommendations, including that FCC: (1) revise its high cost performance goals so they are measurable and quantifiable; (2) ensure its high-cost program’s performance goals and measures align with leading practices; (3) ensure the high-cost performance measure for the goal of minimizing the universal service contribution burden on consumers and businesses takes into account user-fee leading practices, such as equity and sustainability considerations; and (4) publicly and periodically report on progress measured toward the goals.

In response to the report, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) saidI requested this report because I had profound concerns about the Trump FCC’s handling of the Universal Service Fund, and today’s report validates those fears. GAO has found that the high-cost program has been woefully maintained, with basic governance structures either wholly missing or outdated, effectively being left to rot under Chairman Pai’s leadership. 

“This news comes as the FCC pushes out $16 billion in high-cost broadband funding without adequate or accurate broadband maps to guide them – and is doing so over the express objections of Democratic FCC Commissioners. It is likely that, as a result, funding will be poorly targeted and wasted, when it could and should be going toward communities in desperate need of connectivity. Today’s report confirms that Chairman Pai’s FCC has failed to be a proper steward of the Universal Service Fund, and future Commissions will be at a serious disadvantage in closing the digital divide as a result.”

_________________________________________________________________________

See Recent Briefings From Inteserra!

 

____________________________

The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.

Learn more about Broadband/Lifeline Subscription Management

 

Contact us about  The Telecom Regulatory Fees and Assessments Library with 911 Fees and Surcharges

 

Contact Us   for  Broadband Reporting Assistance!

 

 

 

 

Topics: North Dakota Broadband, Oklahoma Broadband, New York Broadband, Utah Broadband, Virginia Broadband, USDA Broadband Funding, Wyoming Broadband, Montana Broadband, Nevada Broadband, Idaho Broadband, GAO Report on FCC USF High Cost Program, Colorado Broadband, Nebraska Broadband

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Posted by Amy Gross on 11/2/20 2:33 PM

 

Today's Regulatory Mix:  USDA Announces Additional Broadband Funding, GAO Report on FCC USF High Cost Program

 

Country BroadbandUSDA Announces Additional Broadband Funding

The USDA announced additional broadband funding in Oklahoma, New York, Colorado, North Dakota, Montana, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska and Virginia.

In Oklahoma:

  • Cross Cable Television LLC will use a $15.8 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,815 people, 125 farms, nine businesses, one educational facility and a fire department to high-speed broadband internet in Haskell and Muskogee counties in Oklahoma. 
  • Pine Telephone Company Inc. will use a $6.9 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,099 people, 82 farms, 30 businesses, two fire stations, a post office and a public school to high-speed broadband internet in Atoka County, Oklahoma.
  • Medicine Park Telephone Company will use a $3.7 million ReConnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,082 people, 21 farms and 16 businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Comanche County, Oklahoma.

In New York, Seneca Telecommunications LLC will use a $544,000 ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 928 people, five farms and a business to high-speed broadband internet in Cattaraugus, Erie and Chautauqua counties in New York. This grant will provide high-speed internet service to the Cattaraugus Reservation of the Seneca Nation.

In Colorado, Yampa Valley Electric Association will use a $6 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 553 people, 27 farms, 27 businesses and three post offices to high-speed broadband internet in Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, Grand and Eagle counties in Colorado.

In North Dakota and Montana  Reservation Telephone Cooperative will use a $6.9 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 1,413 people, 104 farms, 49 businesses, a public school and a fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Dawson, Richland and Wibaux counties in Montana and McKenzie County, North Dakota.

In Utah and Nevada:

  • Beehive Telephone Company Inc. will use a $2.3 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect four residents, four farms and four businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Washington County, Utah.
  • Beehive Telephone Company Inc. of Nevada will use a $2.7 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 147 people to high-speed broadband internet in Elko County, Nevada.

In Idaho and Wyoming, All West Communications Inc. will use a $5.6 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 188 people, nine businesses and five farms to high-speed broadband internet in Summit County in Utah, Bear Lake County in Idaho, and Sweetwater and Lincoln counties in Wyoming.

In Nebraska, Rock County Telephone Company will use a $3.1 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network that will connect 261 people, 70 farms and seven businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Rock, Keya Paha and Brown counties in Nebraska.

In Virginia, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative will use a $1.5 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 1,964 residents, 34 businesses, 27 farms, a fire station and two post offices to high-speed broadband internet in Brunswick and Halifax counties in Virginia.

 

 

GAO Cover enhanced (2)GAO Report on FCC USF High Cost Program

In response to a request for Congress, the General Accountability Office released a report reviewing USF’s high-cost program’s performance goals and measures. This report examined: (1) the extent to which the program’s performance goals and measures align with leading practices to enable the effective use of performance information and (2) the key challenges selected stakeholders believe FCC faces in meeting the program’s goals.  GAO reviewed FCC’s program goals and measures and assessed them against applicable criteria, including GAO’s leading practices for successful performance measures.

Among other things, GAO found that the FCC’s measures for its performance goals do not always align with leading practices, which call for measures to have linkage with the goal they measure and clarity, objectivity, and measurable targets, among other key attributes. For example, for two of FCC’s five goals, GAO found that FCC’s measures met most, but not all, of the key attributes.

 

Examples of FCC’s Performance Measures Compared with a Selection of Key Attributes of Successful Performance Measures

GAO chart for the Mix 11220

GAO made four recommendations, including that FCC: (1) revise its high cost performance goals so they are measurable and quantifiable; (2) ensure its high-cost program’s performance goals and measures align with leading practices; (3) ensure the high-cost performance measure for the goal of minimizing the universal service contribution burden on consumers and businesses takes into account user-fee leading practices, such as equity and sustainability considerations; and (4) publicly and periodically report on progress measured toward the goals.

In response to the report, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) saidI requested this report because I had profound concerns about the Trump FCC’s handling of the Universal Service Fund, and today’s report validates those fears. GAO has found that the high-cost program has been woefully maintained, with basic governance structures either wholly missing or outdated, effectively being left to rot under Chairman Pai’s leadership. 

“This news comes as the FCC pushes out $16 billion in high-cost broadband funding without adequate or accurate broadband maps to guide them – and is doing so over the express objections of Democratic FCC Commissioners. It is likely that, as a result, funding will be poorly targeted and wasted, when it could and should be going toward communities in desperate need of connectivity. Today’s report confirms that Chairman Pai’s FCC has failed to be a proper steward of the Universal Service Fund, and future Commissions will be at a serious disadvantage in closing the digital divide as a result.”

_________________________________________________________________________

See Recent Briefings From Inteserra!

 

____________________________

The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.

Learn more about Broadband/Lifeline Subscription Management

 

Contact us about  The Telecom Regulatory Fees and Assessments Library with 911 Fees and Surcharges

 

Contact Us   for  Broadband Reporting Assistance!

 

 

 

 

Topics: North Dakota Broadband, Oklahoma Broadband, New York Broadband, Utah Broadband, Virginia Broadband, USDA Broadband Funding, Wyoming Broadband, Montana Broadband, Nevada Broadband, Idaho Broadband, GAO Report on FCC USF High Cost Program, Colorado Broadband, Nebraska Broadband

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