FCC Provides Guidance on Performance Measures Requirements for Carriers Transitioning to Enhanced A-CAM and Those Remaining on CAF BLS

The FCC recently released guidance for carriers that have elected to transition to Enhanced A-CAM on January 1, 2024.1 While January 1, 2026 is the start date for Enhanced A-CAM carriers’ pre-testing period, carriers that do not meet their existing A-CAM, A-CAM II, or CAF BLS deployment milestones due by December 31, 2023 will be subject to support withholding or recovery and “any support withholding or recovery will be based on support at the time the carrier is notified of non-compliance.”2 The FCC will confirm a carrier’s compliance with its milestones on July 1, 2024.

After July 1, 2024, USAC and the FCC will process the testing data and implement any support withholding against monthly Enhanced A-CAM disbursements. However, once a carrier has come back into compliance with its A-CAM performance requirements, it will receive its full monthly Enhanced A-CAM disbursement and have its withheld support restored. The FCC recommends that carriers transitioning from A-CAM I or ACAM-II to Enhanced A-CAM continue to conduct performance testing prior to July 1, 2024, because compliance with A-CAM I or A-CAM II performance requirements certified for any quarter of 2024 means that carrier will not have Enhanced A-CAM support withheld.

Carriers that are currently on CAF BLS, regardless of whether they have elected Enhanced A-CAM, must show that they were in compliance with their CAF BLS performance requirements in 2023, the final year of their five-year deployment term. If a carrier is transitioning from CAF BLS to Enhanced A-CAM and is in compliance with performance measures standards for the year 2023, then no further testing is needed until 2026. However, CAF BLS carriers that are not in compliance will be subject to support recovery, or a carrier may attempt to return to compliance within a one-year cure period by conducting another year of performance testing using a statistically valid sample of locations, and request such a sample by August 1, 2024. Carriers that did not elect Enhanced A-CAM must continue performance testing even after they have shown they are in compliance for the five-year obligation.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this issue further, please contact Dee Herman at [email protected] or Shannon Forchheimer at [email protected].

[1] Wireline Competition Bureau Provides Additional Guidance on Performance Measures Requiresments for Carriers Transitioning to Enhanced A-CAM and Those Remaining on CAF BLS Support, WC Docket No. 10-90, Public Notice (Dec. 4, 2023).
[2] Connect America Fund: A National Broadband Plan for Our Future High-Cost Universal Service Support et al., WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., Report and Order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Notice of Inquiry, FCC 23-60, at 23-24 para. 49 (July 24, 2023).

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