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Universal Service Oversight

The Office of the Managing Director (OMD) provides direction to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), which administers the federal Universal Service Fund (USF). In order to facilitate the efficient management and oversight of the USF program, the FCC and USAC have entered into and comply with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and amendment. The MOU has been amended to remain in effect until September 17, 2024.

Telecommunication Relay Service Management and Oversight

The FCC manages and oversees the administration of the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) fund. TRS compensates TRS providers for reasonable costs of providing interstate telephone transmission services that enable a person with a hearing or speech disability to communicate with a person without hearing or speech disabilities. The costs of providing interstate TRS are recovered from subscribers of interstate telecommunications services. Additional information on the administrator of TRS, and the TRS program in general can be found at the following links:

North American Numbering Plan Management and Oversight

The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) is the basic numbering scheme permitting interoperable telecommunications services within the U.S., Canada, Bermuda, and most of the Caribbean. Section 251(e)(1) of the Act required the Commission to create or designate one or more impartial entities to administer telecommunications numbering and to make such numbers available on an equitable basis. The Act also requires that costs of number administration and number portability be borne by all telecommunications carriers on a competitively neutral basis, as determined by the Commission. By implementing section 251 of the Act the Commission appointed a NANP Administrator, a national Pooling Administer (PA) to administer thousands block number pooling, and a Billing and Collection Agent (BCA). The Commission selected Welch LLP to be the BCA for NANP effective on October 1, 2004.

Additional information on NANP and the BCA can be found at the following websites:

Coronavirus Response and Relief

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law, appropriating $200 million to the Commission “to support efforts of health care providers to address coronavirus by providing telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services” during the pendency of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission established the COVID-19 Telehealth Program to fulfill its responsibilities under the CARES Act. On December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 was signed into law, appropriating an additional $249.95 million to the Commission for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 also established an Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund in the United States Treasury in the amount of $3.2 billion and directed the Commission to use that fund to establish an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP). On March 11, 2021, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Congress established an Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) in the United States Treasury in the amount of $7.171 billion and directed the Commission to promulgate rules providing for the distribution of ECF funding to eligible schools and libraries. To assist the Commission with the fulfillment of its responsibilities for these programs, the Commission has entered into Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to provide support for the Commission’s efforts. Please see the links below for these separate MOUs.