Chairwoman Rosenworcel has established the Rural Broadband Accountability Plan, a new effort to monitor and ensure compliance for universal service high-cost programs including the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and Connect America Fund Phase II Auction. The FCC’s high-cost universal service program is approving billions of new investment dollars to bring connectivity to consumers in areas lacking access to broadband. The new plan seeks to ensure these dollars are properly invested and produce new broadband services in these areas.
About the Universal Service Fund
The Universal Service Fund is paid for by contributions from providers including wireline and wireless companies, and interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol providers, including cable companies that provide voice services. The Fund provides support to eligible telecommunications carriers that serve high-cost areas. The FCC is committed to ensuring the program targets support for broadband expansion and adoption, while also improving efficiency and eliminating waste. The Universal Service Administrative Company is an independent, not-for-profit corporation designated as the administrator of the federal Universal Service Fund by the FCC.
Increased Audits and Verification
The Rural Broadband Accountability Plan makes a number of changes and enhancements to existing audit and verification procedures:
- The number of audits and verifications will double in 2022 as compared to 2021 and include on-site audits as well as audits and verifications based upon identified risks and random selection.
- USAC will conduct more verifications and reviews prior to a program’s first required deployment milestone.
- The largest dollar recipients will be subject to an on-site audit in at least one state.
- Higher risk recipients will be subject to additional audits and verifications.
Increased Program Transparency
For the first time, results of verifications, audits, and speed and latency performance testing will be made public on USAC’s website.
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