March 25, 2022

Recent News

General (Including Non-USF Programs)

 
  • On February 9, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) announced via Public Notice (DA 22-131) the applications filed for the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program (Reimbursement Program). The Reimbursement Program received 181 applications and gross cost estimate demand for support contained in the applications initially found eligible and acceptable for filing is nearly $5.6 billion.
 
  • On February 4, the WCB and Office of Economics and Analytics Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA) announced via Public Notice (DA 22-109) the establishment of the online reporting portal for providers of advanced communications services to report the extent to which their networks contain or use covered communications equipment or services. This report must be submitted no later than May 5, 2022.


Lifeline/Emergency Broadband Benefit/Affordable Connectivity Program

  • On March 23, the WCB issued a Public Notice (DA 22-308) seeking comment on petitions filed by USTelecom – The Broadband Association (USTelecom) and Verizon seeking temporary waiver of certain Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) rules. Comments are due March 31, 2022.
 
  • On March 11, the WCB announced via Public Notice (DA 22-244) additional measures to strengthen program integrity and protect the ability of qualifying households to enroll in both the ACP and the Lifeline program, and to apply their ACP benefit to their Lifeline service or a different service.


High Cost Fund Programs

  • On March 22, the WCB extended via Public Notice (DA 22-301) the deadline for individuals, non-governmental entities such as small businesses, and governmental entities, to initiate the registration process for participating in the Eligible Locations Adjustment Process (ELAP) as a stakeholder. Specifically, the WCB extends the original deadline, Friday, March 25, 2022, 11:59 PM ET, to Friday, May 13, 2022, 11:59 PM ET.
 
  • On March 15, the WCB, Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force (RBATF), and OEA authorized via Public Notice (DA 22-280) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (Auction 904) support for 5,657 winning bids. On March 10, the WCB, RBATF, and the OEA announced via Public Notice (DA 22-185) that they are ready to authorize Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (Auction 904) support for winning bids. To be authorized to receive the total support amounts listed, the long-form applicants identified in the Public Notice’s attachment were required to submit letters of credit and bankruptcy code opinion letters by March 24, 2022.


Schools and Libraries (E-Rate)/Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)

  • On March 23, the FCC announced the opening of a third application filing window to award at least $1 billion in Emergency Connectivity Fund support. The third application filing window will open on April 28, 2022 and close on May 13, 2022.
 
  • On March 16, the WCB released an Order (DA 22-284) granting a Motion of Extension of Time in the Promoting Fair and Open Competitive Bidding in the E-Rate Program proceeding. The Order extends the comment and reply comment dates to April 27, 2022 and May 27, 2022, respectively.
 
  • On March 14, the WCB announced via Public Notice (DA 22-271) the E-Rate and Rural Health Care (RHC) programs’ funding caps for funding year 2022. The new caps represent a 4.2% inflation-adjusted increase in each program cap from funding year 2021. The E-Rate program funding cap for funding year 2022 is $4,456,460,992. The RHC program funding cap for funding year 2022 is $637,721,108.


Rural Health Care (RHC)

  • On March 22, the WCB released an Order (DA 22-305) addressing several requests for review filed by Georgia Department of Public Health and ENA Healthcare Services LLC.
 
  • On March 17, the FCC announced via Public Notice (FCC 22-23) the final set of recipients to receive project funding under the Connected Care Pilot Program.  The Connected Care Pilot Program is providing up to $100,000,000 to support connected care services, particularly for low-income Americans and veterans.
 
  • On March 14, the WCB announced via Public Notice (DA 22-271) the E-Rate and Rural Health Care (RHC) programs’ funding caps for funding year 2022. The new caps represent a 4.2% inflation-adjusted increase in each program cap from funding year 2021. The E-Rate program funding cap for funding year 2022 is $4,456,460,992. The RHC program funding cap for funding year 2022 is $637,721,108.
 
  • On March 11, the WCB announced via Public Notice (DA 22-260) a July 31, 2022 deadline for Round 2 COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding recipients to purchase eligible devices and implement eligible services.
 
  • On March 2, the WCB released an Order (DA 22-221) extending the RHC Program application filing window until June 1, 2022,  in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
  • On February 22, the FCC released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 22-15) seeking comment on several revisions to the Commission’s Rural Health Care (RHC) Program rules designed to ensure that rural healthcare providers receive funding necessary to access the broadband and telecommunications services necessary to provide vital healthcare services while limiting costly inefficiencies and the potential for waste, fraud, and abuse. Comments are due on or before April 14, 2022 and reply comments are due on or before May 16, 2022.