FCC Commences Connect America Phase II Challenge Process

The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau announces the commencement of the Connect America Phase II challenge process for price cap territories.

The Bureau also provides resources to assist parties in making challenges.

The Bureau encourages providers, state commissions, local governments, and any other interested parties to participate in the challenge process. The Bureau has released a list of census blocks that have been deemed initially eligible for Phase II support.

This list consists of census blocks that are: (1) shown as unserved by an unsubsidized competitor; (2) “high cost” according to the adopted Connect America Cost Model, which means that the census block has a calculated average cost per location above $52.50 and below $207.81; and (3) located in price cap territories.

Parties have until August 14, 2014, 45 days from the release of this Public Notice, to file before the FCC a challenge to the inclusion or exclusion of particular census blocks on the list. Challenges may only be based on the first criterion: whether the block is served by an unsubsidized competitor. Challengers may argue either that census blocks served by an unsubsidized competitor were improperly included on the list, or that census blocks unserved by an unsubsidized competitor that are otherwise eligible were improperly excluded from the list.

At the end of the 45-day challenge period, the Bureau will review the challenges received, then issue a public notice indicating which challenges have provided sufficient evidence to make a case that the Bureau’s initial determination regarding the status of a census block should be changed from served to unserved or vice versa.

After the close of the response period, the Bureau will make its final determination as to whether the challenged census blocks will be treated as served or unserved by an unsubsidized competitor for the purposes of Phase II and will issue the final list of census blocks eligible. That final list will be used for making an offer of Phase II model-based support to price cap carriers.

Wireline Competition Bureau Commences Connect America Phase Ii Challenge Process