Goto Section: 54.321 | 54.401 | Table of Contents

FCC 54.322
Revised as of January 19, 2021
Goto Year:2020 | 2022
  §  54.322   Public interest obligations and performance requirements, reporting
requirements, and non-compliance mechanisms for mobile legacy high-cost
support recipients.

   (a) General. A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier
   that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii),
   (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) shall deploy voice and
   broadband data services that meet at least the 5G-NR (New Radio)
   technology standards developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership
   Project with Release 15, or any successor release that may be adopted
   by the Office of Economics and Analytics and the Wireline Competition
   Bureau after notice and comment.

   (b) Service milestones and deadlines. A mobile competitive eligible
   telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to
   § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) shall
   deploy 5G service that meets the performance requirements specified in
   paragraph (d) of this section to a percentage of the service areas for
   which the carrier receives monthly support and on a schedule as
   specified and adopted by the Office of Economics and Analytics and
   Wireline Competition Bureau after notice and comment.

   (c) Support usage. A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications
   carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii),
   (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii) or (e)(7)(iii) shall use an increasing
   percentage of such support for the deployment, maintenance, and
   operation of mobile networks that provide 5G service as specified in
   paragraph (a) of this section and that meet the performance
   requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section as follows:

   (1) Year one support usage. The carrier shall use at least one-third (
   1⁄3 ) of the total monthly support received pursuant to
   § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) in calendar
   year 2021 as specified in paragraph (c) of this section by December 31,
   2021.

   (2) Year two support usage. The carrier shall use at least two-thirds (
   2⁄3 ) of the total monthly support received pursuant to
   § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) in calendar
   year 2022 as specified in paragraph (c) of this section by December 31,
   2022.

   (3) Year three and subsequent year support usage. The carrier shall use
   all monthly support received pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii),
   (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) as specified in paragraph (c)
   of this section in 2023 and thereafter.

   (4) Year one support usage flexibility. If the carrier is unable to
   meet the support usage requirement in paragraph (c)(1) of this section,
   the carrier shall have the flexibility to instead proportionally
   increase the support usage requirement in paragraph (c)(2) of this
   section such that its combined usage of monthly support received
   pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii)
   in calendar years 2021 and 2022 is equal to the total amount of such
   support that the carrier receives annually, provided that the carrier
   certifies to the Wireline Competition Bureau this amount and that it
   will make up for any shortfall in a filing due by March 31, 2021 or 30
   days after Paperwork Reduction Act approval, whichever is later.

   (d) Performance requirements. A mobile competitive eligible
   telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to
   § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) shall meet
   the following minimum baseline performance requirements for data
   speeds, data latency, and data allowances in areas that it has deployed
   5G service as specified in paragraph (a) of this section and for which
   it receives support for at least one plan that it offers:

   (1) Median data transmission rates of 35 Mbps download and 3 Mbps
   upload, and with at least 90 percent of measurements recording data
   transmission rates of not less than 7 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload;

   (2) Transmission latency of 100 milliseconds or less round trip for
   successfully transmitted measurements (i.e., ignoring lost or timed-out
   packets); with at least 90 percent of measurements recording latency of
   100 milliseconds or less round trip, and

   (3) At least one service plan offered must include a data allowance
   that is equivalent to the average United States subscriber data usage
   as specified and adopted by the Office of Economics and Analytics and
   Wireline Competition Bureau after notice and comment.

   (e) Collocation obligations. A mobile competitive eligible
   telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to
   § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall allow for reasonable collocation
   by other carriers of services that would meet the technological
   requirements specified in paragraph (a) of this section on all
   cell-site infrastructure constructed with universal service funds that
   it owns or manages in the area for which it receives such monthly
   support. In addition, during the time that the mobile competitive
   eligible telecommunications carrier receives such support, the carrier
   may not enter into facilities access arrangements that restrict any
   party to the arrangement from allowing others to collocate on the
   cell-site infrastructure.

   (f) Voice and data roaming obligations. A mobile competitive eligible
   telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to
   § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall comply with the Commission's
   voice and data roaming requirements that are currently in effect on
   networks that are built with universal service funds.

   (g) Reasonably comparable rates. A mobile competitive eligible
   telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to
   § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall offer its services in the areas
   for which it receives such monthly support at rates that are reasonably
   comparable to those rates offered in urban areas and must advertise the
   voice and broadband services it offers in its subsidized service areas.
   A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier's rates shall
   be considered reasonably comparable to urban rates, based upon the most
   recently-available decennial U.S. Census Bureau data identifying areas
   as urban, if rates for services in rural areas fall within a reasonable
   range of urban rates for reasonably comparable voice and broadband
   services.

   (1) If the carrier offers service in urban areas, it may demonstrate
   that it offers reasonably comparable rates if it offers the same rates,
   terms, and conditions (including usage allowances, if any, for a
   specific rate) in both urban and rural areas or if one of the carrier's
   stand-alone voice service plans and one service plan offering data are
   substantially similar to plans it offers in urban areas.

   (2) If the carrier does not offer service in urban areas, it may
   demonstrate that it offers reasonably comparable rates by identifying a
   carrier that does offer service in urban areas and the specific rate
   plans to which its plans are reasonably comparable, along with
   submission of corroborating evidence that its rates are reasonably
   comparable, such as marketing materials from the identified carrier.

   (h) Initial report of current service offerings. (1) A mobile
   competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly
   support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall submit an
   initial report describing its current service offerings in its
   subsidized service areas and how the monthly support it is receiving is
   being used in such areas no later than three months after the effective
   date of the Report and Order, FCC 20-150, and Paperwork Reduction Act
   approval. This report shall include the following information:

   (i) Information regarding the carrier's current service offerings in
   its subsidized service areas, including the highest level of technology
   deployed, a target date for when 5G broadband service meeting the
   performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section
   will be deployed within the subsidized service area, and an estimate of
   the percentage of area covered by 5G deployment meeting the performance
   requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section within the
   subsidized service area;

   (ii) A brief narrative describing its current service offerings and
   providing an accounting of how monthly support has been used to provide
   mobile wireless services for the 12-month period prior to the deadline
   of this report;

   (iii) Detailed cell-site and sector infrastructure information for
   infrastructure that the carrier uses to provide service in its
   subsidized service areas;

   (iv) Certification that the carrier has filed relevant deployment data
   (either via FCC Form 477 or the Digital Opportunity Data Collection, as
   appropriate) that reflect its current deployment covering its
   subsidized service areas;

   (v) Certification that the carrier is in compliance with the public
   interest obligations as set forth in this section and all of the terms
   and conditions associated with the continued receipt of such monthly
   support disbursements; and

   (vi) Additional information as required by the Office of Economics and
   Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau after release of a public
   notice detailing the procedures to file this report.

   (2) The party submitting the report must certify that it has been
   authorized to do so by the mobile competitive eligible
   telecommunications carrier that receives support.

   (3) Each initial report of current service offerings shall be submitted
   solely via the Administrator's online portal.

   (i) The Commission and the Administrator shall treat infrastructure
   data submitted as part of such reports as presumptively confidential.

   (ii) The Administrator shall make such reports available to the
   Commission and to the relevant state, territory, and Tribal
   governmental entities, as applicable.

   (4) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that
   receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7)
   shall have a continuing obligation to maintain the accuracy and
   completeness of the information provided in its initial report. Any
   substantial change in the accuracy or completeness of such a report
   must be reported as an update to its submitted report within ten (10)
   business days after the reportable event occurs.

   (5) The Commission shall retain the authority to look behind a mobile
   competitive eligible telecommunications carrier's initial report and to
   take action to address any violations.

   (i) Annual reports. (1) A mobile competitive eligible
   telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to
   § 54.307(e)(5) (e)(6), or (e)(7) shall submit an annual report no later
   than July 1 in each year following the year in which its initial report
   of current service offerings as specified in paragraph (h) of this
   section is submitted. Each such report shall include the following
   information:

   (i) Except for areas for which the carriers receives monthly support
   pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5)(iv), (e)(6)(iv) or (e)(7)(iv), updated
   information regarding the carrier's current service offerings in its
   subsidized service areas for the previous calendar year, including the
   highest level of technology deployed, a target date for when 5G
   broadband service meeting the performance requirements specified in
   paragraph (d) of this section will be deployed within the subsidized
   service area, and an estimate of the percentage of area covered by 5G
   deployment meeting the performance requirements specified in paragraph
   (d) of this section within the subsidized service area;

   (ii) A brief narrative providing an accounting of the support the
   carrier has received and how monthly support has been used to provide
   mobile wireless services for the previous calendar year, with an
   indication of which of these expenditures were used to meet the
   requirements specified in paragraph (c) of this section within the
   subsidized service area;

   (iii) Detailed cell-site and sector infrastructure information for
   infrastructure that the carrier uses to provide service in its
   subsidized service areas;

   (iv) Certification that the carrier has filed relevant deployment data
   (either via FCC Form 477 or the Digital Opportunity Data Collection, as
   appropriate) that reflect its current deployment covering its
   subsidized service areas;

   (v) Certification that the carrier is in compliance with the public
   interest obligations as set forth in this section and all of the terms
   and conditions associated with the continued receipt of monthly
   support; and

   (vi) Additional information as required by the Office of Economics and
   Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau after release of a public
   notice detailing the procedures to file these reports.

   (2) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that
   receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7)
   shall supplement the information provided to the Administrator in any
   annual report within ten (10) business days from the onset of any
   reduction in the percentage of areas for which the recipient receives
   support being served after the filing of an initial or annual
   certification report or in the event of any failure to comply with any
   of the requirements for continued receipt of such support.

   (3) The party submitting the annual report must certify that it has
   been authorized to do so by mobile competitive eligible
   telecommunications carrier that receives support.

   (4) Each annual report shall be submitted solely via the
   Administrator's online portal.

   (i) The Commission and the Administrator shall treat infrastructure
   data submitted as part of such a report as presumptively confidential.

   (ii) The Administrator shall make such reports available to the
   Commission and to the relevant state, territory, and Tribal
   governmental entities, as applicable.

   (5) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that
   receives monthly support pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7)
   shall have a continuing obligation to maintain the accuracy and
   completeness of the information provided in its annual reports. Any
   substantial change in the accuracy or completeness of any such report
   must be reported as an update to the submitted annual report within ten
   (10) business days after the reportable event occurs.

   (6) The Commission shall retain the authority to look behind a mobile
   competitive eligible telecommunications carrier's annual reports and to
   take action to address any violations.

   (j) Service milestone reports. (1) A mobile competitive eligible
   telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support pursuant to
   § 54.307(e)(5)(ii), (e)(5)(iii), (e)(6)(iii), or (e)(7)(iii) shall
   submit a report after each of the service milestones described in
   paragraph (b) of this section by the deadlines established by the
   Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau
   demonstrating that it has deployed 5G service that meets the
   performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this section,
   which shall include information as required by the Office of Economics
   and Analytics and Wireline Competition Bureau in a public notice.

   (2) All data submitted in or certified to in any service milestone
   report shall be subject to verification by the Administrator for
   compliance with the performance requirements specified in paragraph (d)
   of this section.

   (k) Non-compliance measures for failure to comply with performance
   requirements or public interest obligations. (1) A mobile competitive
   eligible telecommunications carrier that receives monthly support
   pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5) (e)(6), or (e)(7) that fails to comply with
   the public interest obligations set forth in paragraphs (e) through (j)
   of this section, fails to comply with the performance requirements set
   forth in paragraph (d) of this section at the prescribed level by the
   applicable service milestone deadline established in paragraph (b) of
   this section, or that fails to use monthly support as set forth in
   paragraph (c) of this section must notify the Wireline Competition
   Bureau and the Administrator within 10 business days of its
   non-compliance.

   (2) Upon notification by a carrier of its non-compliance pursuant to
   paragraph (k) of this section, or a determination by the Administrator
   or Wireline Competition Bureau of a carrier's non-compliance with any
   of the public interest obligations set forth in paragraphs (e) through
   (j) of this section or the performance requirements set forth in
   paragraph (d) of this section, the carrier will be deemed to be in
   default, and for monthly support received pursuant to § 54.307(e)(5),
   (e)(6), or (e)(7), will no longer be eligible to receive such support,
   will receive no further support disbursements, and may be subject to
   recovery of up to the amount of support received since the effective
   date of the Report and Order, FCC 20-150, that was not used for the
   deployment, maintenance, and operation of mobile networks that provide
   5G service as specified in paragraph (a) of this section and that meet
   the performance requirements specified in paragraph (d) of this
   section. The carrier may also be subject to further action, including
   the Commission's existing enforcement procedures and penalties,
   potential revocation of ETC designation, and suspension or debarment
   pursuant to § 54.8.

   (3) A mobile competitive eligible telecommunications carrier that
   voluntarily relinquishes receipt of monthly support pursuant to
   § 54.307(e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7) will no longer be required to comply
   with the public interest obligations specified in this section, except
   that the carrier may be deemed to be in default and subject to recovery
   of support as set forth in paragraph (k)(2) of this section.

   [ 85 FR 75819 , Nov. 25, 2020]

   Effective Date Note: At  85 FR 75819 , Nov. 25, 2020, § 54.322 was added,
   However, paragraphs (b), (c)(4), (g), (h), (i) and (j), have a delayed
   effective date.

   

Subpart E—Universal Service Support for Low-Income Consumers

   

54.400   Terms and definitions.

   Link to an amendment published at  86 FR 1021 , Jan. 7, 2021.

   As used in this subpart, the following terms shall be defined as
   follows:

   (a) Qualifying low-income consumer. A “qualifying low-income consumer”
   is a consumer who meets the qualifications for Lifeline, as specified
   in § 54.409.

   (b) Toll blocking service. “Toll blocking service” is a service
   provided by an eligible telecommunications carrier that lets
   subscribers elect not to allow the completion of outgoing toll calls
   from their telecommunications channel.

   (c) Toll control service. “Toll control service” is a service provided
   by an eligible telecommunications carrier that allows subscribers to
   specify a certain amount of toll usage that may be incurred on their
   telecommunications channel per month or per billing cycle.

   (d) Toll limitation service. “Toll limitation service” denotes either
   toll blocking service or toll control service for eligible
   telecommunications carriers that are incapable of providing both
   services. For eligible telecommunications carriers that are capable of
   providing both services, “toll limitation service” denotes both toll
   blocking service and toll control service.

   (e) Eligible resident of Tribal lands. An “eligible resident of Tribal
   lands” is a “qualifying low-income consumer,” as defined in paragraph
   (a) of this section, living on Tribal lands. For purposes of this
   subpart, “Tribal lands” include any federally recognized Indian tribe's
   reservation, pueblo, or colony, including former reservations in
   Oklahoma; Alaska Native regions established pursuant to the Alaska
   Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688); Indian allotments;
   Hawaiian Home Lands—areas held in trust for Native Hawaiians by the
   state of Hawaii, pursuant to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920
   July 9, 1921, 42 Stat. 108, et. seq., as amended; and any land
   designated as such by the Commission for purposes of this subpart
   pursuant to the designation process in § 54.412.

   (f) Income. “Income” means gross income as defined under section 61 of
   the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 61, for all members of the
   household. This means all income actually received by all members of
   the household from whatever source derived, unless specifically
   excluded by the Internal Revenue Code, Part III of Title 26, 26 U.S.C.
   101 et seq.

   (g) Duplicative support. “Duplicative support” exists when a Lifeline
   subscriber is receiving two or more Lifeline services concurrently or
   two or more subscribers in a household are receiving Lifeline services
   or Tribal Link Up support concurrently.

   (h) Household. A “household” is any individual or group of individuals
   who are living together at the same address as one economic unit. A
   household may include related and unrelated persons. An “economic unit”
   consists of all adult individuals contributing to and sharing in the
   income and expenses of a household. An adult is any person eighteen
   years or older. If an adult has no or minimal income, and lives with
   someone who provides financial support to him/her, both people shall be
   considered part of the same household. Children under the age of
   eighteen living with their parents or guardians are considered to be
   part of the same household as their parents or guardians.

   (i) National Lifeline Accountability Database or Database. The
   “National Lifeline Accountability Database” or “Database” is an
   electronic system, with associated functions, processes, policies and
   procedures, to facilitate the detection and elimination of duplicative
   support, as directed by the Commission.

   (j) Qualifying assistance program. A “qualifying assistance program”
   means any of the federal or Tribal assistance programs the
   participation in which, pursuant to § 54.409(a) or (b), qualifies a
   consumer for Lifeline service, including Medicaid; Supplemental
   Nutrition Assistance Program; Supplemental Security Income; Federal
   Public Housing Assistance; Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit;
   Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance; Tribally administered
   Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF); Head Start (only
   those households meeting its income qualifying standard); or the Food
   Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).

   (k) Direct service. As used in this subpart, direct service means the
   provision of service directly to the qualifying low-income consumer.

   (l) Broadband Internet access service. “Broadband Internet access
   service” is defined as a mass-market retail service by wire or radio
   that provides the capability to transmit data to and receive data from
   all or substantially all Internet endpoints, including any capabilities
   that are incidental to and enable the operation of the communications
   service, but excluding dial-up service.

   (m) Voice telephony service. “Voice telephony service” is defined as
   voice grade access to the public switched network or its functional
   equivalent; minutes of use for local service provided at no additional
   charge to end users; access to the emergency services provided by local
   government or other public safety organizations, such as 911 and
   enhanced 911, to the extent the local government in an eligible
   carrier's service area has implemented 911 or enhanced 911 systems; and
   toll limitation services to qualifying low-income consumers as provided
   in subpart E of this part.

   (n) Supported services. Voice Telephony services and broadband Internet
   access services are supported services for the Lifeline program.

   (o) National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier. The “National Lifeline
   Eligibility Verifier” or “National Verifier” is an electronic and
   manual system with associated functions, processes, policies and
   procedures, to facilitate the determination of consumer eligibility for
   the Lifeline program, as directed by the Commission.

   (p) Enrollment representatives. An employee, agent, contractor, or
   subcontractor, acting on behalf of an eligible telecommunications
   carrier or third-party entity, who directly or indirectly provides
   information to the Universal Service Administrative Company or a state
   entity administering the Lifeline Program for the purpose of
   eligibility verification, enrollment, recertification, subscriber
   personal information updates, benefit transfers, or de-enrollment.

   [ 77 FR 12966 , Mar. 2, 2012, as amended at  80 FR 40935 , July 14, 2015;
    81 FR 33089 , May 24, 2016;  84 FR 71327 , Dec. 27, 2019]

   


Goto Section: 54.321 | 54.401

Goto Year: 2020 | 2022
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