On December 29, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) announced a 14-day extension of the Rip-and-Replace Reimbursement Program Filing Window under the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. The deadline for submission of the FCC Form 5640: Application Request for Funding Allocation has been pushed back from January 14, 2022, to January 28, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The extension comes in response to a motion filed on December 21, 2021, by the Rural Wireless Association, Inc. (RWA) and NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, which had requested an additional 30 days due to the combined impact of the holidays and the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant on smaller carriers' abilities to complete the FCC Form 5640.
The WCB's 14-day extension intends to split the difference between allowing carriers sufficient time to complete requests yet not unduly delay implementation of the Reimbursement Program and the "removal, replacement and disposal of covered equipment and services that pose a national security risk." The WBC has the authority to grant additional extensions, but its response to RWA's motion indicates the bar for granting such requests will be set fairly high.
Additional information regarding the Rip-and-Replace program can be found here, here, and here. Should you have any questions regarding this extension, or any of our previous Rip-and-Replace discussions, please do not hesitate to contact the authors.