[author: Tanea Foglia]
Four days after ETCs were required to submit FCC Form 481 (54.313 / 54.422 Data Collection Form); the FCC released an order streamlining the process for high-cost USF recipients by eliminating reporting requirements it deemed “duplicative” or “simply no longer necessary.” The new rules, which will take effect once OMB has published its approval in the Federal Register, will eliminate the following reporting requirements for those ETCs that receive high-cost USF support: network outages, unfulfilled service requests, complaints, voice and broadband pricing, and the service quality certification. Previously, the FCC removed the five year plan requirement.
Further, upon completion of an online portal, a high-cost recipient will only be required to submit its Form 481 through the portal rather than the current practice of submitting the 481 to USAC, the FCC, state commissions, and tribal authorities. This change may take effect as early as next July.
The order does not change the reporting requirements for Lifeline ETCs. Lifeline-only ETCs who were designated by the FCC continue to be required to report outages, complaints, and provide a service quality certification on 481 annually and continue to submit such reports to USAC, the FCC, state commissions, and tribal authorities.