On October 19, 2015, The Federal Communications (FCC) Commission released a public notice entitled, All Universal Service High-Cost Support Recipients Are Reminded That Support Must Be Used for Its Intended Purpose. The notice outlines critical policies governing the use of support funds and what recipients of the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) high-cost mechanisms are obligated to do with the support they receive.
The notice includes an emphasis that costs relating to corporate operations must fall within the requirement that “support be used for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which the support is intended.” USF support is “designed to ensure that consumers in rural, high-cost areas have access to modern communications networks capable of providing voice and broadband services, both fixed and mobile, at rates that are reasonably comparable to those in urban areas.”
The FCC specifically points out in the public notice the following items which are not necessary “to the provision of supported services and therefore may not be recovered through universal service support:” These items include personal travel, entertainment, alcohol, political contributions, charitable donations, scholarships, and many other items which are detailed in the notice.
In addition, the FCC warns that violators of the statutory requirements may be subject to the recovery of funding, suspension of funding, enforcement action by the Enforcement Bureau pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934 or FCC rules, and/or prosecution under the False Claims Act.
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