FCC grants $18 billion in A-CAM funding to 388 rural providers

FCC grants $18 billion in A-CAM funding to 388 rural providers

A part of the United States FCC Universal Service Fund (USF) program is the enhanced A-CAM program. The alternative Connect America cost model (A-CAM) program was replaced in July by the enhanced ACAM program, called E-ACAM.

FCC Authorized $18B in A-CAM Broadband Funding to 388 Rural Providers

Over 15 years, the FCC has approved roughly $18.3 billion in financing for 388 companies to provide rural broadband using enhanced A-CAM, or E-ACAM.

Based on a cost model, the original A-CAM program funded small incumbent rural broadband providers to upgrade their service areas’ lines to at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.

The E-ACAM program provides additional funding to reflect the higher minimum deployment speed and increases the target speed to 100/20 Mbps. Additionally, it delays the date by which providers must finish deployments.

It made sense to set a higher speed target for E-ACAM given that the $42.5 billion BEAD rural broadband funding program has a speed target of 100 Mbps and that areas without service at 100/20 Mbps are deemed underserved and may qualify for BEAD funding.

In short, a provider that installed 25/3 Mbps service in compliance with program regulations may have qualified for BEAD funding shortly after the 25/3 Mbps deployment was finished under the original A-CAM program.

All rural rate-of-return providers were offered E-ACAM; this included those who had previously chosen to stay on the traditional USF high-cost program, which covered some of a provider’s costs associated with providing service in high-cost areas based on embedded costs, as well as those who had previously taken part in the A-CAM program.

State-by-state, providers were required to accept or reject the offers.

The $18.3 billion in financing will be used to sustain or enhance the current 100/20 Mbps service to over two million sites across 44 states, as well as to install 100/20 Mbps service to over 700,000 locations, as the FCC stated in a press release regarding the E-ACAM authorizations.

Four years are given to providers who accept E-ACAM to finish their deployments.

The FCC authorization report includes an initial list of required sites to which deployment is necessary. The report contains a comprehensive provider list of who accepted E-ACAM offers, along with the amount of each provider’s offer.

About the author

Nancy Beverly

Nancy Beverly is a prominent political journalist and editor at World-Wire, known for her sharp analysis and deep understanding of global politics. With a Master's degree in Political Science, she excels in breaking down complex political issues, making them relatable to the public. At World-Wire, Nancy crafts compelling political narratives covering everything from local governance to international relations. Recognized for her expertise, she received the 'Excellence in Political Journalism' award in 2021. Nancy's work not only informs but also enriches her readers' understanding of political dynamics.

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