Universal Service Administrative Company

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The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is an independent American nonprofit corporation designated as the administrator of the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) by the Federal Communications Commission. USAC is a subsidiary of the National Exchange Carrier Association. The USAC administers USF programs by providing subsidies for high cost telephone companies serving rural areas, low-income consumers, rural health care providers, and schools and libraries.

USAC has more than $26.2 billion in E-Rate funding commitments and $17.9 billion in E-Rate funding disbursements issued to schools and libraries nationwide through the E-Rate program since 1998.[1] USAC collects contributions from telecommunications providers and distributes more than $7.5 billion annually. It is governed by a board of directors representing various stakeholder interests and carries out rules adopted by the FCC. The company has 243 employees.[2]

USAC administers the four programs of the Universal Service Fund:

High Cost Program
The High Cost Program helps ensure that consumers in all regions of the nation have access to and pay rates for telecommunications that are reasonably comparable to those in urban areas. The program fulfills this goal by allowing eligible telecommunications carriers to recover some of their operating costs from the federal Universal Service Fund. In April 2010, the FCC proposed reform to the High Cost Program.[3]
Low Income Program (commonly referred to as Lifeline and Link Up)
The Low Income Program provides discounts that make basic, local telephone service affordable for millions of low-income households. Link Up reduces the one-time cost associated with initiating telephone service and line extension to the consumer's residence. Consumers qualifying for Link Up support are eligible to save 50% on installation fees, up to $30.[4] Lifeline lowers the cost of basic, monthly local telephone service. Eligible consumers can receive up to $10 per month in Lifeline discounts.[5] Additional state support may be available. Additional discounts are available to residents of federally recognized tribal lands.
Schools & Libraries Program (commonly referred to as E-rate)
The Schools & Libraries Program provides affordable telecommunications and Internet access services to connect schools and libraries to the Internet. This support goes to service providers that provide discounts on eligible services to eligible schools, school districts, libraries, and consortia of these entities. The amount of the discount depends on the level of poverty and location of the school or library receiving service. The discount ranges from 20% to 90% of the cost of eligible services.[6]
Rural Health Care Program
The Rural Health Care program provides funding to eligible health care providers for telecommunications services, including broadband, necessary for the provision of health care. The goal of the program is to improve the quality of health care available to patients in rural communities by ensuring that eligible health care providers have access to affordable telecommunications services. Over $417 million has been allocated for the construction of 62 statewide or regional broadband telehealth networks in 42 states and three U.S. territories under the Rural Health Care Pilot Program.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Funds for Learning
  2. ^ Funds for Learning
  3. ^ Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP
  4. ^ Lifeline Across America
  5. ^ Lifeline Across America
  6. ^ Funds for Learning
  7. ^ Iowa Utilities Board

External links[edit]