Washington

ACA Wants FCC to Clarify CAF Support Modeling

Finds White House, Capitol in census blocks eligible for broadband support 8/20/2013 10:45:37 AM Eastern

The American Cable Association has sent a
letter to the FCC asking for clarification on why census blocks containing the
White House, Capitol, and National Mall would show up under the FCC's Connect
America Fund's (CAF) model as unserved areas eligible for government broadband
subsidies. ACA says that might be OK, but wants to make sure the FCC didn't
mistakenly include those and other census blocks among the ranks of the
subsidy-eligible.

"ACA would not
have expected census blocks within this census block group to be eligible for
funding under a CAF program dedicated to supporting broadband deployment in
rural or high-cost areas," the group said. ACA represents small and
midsized cable operators concerned about the government subsidizing competition
to existing service.

ACA, which has been
working with the FCC as it provides cost modeling for the Universal Service
Fund subsidies it is migrating from phone to broadband support.

"ACA has been
examining results produced by the current version of the CACM, including the
model's unexpected provision of support in certain areas within major urban
markets," ACA said. "Because these results seem to run counter to the
objectives of the CAF, ACA asks the [Wirelines Competition] Bureau to analyze
them to determine whether support is warranted, and if it is not warranted, the
Bureau should use its authority to address this issue."

ACA concedes there
may be good reason why those and other urban census blocks qualify for support,
but also says that some of the FCC's Connect America Cost Model data is not
accessible, so that ACA could not determine that.

ACA says its
analysis of the cost modeling data the FCC made public June 25, over $33 million in support is
allocated to the 10 most populous census blocks. Those include blocks
containing Logan National Airport in Boston, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and Arlington Cemetery outside of Washington.

Again, it says that
may be okay, since those blocks may include portions that "are not densely
populated, currently served, or easily accessible." But ACA wants to make
sure that is the case. "Because of these unexpected results, ACA asks that
the Bureau determine whether the areas identified by ACA, as well as similarly
situated areas, are receiving support in error," ACA said.

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