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08/12/2014 Contact: 850-413-6482

PSC Certifies Federal Support Eligibility for Rural Telecommunications Access

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today certified 11 Florida telecommunications carriers to continue receiving federal “high-cost” funds in 2015.  High-cost support ensures that customers in hard-to-serve, rural areas have access to affordable telecommunications services.

“Reliable, affordable telecommunications access, especially in rural areas, is essential,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham.  “Through our review and certification, we ensure that qualifying companies use their resources appropriately to help rural-area customers stay connected at comparable rates.”  

Based on prior federal support received by Florida carriers, the PSC estimates next year’s high-cost funding to be between $60 and $65 million. To qualify for funding, Florida carriers must comply with the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 and receive annual Florida PSC certification. State certifications are required by October 1 to receive total 2015 funding.

In today’s certification letter to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and the Federal Communications Commission, the PSC affirms that all federal high-cost support to eligible Florida carriers will be used “only for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which the support is intended.” 

Administered by USAC, high-cost funds are generated through assessments on telecommunications carriers’ interstate and international revenues. Carriers may elect to recover this cost in a federal universal service charge on customer bills.

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