WTA Discusses CAF-BLS Modernization with FCC

On Nov. 2, representatives from WTA met with staff from the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Economics and Analytics, to discuss the need for continuing and updated CAF-BLS and budget control mechanism (BCM) relief to complete the ongoing extension and upgrade of high-speed broadband networks and services in RLEC service areas.

WTA discussed the results of a survey of its members received CAF-BLS support and explainedd how the results indicate not only that the FCC’s CAF-BLS program has been successful in enabling RLECs to offer high-speed broadband services throughout major portions of their rural service areas but also that continuation and strengthening of the program is necessary to complete the job.

WTA continues to support the alignment as soon as possible of the broadband deployment obligations and deployment timetables of CAF-BLS recipients with those of the Enhanced ACAM Plan that is ultimately adopted by the FCC. Many WTA members have interest in a proposed CAF-BLS program option that would allow a recipient to elect to make a firm and enforceable commitment to deploy 100/20 Mbps facilities to 100 percent of its applicable locations within a specified time period (which would be the same as the Enhanced ACAM 100/20 Mbps build-out period) in return for 5 years of relief from the BCM.