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NEWS RELEASE


11/14/2013 Contact: 850-413-6482

PSC Certifies 11 Telecommunications Carriers for Federal Support to Serve Rural Areas


TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today determined that 11 telecommunications carriers meet the eligibility requirements to receive federal “high-cost” funds.  High cost support ensures that customers in hard-to-serve, rural areas have access to telecommunications services at rates comparable to those in urban areas.

Based on prior high-cost support received by Florida carriers, next year’s estimated funding is between $55 and $60 million.  The federal Universal Service Fund, which includes high-cost support, helps provide affordable access to telecommunications services for all Americans.  Telecommunications companies may include a universal service charge on their bills to recover their Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-mandated universal service contributions.

“These funds enable telecommunications providers serving Florida’s rural areas to recover some of the costs needed to connect to your home or business,” said PSC Chairman Ronald A. Brisé.  “With the Commission’s review and certification that these companies will appropriately use their allotted funds, we eliminate the potential for program waste, fraud, and abuse.”  
 
The Florida carriers approved today comply with service quality standards and consumer protection rules required by the federal “Telecommunication Act of 1996.”  Florida PSC certification is required for state carriers to receive federal high-cost support.

In a letter to the fund administer and the FCC, the PSC certifies 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.”  State certifications are required by December 16 to receive 2014 funding. 

For additional information, visit http://www.floridapsc.com/.

Follow the PSC on Twitter, @floridapsc.



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