Q. Can providers be designated as ET​​Cs only for the purpose of receiving low-income support? 

Providers Seeking Designation Only for Low-Income: A provider may seek ETC designation only for the purpose of receiving reimbursement for low income programs, such as lifeline. If the provider chooses to do so, their application must contain a clear statement that the provider is requesting ETC designation only for the purpose of receiving low-income program support, and will not seek high-cost support. A provider may request low-income ETC designation under state rules or under the federal-only provision (see below) if applicable.


Q. Can providers apply for ETC designation contingent on winning a federal support auction (such as RDOF)? 

Providers Seeking Designation Contingent on receiving federal funding via auction of similar process: A provider may seek ETC designation contingent on receiving funding from a federal auction such as RDOF. The application must be filed normally and meet all requirements, including the requirements for high cost ETCs. The provider should clearly state that the ETC designation will be contingent on the receipt of the funding in question. If granted, the provider should notify the Commission of whether or not they were offered the funding funding. If the provider received funding, the provider should specify the date on the ETC designation should become active. The provider will become an ETC on that date. If the provider does not receive funding in Wisconsin, the provider should tell the Commission whether it would prefer to have the ETC designation go into effect anyway, withdraw the request, or have the designation held in abeyance until the next round of such funding. 


Q. What types of providers can opt for “federal-only” ETC designation?

Wisconsin Stats. §​ 196.218(4)(b)​ allows commercial mobile radio service providers to request designation as a "federal-only" ETC. Federal-only ETCs may not seek reimbursement from the Wisconsin universal service fund, but are eligible for federal universal service funds. If the provider seeks designation under this provision, the application must contain the following: 

  • A clear statement that the provider is requesting designation under s. 196.218(4)(b) 

  • An affidavit that the provider is a commercial mobile radio service provider. 

  • A statement that the provider will not request reimbursement from the Wisconsin Universal Service Fund. 

​Federal-only ETCs must follow federal ETC requirements. Requirements applied by state universal service rules do not apply, unless also applied by federal rules or regulations. A wireless carrier may apply as a federal-only ETC as either a low-income ETC or as a full (e.g. high cost) ETC. Wireless providers have the option of seeking designation as either a federal-only or more traditional ETC. At present, most of the wireless providers designated as ETCs in Wisconsin are designated under state rules, while only a couple are designated as federal-only ETCs. 

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