High-Rate Assistance Credit Program

Pursuant to Wis. Admin. Code § PSC 160.09, all Eligible Telecommunication Carriers (ETCs) shall provide high-rate assistance (HRAC) credits to residential customers when the price of service exceeds specified thresholds. The credits cover progressively higher amounts of customer bills as charges exceed one percent of median household income. As prices increase, the HRAC credit increases as well.

HRAC credits are calculated based on the amount charged to customers for voice service. If providers offer voice service on a stand-alone basis, the credit is based on that rate, plus certain mandatory surcharges and fees, together with the median income for the area. If a provider offers voice service only as part of a package, the credit is based on just the voice portion of that package. The HRAC credits are calculated based on the cost of voice service, not to other parts of package offerings, nor to equipment such as smartphones, computers, set-top boxes or routers. These calculations are defined in Wis. Admin. Code § PSC 160.09. They are further explained in the sample spreadsheet and instructions, below.

Providers are reimbursed for any HRAC credits issued by the Wisconsin Universal Service Fund (USF).

ETCs shall recalculate HRAC Credits each time basic local residential or other rates included in the credit calculation are changed or when directed by the Commission.

To determine if customers are eligible for the high-rate assistance credit, ETCs (or interested individuals) should take the following steps:

  1. Download the Microsoft Excel file below. You may also obtain a copy of the spreadsheet and instructions by emailing a request to peter.jahn@wisconsin.gov.
  2. Complete the spreadsheet, using the instructions below.
  3. If customers are eligible for high rate assistance credits, please send a copy of the spreadsheet to peter.jahn@wisconsin.gov. Once the spreadsheet is received, you will receive information on how to file for reimbursement from the USF.
  4. Recalculate such credits each time basic local residential or other rates included in the credit calculation are changed. If the change in the credit would be small enough to be insignificant, please contact Commission staff. Staff may approve deferring the change if the customer impact would be insignificant, compared to the cost of implementing the change.

Questions about this program should be directed to Peter Jahn at (608) 267-2338 or peter.jahn@wisconsin.gov.

High-Rate Assistance Credit Program Guidelines and Forms

HRAC Calculation Excel File hrac calculation file.xlsx
Instructions for Completing HRAC Calculation Excel File Instructions HRAC Calculation Excel File.docx