NOTICE REGARDING AMENDMENT OF THE ARIZONA UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND
RULES AND INCREASE IN SURCHARGE
DOCKET NO. RT-00000H-97-0137
On January 13, 2017, the Arizona Corporation Commission ("Commission") issued Decision No. 75919 to begin the process of amending the Arizona Universal Service Fund ("AUSF"). The Commission, along with the Arizona Department of Education, are partnering to take advantage of a recent and limited program under the Federal Communications Commission's ("FCC") E-rate program for schools and libraries. Under the new program, with the proposed modifications to the AUSF, Arizona will be able to obtain federal matching funds allowing the state to bridge the broadband "connectivity gap" for the remaining rural schools and libraries in the state. In 2015, 37 percent of Arizona school districts lacked internet capabilities consistent with the FCC's standard of 100 kilobits per second (0.1 Mbps) per student. Over 63 percent of these districts were located in rural Arizona.
Under the FCC's E-rate Modernization Orders, states will be able to obtain on a limited basis additional benefits from the federal universal service E-rate program for schools and libraries if state matching funds for special construction broadband projects are provided. This program is of limited duration and expedited action would have to be taken by the Commission in order for schools and libraries in rural Arizona to start obtaining the benefits of this new program.
It is anticipated that this new program under the AUSF will provide a one-time distribution to qualifying schools and libraries of approximately $8 million in the aggregate. Currently, Arizona customers contribute to the AUSF through a monthly surcharge applied to telephone bills received from the customers' service provider. The adoption of this new program will likely increase the AUSF surcharge. If you have any questions concerning how the Rulemaking may affect your bill or have other questions about the rulemaking, you may contact your service provider at: American Messaging Services, LLC, 1720 Lakepointe Drive, Suite 100, Lewisville, TX 75057, 214-222-6385, firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call the Commission's Consumer Services Section during regular business hours at 602-542-4251 or 1-800-222-7000.
Copies of the information in this docket are available from the Commission's Docket Control Center at 1200 West Washington Street, Phoenix, Arizona, during regular business hours; and on the Commission's website (www.azcc.gov) using the e-Docket function. The Docket No. is RT-00000H-97-0137.
Written public comments may be submitted at any time by mailing a letter referencing Docket No. RT-00000H-097-0137 to Arizona Corporation Commission, Consumer Services Section, 1200 West Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007, or by submitting comments on the Commission's website (www.azcc.gov) using the "Submit a Public Comment for a Utility" function. You may also provide oral comment when the Commission considers this matter at an upcoming Open Meeting. The Commission's Open Meeting dates, schedules, and agendas can be accessed on its website. If you require assistance, you may contact the Consumer Services Section during regular business hours at the numbers listed above.