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Breaking Down the Advance Universal Service Funds for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

by and

On October 4, the Federal Communications Commission voted to allow eligible telecommunications providers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to receive up to $76.9 million, or seven months worth of subsidies, in advance from the Universal Service Fund’s Connect America Fund (CAF).

This post shows the amount of money eligible companies have received from the relevant funds in the past and how much they are eligible to receive in advance.

Detailed data on spending by the USF is publicly available, but not always easily accessible. To remedy this issue, Sarah Oh has aggregated all available data into one location to make it easier to learn which companies receive subsidies from which funds over time.

The figures below show the flow of subsidies from components of the High Cost and Connect America Funds to eligible companies in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The data show that the $76.9 million amount is seven times the amount given to each firm in August, 2017.

Detailed CAF payment information is available here for Puerto Rico and here for the Virgin Islands. Complete information USF recipients and amounts received, including from eRate is available here for Puerto Rico and here for the Virgin Islands.

We hope that making more detailed data available might aid planning by the companies, the FCC, and any other entities that can help get communications networks back online or rely on those networks once they are online.

More broadly, we hope that making universal service spending more transparent will help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the program. The entire interactive database is available at Fiscly.com.