Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. ALL-T-10-01, Order No. 32590; Case No. SYR-T-08-01, Order No. 32591

July 13, 2012

Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712


Wireless companies granted conditional ETC status for FCC auction


The Idaho Public Utilities Commission granted two more cellular companies conditional eligible telecommunication carrier (ETC) status, allowing them to compete for federal dollars that would assist them in accelerating deployment of cellular and broadband services in unserved areas of the state.


Allied Wireless Communications Corporation and Syringa Wireless LLC were granted the conditional status, which qualifies them to receive federal support to help consumers in rural areas where it costs more to provide a telecommunications network.  


Last November, the Federal Communications Commission created the Connect America Fund, which reforms the Universal Service Fund. The USF was created in 1997 to make telephone service available at reasonable cost in rural areas. The Connect America Fund was created from savings and efficiencies within the Universal Service Fund to provide cellular and high-speed Internet service in rural areas.  Idaho residential customers pay 12 cents per month per residential line and business customers 19 cents per month into the federal fund. There is also a charge of three-tenths of 1 cent per long-distance minute to support the fund.   


Part of the Connect America Fund is the Mobility Fund, which will provide up to $300 million through an FCC auction on Sept. 27 to accelerate deployment of next generation 3G or better cellular and broadband networks in unserved areas of the country.


As a prerequisite for bidding in the FCC auction, Allied and Syringa must have conditional ETC designation in all the census blocks for which it will submit a bid.  


The Idaho commission also granted conditional ETC status to T-Mobile West LLC last month to participate in the same auction. 


A commission staff analysis determined there are about 43,200 Idahoans residing in 39 counties with areas that do not have access to wireless voice and/or broadband service.  The link below is a Federal Communications Commission map showing areas of Idaho that are not served.  Zoom in to Idaho using the plus-icon on the map and then double click on the region for county-by-county statistics: