The Federal Universal Service Fund is established by the Federal Communications Commission to promote the availability of quality telecommunications services at just, reasonable and affordable rates for all consumers, including those in low income, rural insular and high cost areas.
Federal Universal Service Fund programs:
- High Cost Program
- Low Income Program (Lifeline and Link Up Support)
- Schools and Libraries Program (E-Rate)
- Rural Health Care Program
The UTC has the legal authority to designate qualified common carriers as Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs) in Washington for the purpose of receiving federal a) high cost support and b) low income support. Currently, all of the wireline incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) in Washington state are designated as ETCs in their entire study areas (which coincides with the incumbents' local exchange area boundaries).
In addition, UTC has also designated the following other types of ETCs for different purposes:
Wireline ETCs eligible for both high-cost support and low-income support:
- CenturyLink Communications LLC (for certain census blocks)
- Charter FiberLink WA - CCVII, LLC (for certain census blocks)
- Columbia Energy, LLC (for certain census blocks)
Fixed-Wireless ETCs eligible for both high-cost support and low-income support:
- Computer 5, Inc. dba LocalTel Communications (for certain census blocks)
- Commnet Wireless, LLC (for certain census blocks)
- Declaration Networks Group (for certain census blocks)
- Newmax, LLC dba Intermax (for certain census blocks)
Satellite ETCs eligible for both high-cost support and low-income support:
- Viasat Carrier Services Inc. (for certain census blocks)
Mobile Wireless ETCs eligible for both high-cost support and low-income support:
- AT&T Mobility (f/k/a Cingular; AT&T Wireless Service, Inc.) - for certain exchanges
- U.S. Cellular Corporation (a/k/a U.S.C.C.) - for certain exchanges
- Inland Cellular (f/k/a Eastern Sub-RSA Limited Partnership) - for certain exchanges
- Inland Cellular (f/k/a Washington RSA No.8 Limited Partnership) - for certain exchanges
Lifeline-Only pre-paid wireless ETCs eligible only for low-income support only:
- Air Voice Wireless, LLC dba "AirTalk Wireless"
- Assurance Wireless USA, L.P. (f/k/a "Virgin Mobile")
- Boomerang Wireless LLC dba "enTouch Wireless"
- Global Connection Inc. of America dba "StandUp Wireless"
- i-wireless, LLC dba "Access Wireless"
- Q Link Wireless LLC dba "Q Link Wireless"
- Sage Telecom Communications, LLC dba "TruConnect"
- Telrite Corporation dba "Life Wireless"
- TracFone Wireless, Inc. dba "SafeLink Wireless"
- YourTel America, Inc. dba "TerraCom"