The FCC recently announced that respondents to the Commission’s “urban rate survey” must complete survey responses no later than Jan. 17, 2014. The urban rate survey is an FCC initiative to collect information of fixed voice and broadband service rates offered to consumers in urban areas in order to set benchmark rates under certain Universal Service Fund programs.

Only selected providers are required to respond to the urban rate survey. If you recently received notice from the FCC to respond to this survey, please see our summary below.

What is the urban rate survey?

  • The 2011 USF/ICC Transformation Order directed the Wireline Competition Bureau to conduct a survey of fixed voice and broadband service rates offered to consumers in urban areas.
  • Data collected from the survey will be used to set Universal Service Fund rates for local voice and broadband services provided by eligible telecommunications carriers that provide such services under the high-cost support program.
  • The purpose of the survey is to ensure that universal service support recipients offering fixed voice or fixed broadband service do so at reasonably comparable rates to those provided by existing service providers in urban areas.

What data is collected, and from whom?

  • Providers of urban residential fixed voice or broadband services were randomly selected to respond to the survey.
  • The FCC will be collecting the rates offered by providers of fixed services identified using the most recent FCC Form 477 data in 500 randomly selected urban census tracts.
  • Respondents must provide rates for either fixed voice or fixed broadband in one or more census tracts identified by the FCC in the survey. (Note, those providers that offer both fixed voice and fixed broadband may be required to provide rate information for both services, if so requested by the FCC.)
  • The survey will be provided to recipients in the form of an online reporting form which will be accessible only to the selected providers.

When are responses due?

  • Notifications that a provider is required to complete a survey will be sent via email to each provider’s FCC Form 477 contact person and certifying official on or around Dec. 16, 2013. Some providers have already received such notices.
  • Responses to the survey are due Jan. 17, 2014.
  • Instructions and additional information regarding survey responses are available at the FCC’s website:
  • Responses to the survey are mandatory, and the Commission has stated that failure to respond to the survey or otherwise comply with these requirements may lead to enforcement actions.