The window opens today, March 19, 2018, at Noon EDT for applicants interested in participating in the FCC’s Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II Auction (Auction 903) to submit their short form applications (FCC Form 183). This is the first-ever reverse auction for high-cost universal service support for fixed broadband deployment. The application window stays open until Friday, March 30 at 6 p.m. EDT. All applications must be submitted and certified by the deadline. The FCC then will review the short form applications to select qualified auction bidders. Auction 903 is scheduled to commence on July 24, and is expected to last for multiple rounds.
The short form application collects details about potential bidders, including ownership information, financial metrics, and the state(s) where the applicant wishes to bid for support, among other items. To prepare the short form and ensure timely completion, applicants should review the FCC’s checklist of information needed, application tutorial, and application instruction guide. JSI is prepared to assist clients with all aspects of completing the application, including the financial metrics and operational questions. The short form must be completed online, via the FCC’s auction system. Applicants are strongly encouraged to start working on the form at the beginning of the window, in case changes need to be made along the way.
JSI reminds clients participating in Auction 903 that the “prohibited communications” period begins as soon as the short form application window closes at 6 p.m. on March 30. After that time, JSI cannot communicate with clients participating in the auction about bids and bidding strategies. However, JSI can communicate about bids and bidding strategies prior to the short form deadline as long as clients are not bidding for the same areas, and encourages clients participating in the auction to raise any final questions about eligible areas of interest and other bidding-related issues before 6 p.m. next Friday.
Once the prohibited communications rule is in effect, JSI can answer technical and procedural questions about the auction, but must take extreme caution not to specifically or inadvertently discuss bids and bidding strategies. Instances of prohibited communication must be reported to the FCC, and could impact an auction participant’s eligibility.