The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that was created in 1997 to administer universal service support mechanisms, or programs, and the federal universal service fund (USF). USAC administers the USF under the oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Universal service is the United States government’s policy of ensuring access to a baseline level of telecommunications service throughout the United States. To help make telecommunications affordable for all Americans and fulfill the goals of universal service, USAC collects money from telecommunications carriers making FCC-mandated universal service contributions and distributes it to companies serving eligible beneficiaries. Eligible beneficiaries include low-income consumers, people living in hard-to-serve areas, rural health care providers, schools, and libraries.
Providing universal service furthers the public interest of keeping all Americans connected. Contributors, beneficiaries, USAC, and the federal government share the task of ensuring that universal service money is handled properly from start to finish. Through program administration, auditing, and outreach, USAC works with and for contributors, service providers, and program beneficiaries to make sure that accurate payments go to the right people for the proper uses.
USAC also works to ensure that the process for program participants is streamlined and easy to use. As USAC serves these stakeholders, under the oversight of the FCC, on whose behalf USAC administers the universal service support programs.
The contributor group includes telecommunications carriers and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) companies providing service internationally and between states that make universal service contributions.
The service provider group includes telecommunications providers, Internet access providers, providers of internal connections, or other eligible services that participate in a universal service program.
The four universal service programs are designed to make telecommunications accessible and affordable for particular groups.
USAC and its dedicated professional staff are intimately familiar with all administrative aspects of federal universal service program activities. USAC operations include collecting and disbursing funds, ensuring fund integrity, overseeing program accountability, and communicating with stakeholders. As the administrator, USAC operates with a strong commitment to protecting the integrity of the fund.