Universal service is the policy of providing access to a baseline level of telecommunications services for all consumers of the United States. All common carriers, as defined by the FCC, are welcome to participate in the universal service programs, provided they meet certain eligibility requirements and provide approved services.
USAC's responsibility is to administer the universal service fund (USF), which is money collected from telecommunications companies and dedicated to promoting availability of telecommunications services at just, reasonable rates. USAC allocates money from the USF to fund the four universal service programs - High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries. Entities eligible for support from these four programs submit information to USAC for processing and evaluation, leading to disbursement of USF support to those who are approved for funding.
Whether you are a telecommunications provider, Internet access provider, or provider of internal connections or other eligible services, to get started, check out the online resources we have made available to you.
For more information, you may find our Glossary of Terms helpful to explain some of the acronyms that we use on a regular basis. Depending on the universal programs you chose to participate in, you may find helpful the Schools and Libraries Process Chart for Service Providers, or the Rural Heath Care Process Chart for Service Providers. Lastly, we have developed a Service Provider FAQ page to provide answers to some commonly asked questions.