ERTA Position Statements
Universal Service Fund Audits
The Eastern Rural Telecom Association (“ERTA”) is a membership organization made up of local exchange companies (“LECs”) and support companies that provide telecommunications services to rural customers in the Eastern half of America. Besides providing local, long distance, and broadband Internet services, some ERTA members also provide wireless and cable television services.
ERTA understands the importance of Universal Service Fund (“USF”) audits to ensure compliance with applicable rules. ERTA supports full accountability for companies that receive and use USF funding.
ERTA members have undergone USF audits without findings of wrongdoing or neglect.
ERTA members are generally small, rural companies that are thinly staffed and where staff has multiple duties and functions.
USF Audits are generally handled by inexperienced auditors. ERTA believes that USF audits can be performed in a more cost effective manner with auditors that understand the USF programs, the telecommunications industry, and FCC Part 32 accounting rules that they are auditing. ERTA believes that audit firms should handle USF audits consistently across the country.
ERTA does not believe that it is effective for an audit to be performed that costs more than the company receives in annual USF funds.
ERTA urges the Federal Communications Commission to allow enough time between audit cycles to implement process improvements.