CAF Testing Deadline is Looming - Are you Ready?

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Feb 15, 2019 10:07:47 AM
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The July 1, 2019 deadline to begin CAF performance testing is just around the corner. The summer might feel like it will never be here (especially if you live in the Northeast), but it will be here before you know it. And with it, the requirement to have your testing program up and running according to the standards laid out in the FCC Order. While there have been many petitions for clarification on the order, there has been no indication by the FCC that they plan to delay the order beyond the original July 1, 2019 deadline.

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In case you aren't familiar with the order yet, here are some of the highlights...

  • Recipients of CAF high-cost universal service support must comply, including:
    • CAF Phase II
    • A-CAM
    • Price Cap & Rate-of-Return Carriers
    • Rural Broadband Experiment (RBE) Recipients
    • Alaska Plan Carriers
  • Extensive speed and latency tests at a specified number of subscriber locations
  • Testing from hardware/CPE inside customer’s homes to or through an FCC designated IXP
  • Requirements for number of homes on each speed tier, in each state

More importantly, how are you going to do it?

Carriers have a few options...

1. Participate in the MBA program

2. Use a provider developed testing system to schedule and run tests, as well as analyze results.

  • ATS' Stamper Box Solution has been used by carriers globally for 5+ years to validate internet speed and usage based billing.
  • The hardware is vendor agnostic, works with DSL/Cable/Fiber, and truly 'plug and play'.
  • All required software is on the stamper box so there's no modem upgrades or firmware updates necessary.

3. Use existing network management tools and systems (ex. TR-143 standard) to generate tests from your customer modems to a test server in an FCC designated IXP location.

  • Issues you may run into?
    • How do I manage the scheduling of 372+ tests per day, per customer involved in the testing?
    • What test servers can I use in an approved IXP location?
  • How can ATS help?
    • ATS has a tried and tested cloud based tool that we've used to schedule speed and latency tests for 6+ years with our stamper box solution. Do you have the ability to run tests but need help scheduling them - ATS can help.
    • ATS' national test network is also used for our stamper box solution and has locations in each of the FCC's designation IXP points. Do you have the ability to run tests but don't have the test points - ATS can help.

Note: The FCC initially indicated the possibility of providing test server capacity for carriers, however, it appears they currently have no intention to provide such capacity.

Believe it or not, July 1 will be here soon. If you're not sure how you are going to comply with the order, or just need a little help fine tuning your own solution with IXP test server points, feel free to Contact Us anytime for a free consultation.