Complying with the USAC’s requirements can be stressful. However, being non-compliant during the pre-testing phase isn’t the end of the world. In fact - it’s part of the process in most providers' deployment journeys.
As we jump into the fourth quarter of ACAM-I pretesting and prepare for the upcoming 2022 official testing, it’s important that providers determine what tactics they used to be successful this past year.
Why Tests Fail
We’ve seen quite a few service providers have noncompliant High Cost Universal Broadband (HUBB) locations in the first quarter of pretesting.
For most cases the root cause of failed tests is hiding in plain sight and easily diagnosable.
For example, let’s say that all HUBB Locations in Town X consistently fail download tests. It begs the question; “what is different about Town X that can be causing these failures?”. Usually there is a variation such as older hardware, connectivity issues, or network errors in that area that we can pinpoint.
Being non-compliant during official testing could mean a withholding of funds, or audits.
Tips and Tricks to Success
We’ve seen a few different ways that providers can ensure that they get the best results testing their HUBB Locations. These are a few of what we think are the most important ones;
- Start pre-testing as early as possible. Some providers may encounter issues that might delay their pretesting. It's important to give yourself the time to diagnose issues in your network and be comfortable with submitting results before official testing begins. Along with that, the FCC could still withhold funding for not submitting pre testing results.
- Make sure that you’re using optimal upstream routes. Using non-optimal servers may cause a decrease in download speed and higher latency. Finding these routes allowed the provider to fine tune their network to consistently improve the speeds delivered to their service areas.
- Use your data to its full potential. Being able to uncover peculiarities in your network through key analytics will help your broadband service beyond just being compliant with FCC regulations. Use this opportunity to dig deeper into your data to improve your network performance.
- Schedule tests to not miss deadlines. Having a predetermined test schedule to comply with USAC regulations allows providers to ensure testing is done on time and results are ready for submission by the end of each quarter.
- Lastly, make sure your data is accurate, and formatted correctly within USAC requirements. While ATS automatically formats our test data for reporting, it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked for providers using other measures for testing.
Starting pretesting early allows you to iron out the kinks before the pre testing phase ends, and in turn, helps bring dependable broadband access to entire rural communities.
ATS has been providing performance testing solutions for broadband providers since 2019, using our 25 years of telecommunications experience to consult with, test, and find solutions to ensure their success with FCC performance testing.
We’ve enjoyed working with small and large rural broadband providers, and are looking forward to helping more with upcoming high-cost programs.