In consideration of the recent substantial increase in COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases across the United States, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) finds good cause to waive, on its own motion, certain network performance pre-testing requirements for recipients of Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II model-based support. Specifically, the Bureau will permit carriers to test less than the required number of subscriber locations during the pre-test period if testing would require installation of new equipment inside subscribers’ premises. The Bureau finds that this limited waiver would serve the public interest because it would allow carriers to complete pre-testing on schedule while minimizing unnecessary person-to-person contact and diversion of resources that are more appropriately spent on critical network maintenance at this time.

During the pre-test period, carriers using either a randomized or self-selected sample of subscribers will only be required to conduct testing based on the number of subscribers in each area (up to the required sample size) that already have the necessary equipment installed as of the date of this Order. Reducing the sample size requirement will allow carriers to focus their resources on the most pressing needs during this national emergency and avoid unnecessary in-person contact between technicians and subscribers.

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