We’re glad you want to learn more about how the A-CAM program works. As you can imagine, being a federal program, there are many complexities and rules that we are required to follow.
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What is A-CAM?
The FCC’s Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) program provides funding to rural carriers to help support broadband development in high-cost areas. There are currently 182 companies, including Arvig, receiving a grand total of $5.283 billion for rural broadband expansion to unserved and underserved areas of the United States.
In January 2017, Arvig elected to accept approximately $21.5 million a year for the next 10 years from the FCC’s A-CAM program and will work to systematically build out services to census blocks that have been identified by the FCC.
What does high-cost mean?
Rural areas are often considered “high cost” because the population isn’t large enough for the carrier to recoup the costs of construction and service delivery. The FCC is offering A-CAM funding as a way to support carriers that serve high-cost areas, thereby ensuring that the residents of these regions have access to reasonably comparable service at rates that are reasonably comparable to urban areas.
What do you mean by census blocks?
According to the FCC, census blocks are the smallest unit of geography defined by the Census Bureau. Census blocks are areas bounded by visible features (i.e. street, road, stream, shoreline, etc.) and nonvisible boundaries (i.e. county line, city limit, property line, etc.). A boundary generally must include at least one addressable feature, usually a street or road.
What census blocks in the Arvig service area are A-CAM eligible?
The census blocks that are eligible for support are only those that currently cannot get at least 10Mbps/1Mbps or better service from Arvig or another carrier using fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP), cable or DSL.
If a carrier reported that it had deployed 10Mbps/1Mbps or better broadband service to 90 percent or more of its eligible locations in a state—based on data that was filed with the FCC and certified as of March 30, 2016—they are not eligible to elect model support.
Why aren't rural cities included in the A-CAM project?
If a rural city is able to receive at least 25Mbps/3Mbps then it is considered “served” by the FCC. Most areas in rural cities can currently obtain that level of broadband speed or better.
How can I see if my area is part of the plan?
The FCC has a map available on its website that provides details on which areas are eligible/ineligible for the A-CAM program. You can click here to see the FCC’s A-CAM Offer Map.
I'm in a rural area, and my location is eligible. When will Arvig bring services to my residence?
As part of the A-CAM funding agreement, Arvig is required to build out services of 25Mbps/3Mbps to more than 33,000 locations that have been identified by the FCC as underserved or unserved. We have strategically developed a 10-year plan to complete these upgrades based on program rules, costs, geography and overall customer impact.
We are in the very early stages of this project with several years of work ahead. Rural parts of Ada and Pelican Rapids, Minn., were our first stops—and looking ahead, for the first four years of the program, we will continue building out services to other rural census blocks near those communities, moving our way into rural parts of East Otter Tail County.
The timeline for each area is dependent on the weather. For example, a wet summer may cause delays, or an early winter may force our construction teams to stop sooner than planned.
It is important to know that while a lot of work is being done, there will still be “high-cost” areas with limited service at the end of this project. We wish we could reach every customer in every area, but unfortunately, the funding doesn’t allow us to accomplish that at this time.
I'm in a rural area, but my location is not eligible. Why?
If your location is not eligible for A-CAM this means your census block has access to at least 10Mbps/1Mbps broadband speeds.
My location is not A-CAM eligible, but I'm still having service issues or would like to increase my speeds. What can I do?
Please contact the Arvig Help Desk. Call 877.290.0560, email email@example.com or chat with us on Arvig.net. We would be happy to walk through any issues and discuss options for service upgrades.
Over the years, we have made major upgrades to our network and continue to invest in our technology. It is possible that your location may be able to receive faster service.
Are A-CAM eligible areas the only areas you're upgrading?
Although A-CAM is a company-wide focus that requires significant resources to ensure we meet the strict requirements of the program, Arvig is committed to providing the best service to all customers throughout our entire service area. We are constantly reviewing our service delivery experience to find opportunities for improvement, and will continue to invest in our network and make upgrades in addition to the A-CAM project.
What is the A-CAM Construction Process?
+ Customer responds to the offer from Arvig and places the order.
+ The order is confirmed/received at Arvig.
+ Arvig technicians will draw a map of the property and white flags will be placed on the property to indicate the proposed route of construction.
+ A locate for public utilities is requested by Arivg. See below: Underground Facilities.
+ The locator will mark public utilities with paint or flags around the proposed white flag route.
+ If you need to call for location of private utilities, you should request it once you see the public utilities are marked. The homeowner does have the option to mark or flag privately buried utility lines, drain tile, etc.
+ Arvig construction will begin.
+ Splicing, by Arvig, will be done as needed.
+ An Arvig technician will complete the installation inside the customer's home.
What is the 2018 Pelican Rapids A-CAM Project?
1900 structures in rural Pelican Rapids are A-CAM eligible for construction to their home. The new construction will provide them with faster internet speeds, managed Wi-Fi, TV and more.
Currently, the Arvig construction crew is installing the mainline and each area will be tied back (spliced) to the mainline. After that customer drops will be constructed and then equipment to use the service (modem and/or router) will be installed for the customer to use the service. The entire process should be complete fall of 2018.
What about underground facilities?
Before we initiate construction, Arvig will notify Gopher State One Call of our intent to dig so the underground facilities are located. This generally takes place one week prior to construction. Your assistance is critical in preventing any unnecessary damages. Gopher One State is not responsible for locating any private underground facilities such as dog fencing, sprinkler systems, private power lines, drain tiles, private gas/sewer lines, etc. If you have any private facilities, please expose and/or clearly mark those prior to the start of construction activity.
What is the color code?
What do the different colors mean? The American Public Works Association (APWA) has developed a color code for marking underground utilities, so it’s easy to immediately identify any utilities in the proposed excavation area. Here’s a key to the utility colors: