Key Partnerships Create FCC Compliance Ecosystem Using Broadband Forum Standards

Lake Saint Louis, Mo., May 4, 2021 – Broadband providers that have been building networks under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) funding programs such as Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM), Connect America Fund (CAF) and Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) must soon submit network performance on those new builds to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the administrative authority for the FCC, per FCC order DA-18-710.

This order specifically endorses the Broadband Forum TR-143 standard to meet their exacting network performance requirements for all service tiers up to and beyond one gigabit per second. The Broadband Forum defined diagnostic standards in TR-143 long before FCC compliance requirements were contemplated. These standards had to be updated once FCC compliance was introduced and are now a viable solution for any FCC program.

“We’re at an exciting time in the industry, with the need for whole-home coverage, blazing fast performance and easy compliance all converging,” says Craig Thomas, Broadband Forum vice president of Strategic Marketing & Business Development. “Broadband Forum, with NISC and leading operator participation, is pleased to share that the latest TR-181 data model satisfies all of these requirements, including testing to the highest performance tiers of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.”

A strong software solution that leverages key partnerships and multiple integration points designed to meet the unique needs of providers has been a game changer for many providers needing to meet multiple standards and testing.

According to David Bonnett, National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) vice president of Product Management, using TR-181 and TR-143 “dramatically reduces the cost of the solution by leveraging devices already deployed in the carriers’ networks, and reduces risks when inventory shortages occur — as recently reported by Bloomberg — by enabling carriers to avoid vendor lock-in.”

NISC, a national software solutions provider to broadband and utility providers, offers its User Services System solution (USS), which features an established and robust compliance ecosystem of more than six customer premises equipment (CPE) vendor-partners and 30 SKUs.

Standards Deliver Carrier Value

“NISC has appreciated the opportunity to work through the pre-testing process with nearly 20 Members, along with the USAC, over the past few months to validate the use of NISC USS to effectively comply with these new speed and latency reporting requirements,” says Ryan Larson, NISC senior strategy and marketing manager. “What is truly valuable for broadband providers is that Broadband Forum standards pave the way to simply use the existing gateway router in the home to report network performance required for any FCC funding program without rolling a truck.”

Reliance Connects is a service provider that delivers a wide range of connectivity services and solutions including broadband Internet, video and voice communications services to residents and businesses in Oregon and Nevada. “CAF testing and reporting is a complex and challenging process,” says Josh Flick, Reliance Connects IT Manager. “Having a fully integrated solution that includes a nationwide test network and being able to leverage equipment that is already deployed in our network has been a great time and cost saver for us.”

Collaboration With Ecosystem Partners

Through a cooperative and collaborative effort, NISC, together with partnering organizations, have satisfied the scheduled speed and latency testing and reporting from 10x1M to 1x1G networks utilizing NISC’s USS solution. This ecosystem provides the foundation for managed WiFi services, fulfilling the exacting requirements of broadband carriers who need to deliver coverage, performance and always-connected subscriber experiences.

ADTRAN

NISC has been a longtime partner of ADTRAN, a leading provider of next-generation multi-gigabit fiber and fiber extension broadband access solutions, that enable voice, data, video and internet communications across any network infrastructure. ADTRAN integrates its access solutions including CPE with the NISC Enterprise for flow-through service configuration and service activation to reduce broadband deployment timelines.

“ADTRAN has a longstanding relationship with NISC. Our history of standards-based networking solutions pairs well with NISC’s Broadband Forum integration standards to manage customer premise equipment,” says Craig Stein, ADTRAN vice president, America’s Sales & Head of Global Business Development. “We are excited about expanding the NISC partnership to further our deployment simplicity as our joint customers look to execute speed and latency network testing.”

Comtrend

Comtrend, a leading designer and manufacturer of broadband communications equipment, recently selected NISC’s USS solution as a best-in-class, premium Auto Configuration Server (ACS) for management of its broad collection of fiber-ready, copper and Ethernet gateway deployments.

“NISC’s unique standards-based turnkey CAF test solution allows for integration with both legacy and next-generation Comtrend devices and was an important driver in our decision to become a USS reseller-partner,” says Kuma Lin, Comtrend vice president of Engineering.

Zyxel

Zyxel Communications, an industry-leading provider of secure broadband networking, internet access and connected home products, collaborated early with NISC on Broadband Forum TR-143 standards-based solution. The partnership ensured that their TR-143 client implementation seamlessly interoperated with the USS-test network to deliver results that met FCC requirements.

“Working with NISC as a partner has been a great experience, and the test results we’ve seen are impressive – including achieving the first joint solution certifying 1Gbps service using these Broadband Forum standards,” says Brian Feng, Zyxel senior vice president of Communications.

The Heart of the Ecosystem

NISC takes an end-to-end approach to FCC compliance by addressing the site reporting requirements of the USAC High Cost Universal Broadband (HUBB) as well as considering the testing and reporting requirements of the Performance Measures Module (PMM). NISC’s USS includes a cloud-based highly scalable test orchestration platform that leverages a nationwide content delivery network (CDN), which guarantees tests are executed through Internet Exchange Points (IXP) per FCC requirements. By taking an end-to-end approach, NISC has simplified the data pipeline through the various enterprise and USAC tools to ensure that carriers meet compliance requirements with maximum efficiency.

“The result is a solution that enables the carrier to report sites from mapping, customer care and billing to the HUBB; receive and upload test sites from PMM; and report test results back to PMM with pre-formatted data sets,” Larson says.

USS-Tested CPE for Compliance Reporting

These CPEs have been tested to provide compatible WiFi management and compliance testing with NISC’s USS solution:

ADTRAN Airsonics Comtrend Linksys TP-Link Zyxel
SR360n 4960R AR-5312u WHW03 EC330 EX5510
SR400ac AR-3519 HC220-G1 E53510
SR501 AR-5381u HC4 EMG6726
SR506n CT-5621T HX20 VMG4927
SR516ac NL-3120 VMG3927
SR555ac VR-3033 EMG3425
SR655ac VR-3060 VMG4825
VR-3071 VMG3925
WR-6891u VMG4325
WR-6895 EMG2926

To learn more about NISC’s USS solution, its FCC compliance solution, the powerful standards from which they were developed or the latest list of compatible hardware, click here for more information or email uss.sales@nisc.coop to request a demonstration.

About NISC

NISC is an information technology organization that develops, implements and supports software and hardware solutions for our Members. We deliver advanced solutions, services and support to 873 independent telecommunications/broadband companies, electric cooperatives and other public power entities. NISC is an industry leader providing information technology solutions including financial, service, operations and marketing as well as many other supporting platforms and business services. With facilities in Mandan, N.D., Lake Saint Louis, Mo., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Shawano, Wis., and Blacksburg, Va., NISC and its subsidiaries employ more than 1,200 professionals between the five locations and remotely throughout the United States.

Additional information about NISC can be found at the newly redesigned www.nisc.coop.

About the Broadband Forum

Broadband Forum is the communications industry’s leading open standards development organization focused on accelerating broadband innovation, standards, and ecosystem development. Our members’ passion – delivering on the promise of broadband by enabling smarter and faster broadband networks and a thriving broadband ecosystem.

Broadband Forum is an open, non-profit industry organization composed of the industry’s leading broadband operators, vendors, thought leaders who are shaping the future of broadband, and observers who closely track our progress. Its work to date has been the foundation for broadband’s global proliferation and innovation. For example, the Forum’s flagship TR-069 CPE WAN Management Protocol has nearly 1 billion installations worldwide.

Broadband Forum’s projects span across 5G, Connected Home, Cloud, and Access. Its working groups collaborate to define best practices for global networks, enable new revenue-generating service and content delivery, establish technology migration strategies, and engineer critical device, service & development management tools in the home and business IP networking infrastructure. We develop multi-service broadband packet networking specifications addressing architecture, device and service management, software data models, interoperability and certification in the broadband market.

Our free technical reports and white papers can be found at www.broadband-forum.org.

For more information about the Broadband Forum, please go to www.broadband-forum.org or follow @Broadband_Forum on Twitter.

For further information please contact Brian Dolby on +44 (0) 7899 914168 or brian.dolby@proactive-pr.com or Josh Wright on +44 (0) 7795 615466 or josh.wright@proactive-pr.com.