47 CFR § 54.1016 - Letter of credit.

§ 54.1016 Letter of credit.

(a) Before being authorized to receive 5G Fund support, a winning bidder shall obtain an irrevocable standby letter of credit which shall be acceptable in all respects to the Commission.

(1) Each winning bidder that becomes authorized to receive 5G Fund support shall maintain the standby letter of credit in an amount equal to, at a minimum, one year of support, until the Administrator has verified that the support recipient serves at least 85 percent of the eligible square kilometers for which it is authorized to receive support in a state, and at least 75 percent of the eligible square kilometers in each eligible census tract, by the Year Six Final Service Milestone..

(i) For Year One of a support recipient's support term, it must obtain a letter of credit valued at an amount equal to one year of support.

(ii) For Year Two of a support recipient's support term, it must obtain a letter of credit valued at an amount equal to eighteen months of support.

(iii) For Year Three of a support recipient's support term, it must obtain a letter of credit valued at an amount equal to two years of support.

(iv) For Year Four of a support recipient's support term, and for each year thereafter unless the support recipient is allowed to reduce it pursuant to § 54.1015(b), it must obtain a letter of credit valued at an amount equal to three years of support.

(v) A support recipient may obtain a new letter of credit or renew its existing letter of credit so that it is valued at an amount equal to one year of support once it meets its optional or required service milestones as specified in § 54.1015(b). The recipient may obtain or renew this letter of credit upon verification by the Administrator that it has deployed service that meets the 5G Fund deadlines as specified in § 54.1015(b) and performance requirements as specified in § 54.1015(c). The recipient may maintain its letter of credit at this level for the remainder of its deployment term, so long as the Administrator verifies that the recipient successfully and timely meets its remaining required interim and final service milestones.

(vi) A support recipient that fails to meet its required interim service milestones must obtain a new letter of credit or renew its existing letter of credit valued at an amount equal to its existing letter of credit, plus an additional year of support, up to a maximum of three years of support.

(vii) A support recipient that fails to meet two or more required interim service milestones must maintain a letter of credit valued at an amount equal to three years of support and may be subject to additional noncompliance penalties as set forth in § 54.1020.

(2) The bank issuing the letter of credit shall be acceptable to the Commission. A bank that is acceptable to the Commission is:

(i) Any United States bank:

(A) That is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and

(B) That has a bank safety rating issued by Weiss of B−or better; or

(ii) CoBank, so long as it maintains assets that place it among the 100 largest United States Banks, determined on basis of total assets as of the calendar year immediately preceding the issuance of the letter of credit and it has a long-term unsecured credit rating issued by Standard & Poor's of BBB− or better (or an equivalent rating from another nationally recognized credit rating agency); or

(iii) The National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, so long as it maintains assets that place it among the 100 largest United States Banks, determined on basis of total assets as of the calendar year immediately preceding the issuance of the letter of credit and it has a long-term unsecured credit rating issued by Standard & Poor's of BBB− or better (or an equivalent rating from another nationally recognized credit rating agency); or

(iv) Any non-United States bank:

(A) That is among the 100 largest non-U.S. banks in the world, determined on the basis of total assets as of the end of the calendar year immediately preceding the issuance of the letter of credit (determined on a U.S. dollar equivalent basis as of such date);

(B) Has a branch office

(i) Located in the District of Columbia; or

(ii) Located in New York City, New York, or such other branch office agreed to by the Commission, that will accept a letter of credit presentation from the Administrator via overnight courier, in addition to in-person presentations; and

(C) Has a long-term unsecured credit rating issued by a widely recognized credit rating agency that is equivalent to a BBB− or better rating by Standard & Poor's; and

(D) Issues the letter of credit payable in United States dollars.

(b) Before being authorized to receive 5G Fund support, a winning bidder shall obtain an opinion letter from its outside legal counsel clearly stating, subject only to customary assumptions, limitations, and qualifications, that in a proceeding under Title 11 of the United States Code, 11 U.S.C. 101 et seq. (the “Bankruptcy Code”), that the bankruptcy court would not treat the letter of credit or proceeds of the letter of credit as property of the winning bidder's bankruptcy estate, or the bankruptcy estate of any other winning bidder-related entity requesting issuance of the letter of credit, under section 541 of the Bankruptcy Code.

(c) Authorization to receive 5G Fund support is conditioned upon full and timely performance of all of the performance requirements set forth in § 54.1015(c), and any additional terms and conditions upon which the support was granted.

(1) Failure by a 5G Fund support recipient to meet any of the service milestones set forth in § 54.1015(b) will trigger reporting obligations and the withholding of support as described in § 54.1020. Failure to come into full compliance during the relevant cure period as described in § 54.1020(b)(4)(ii) or § 54.1020(c) will trigger a recovery action by the Administrator set forth in § 54.1020(b)(4)(ii) or § 54.1020(c), as applicable. If the recipient authorized to receive 5G Fund support does not repay the requisite amount of support within six months, the Administrator will be entitled to draw upon the entire amount of the letter of credit and may disqualify the 5G Fund support recipient from the receipt of 5G Fund support or additional universal service support.

(2) The default will be evidenced by a letter issued by the Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, or its respective designees, which letter, describing the performance default and attached to a standby letter of credit draw certificate, shall be sufficient for a draw on the standby letter of credit for the entire amount of the standby letter of credit.

Effective Date Note:
At 85 FR 75822, Nov. 25, 2020, § 54.1016 was revised, however, paragraph (b) has a delayed effective date.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.