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Media Contact: 
Will Wiquist, (202) 418-0509
For Immediate Release
DataConnex Apparently Violated Competitive Bidding and Rate Rules to 
Unlawfully Secure Support from the Universal Service Fund 
WASHINGTON, January 30, 2018—The Federal Communications Commission today 
proposed an $18,715,405 fine against DataConnex for apparent violations involving the 
Universal Service Fund Rural Health Care Program.  The Florida- and Mississippi-based 
telecommunications services provider is charged with violating the Communications Act, the 
program’s competitive bidding rules, and using forged, false, misleading, and unsubstantiated 
documents to improperly seek funding from the Universal Service Fund (USF).  DataConnex’s 
apparent financial relationship with a consultant hired by rural health care providers to help 
select a service provider undermined the competitive bidding process.  DataConnex also 
apparently provided false and misleading information to unlawfully increase the USF funding 
it received. 
The Rural Health Care Program provides funding to eligible health care providers for 
communications services.  The program seeks to improve the quality of health care available to 
patients in rural communities by ensuring that eligible providers have access to 
telecommunications and broadband services.  The program requires that rural health care 
providers select the most cost-effective method of providing the service through a fair and open 
competitive bidding process.  Under the Telecommunications Program of the Rural Health 
Care Program, service providers receive Universal Service Fund payments that are calculated 
as the difference between the higher rural rate for telecommunications services charged to the 
rural health care provider and the generally lower urban rate for similar services in any city 
with a population of 50,000 or more within that state.
In its investigation, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau found that DataConnex’s relationship with 
a consultant called Healthcare Connect United enabled DataConnex to influence both sides of 
the bidding process for providing telecommunications services to rural health care providers.  
From 2014 through 2016, DataConnex paid more than $220,000 to Harrison & Howard 
Advisors, a company under common ownership with Healthcare Connect United.  Healthcare 
Connect United represented rural health care providers in the program and managed their 
competitive bidding processes.  DataConnex held itself out to rural health care providers as just 
another service provider while Healthcare Connect United professed to be an independent 
representative whose loyalty was to the rural health care providers.  
DataConnex and Healthcare Connect United apparently developed coordinated plans and 
strategies targeting rural health care providers, and undermined the basic fairness required of 
competitive bidding.  DataConnex apparently encouraged rural health care providers to retain 
Healthcare Connect United as their consultant prior to the initiation of the competitive bidding 
process.  In many instances, after Healthcare Connect United was retained to help manage the 
bid process, DataConnex was awarded program contracts by these rural health care providers.  
The evidence further shows that, in connection with at least six rural health care providers 
represented by Healthcare Connect United, DataConnex paid Harrison & Howard Advisors in 
apparent connection with contracts DataConnex was awarded once the rural health care 
providers began paying DataConnex for their telecommunications services.  The Enforcement 
Bureau determined that the rural health care providers were not aware of the financial 
relationship between DataConnex and Harrison & Howard Advisors/Healthcare Connect 
DataConnex also apparently created urban rate letters that were based on forged, false, 
misleading, and unsubstantiated documents to increase its support from the USF.  
Action by the Commission January 30, 2018 by Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture 
(FCC 18-9).  Chairman Pai, Commissioners Clyburn, O’Rielly, Carr and Rosenworcel 
approving.  Chairman Pai, Commissioners Clyburn and Carr issuing separate statements.
Office of Media Relations: (202) 418-0500
ASL Videophone: (844) 432-2275
TTY: (888) 835-5322
Twitter: @FCC
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action.  Release of the full text of a Commission order 
constitutes official action.  See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).