WASHINGTON, November 6, 2009 - The National Cable and Telecommunications Association has asked the Federal Communications Commission to redirect up to $2 billion in "wasteful" spending from Universal Service programs towards broadband. The association did so in a filing submitted to the Commission on Thursday.
With telephone subscriber contributions to the program now exceeding 12 percent of total usage fees -- and projected to pass 14 percent next year, it is "critically important" for the FCC to update the program, NCTA said in a press release.
"The USF program operates as if nothing has changed since 1996," the association said in its filing. Americans continuous switch away from traditional copper-based phone service negates the need to subsidize it, and funds should be redirected towards the broadband infrastructure carrying Voice over IP traffic which Americans are increasingly choosing. "[A]s millions of Americans take service from facilities-based wireline competitors, the Commission continues to provide billions of dollars of support for [traditional] service."
The NCTA suggests the FCC use a two-step process to reassess the level of USF support needed by measuring the availability of cable-based telephone service -- and reducing USF support where it can be shown that competitive service is available from those providers. Subsidies should only be given in the face of a compelling, demonstrated need that "specific costs" associated with serving areas cannot be recovered from subscription fees alone, the filing suggests.
"The burden should be on the ILEC to demonstrate that the total cost of serving areas where it is the sole provider is greater than the total revenues it can potentially generate from services sold to customers," the NCTA petition said.
A step further would be to expand USF subsidies to cover broadband services -- an idea NCTA said "could address a major concern of policymakers." While NCTA admitted expanding USF to cover all broadband services, a limited and measured program could help provide all Americans with access to broadband capabilities.
The FCC currently has proposals pending before it that would expand the USF "Life Line" and "Link Up" programs to include broadband service. The pilot proposals were endorsed by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners at its Winter 2009 meeting in Chicago, from November 16 - 18.
- Online Speech Has Harmful Effects on Both Individuals and Society, According to Mary Anne Franks
- Pandemic Has Created an Environment for Consumer Fraud, Say Congressional Leaders
- Breakfast Media Minute: July 10, 2020
- Metrics and Automation Can Improve Federal Cybersecurity Measures
- Federal Communications Commission Must Reconsider Ligado Offer, Says Former Commissioner
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Fiber1 month ago
Fiber Networks Hold a Cybersecurity Advantage Over Rival Co-Axial and Wireless Technologies, Say Panelists
Artificial Intelligence3 weeks ago
Brookings Panelists Emphasize Importance of Addressing Biases in Artificial Intelligence Technology
Artificial Intelligence1 week ago
U.S. State Department Employing Artificial Intelligence Against COVID-19 Misinformation
Congress1 month ago
Partisan Disagreement Delays Broadband Funding That Might Come Through HEROES Act
Broadband Roundup2 weeks ago
Artificial Intelligence Task Force, State Cybersecurity, ADTRAN Offers Rural Funding Guidance
#broadbandlive3 weeks ago
Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 – Federal Broadband Funds and Opportunity Zones
Expert Opinion1 month ago
Gary Bolton: Under the Stress of COVID-19, the Networks That Held Fast Were Symmetrical Fiber Broadband
Education2 weeks ago
A Mix of Resources and Technologies Are Needed to Close the Homework Gap