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Rockefeller to Focus on Fraud, Cybersecurity

WASHINGTON, January 24, 2011 – The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), released his legislative agenda for the upcoming year on Friday. The senator plans to prioritize three broad areas: economic security and growth, proactive homeland security and consumer protection. “In the new Congress,” said Rockefeller… Keep Reading

Congressional Action on Telecommunications Act in Question at Broadband Breakfast Club

WASHINGTON, January 20, 2011 - After 15 years of explosive growth and innovation in telecommunications since the last major revision, the 112th Congress is faced with the question of whether the law is keeping up with technology. On Tuesday, our panelists discussed whether Congress should consider another overhaul of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and whether it is politically viable to do so at 2011's first Broadband Breakfast Club. Keep Reading

E-Rate Report: Speed Problems Linger

WASHINGTON – A widely supported program intended to subsidize internet access for schools and libraries continues to fall short of its goals, according to a recent report from the Federal Communications Commission. The E-Rate program offers subsidies for schools and libraries to obtain broadband connectivity, but due to administrative hurdles most recipients respondenting to an… Keep Reading

Universal Service

Fifth Circuit Rules USF Contributions Income

TEXAS – Companies receiving state and federal Universal Service Funds (USF) must pay federal income tax on those funds, according to a judgment from the Fifth Circuit earlier this month. The appellate court upheld a summary dismissal from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas against AT&T on a claim for the… Keep Reading

USF Mobility Fund: Good Idea, Bad Choices

WASHINGTON, November 8, 2010 - A key policy goal of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s is the reform of the Universal Service Fund, which is a program designed to help bring communications service throughout nation. The recent National Broadband Plan proposed the creation of a mobile broadband fund to help achieve universal service by providing access to users in the most remote areas of the nation. In early October, the FCC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking which would launch this new fund. Keep Reading

Broadband Breakfast Club Considers Broadband Stimulus Efforts and Begins Evaluating its Impact

WASHINGTON, October 22, 2010 - Now that all of the broadband stimulus funding has been distributed, its effectiveness can now be evaluated. That was the message at the Broadband Breakfast Club on Tuesday, October 19. Video of the event was released on Friday. While the long term value of the stimulus is still unknown, panelists were able to gauge the way in which the funds were distributed. Keep Reading

What Worked in Broadband Stimulus, and Why Washington Should Pay Attention (Updated!)

When Washington thinks about the "broadband stimulus," what should it remember? The federal government spent nearly $7 billion on new, broadband-related activities, that in many respects were completely unlike traditional federal telecommunications spending on telephone service. Tomorrow's Broadband Breakfast Club, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, October 19, at Clyde's of Gallery Place in Washington, will be one of the first post-stimulus forums to convene the major players and consider these "big-picture" questions. Registration for the event is available at http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com, and (for those outside of Washington) a free video of the event will be made available here later in the week. Keep Reading

Mignon Clyburn Expects FCC Universal Service Fund Proposals by Year-End

ARLINGTON, Va., October 2, 2010 – Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn emphasized the need for quality research in policy making, particularly with regard to reforming the universal service fund for telephone and internet connectivity. Speaking at the Friday evening dinner session at the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference, a top telecom research conference here, Clyburn also said that she expected the FCC to propose changes to the USF system, and to propose funding for universal broadband, by the end of 2010. Keep Reading

FCC Lays Out Plans to Overhaul Universal Service Fund

WASHINGTON, September 7, 2010 - The Federal Communications Commission late last week laid out part of its plan to reform the universal service fund, including pushing Sprint and Nextel to live up to their commitments to surrender their high-cost universal support over five years. Keep Reading

Google and Verizon Announce Joint Net Neutrality Policies

WASHINGTON, August 9, 2010- Google and Verizon have announced a joint statement of principles on network neutrality and hosted a conference call Monday to outline their effort to the press. Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg announced that this new policy calls for an open and transparent wireline internet with special conditions given to the “burgeoning wireless market.” Keep Reading

Rockefeller Attacks FCC, Calls for Change

WASHINGTON, August 4, 2010 –Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) attributed the aftermath of the Big Branch Explosion in West Virginia to “a troubling lack of communications facilities in our rural communities.” The cause of this void, Rockefeller argued, was the Federal Communications Commission’s model for reaching universal service. Keep Reading

FCC/Universal Service

Genachowski Calls Universal Service Fund ‘Broken’ in Speech to OPASTCO

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2010 –Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, speaking to the annual Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO) convention in Seattle yesterday, told his audience that he agreed with bipartisan critics of the Universal Fund as being “broken.” “As the math of the overall Universal Service Fund gets worse each year, the importance of broadband to rural America gets greater,” Genachowski said. “There is a clear need to reform USF – not to end it, but to reorient USF to directly support broadband all over America. “ Keep Reading

UK to Push Universal Service Goal Back 3 Years

WASHINGTON July 15, 2010 - With a tightening budget the United Kingdom government has decided to push back their universal service deadline by 3 years. Last year the nation had committed to bringing 2 Megabits per second to all citizens by 2012 but will now push the deadline to 2015. Tory Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt claimed that the plan which was developed by the Labour party was impractical giving budget constraints. Keep Reading

American Cable Association Supports Creation of Connect America Fund

WASHINGTON July 15, 2010 – The American Cable Association has publicly endorsed the Federal Communications Commission’s plan for the creation of the Connect America Fund. "Like the FCC, ACA is convinced that the time has come for the USF to focus on the infrastructure technology of the future: Broadband," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. The National Broadband Plan calls for the creation of the Connect America Fund, and proceedings for the repurposing of the High Cost Fund began in March. Keep Reading

FCC/Universal Service

FCC Uncovers New Funding For Universal Service Program

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2010 – Last week, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) released a budget projecting that $900 million in unused administrative costs would be extended to schools and libraries, pursuant to the FCC’s Universal Service Program. The unused funding comes from FCC budget surpluses in the years 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. The FCC will extend the funds irrespective of the annual cap, pursuant to Section 54.507(a)(2) of the Commission’s rules, which states states, in part, that “all funds that are collected and that are unused from prior years shall be available for use in the next full funding year of the schools and libraries mechanism in accordance with the public interest and notwithstanding the annual cap.” Keep Reading

Finland Declares Broadband Access a Right

WASHINGTON July 1, 2010- In an amendment to the Communications Market Act broadband access was added as a right for all citizens and business. The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) will ensure that all citizens have access to broadband connection with a minimum down speed of 1Mbps. This service will be provided via universal service requirements. Keep Reading

FCC/Universal Service

Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee Reviewed Universal Service Reform

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2010 – Universal Service reform is one of the key components of the National Broadband Plan and a principal which many in the telecommunications industry believe needs to happen before the current system collapses. On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation held hearings to determine the state of the Universal Service Fund and to hear testimony to determine what should be done to reform it. While the hearing was titled “Universal Service: Transforming the High-Cost Fund for the Broadband Era” many of the Republican Senators spent a majority of their questions on reclassification not on universal service. Keep Reading

Genachowski Extols Broadband at International Telecommunications Union

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2010 - Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski spoke about the United States’ broadband development and challenges regarding education at the World Telecommunications Development Conference in Hyderabad, India. He addressed the International Telecommunications Union in a roundtable discussion about the launch of the “Connect a School, Connect a Community” incentive. Keep Reading

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