While Universal Service Reforms Show Promise, Politics Clouds Fund’s Future
August 19th, 2015
ASPEN, Colorado, August 19, 2015 – In spite of several positive efforts to reform the complex and dated rules that govern the Federal Communication Commission’s universal service fund, key decisions surrounding the $8 billion annual fund remain ineluctably political.
That was the message shared by panelists, including a commissioner at the FCC, speaking at a session on Tuesday at the Technology Policy Institute’s annual forum here.
For example, the panelists — which also include two economists, a cable industry lobbyist and the former director of the National Broadband Plan — applauded efforts to bring greater economic efficiency to telecom network construction through a system known as a “reverse auction.”
They also supported efforts to promote broadband adoption by providing income-based vouchers for the purpose of internet services.
But decisions about the allocation of funds within the USF — and the key question of how the fund is to be paid for — remain political hot potatoes.
Moderator Scott Wallsten of the Technology Policy Institute, with panelists Mignon Clyburn, James Assey, Blair Levin, Gregory Rosston, and Bradley Wimmer.
36-Member Public Interest Group Coalition Responds to Sen. McCaskill’s Call to End Lifeline Program
Broadband's Impact, Congress, Education, Senate
July 2nd, 2013
WASHINGTON, July 2, 2013 – On Friday a coalition of 36 interest groups sent a letter to Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., urging her to reconsider her position calling for the eliminating the Lifeline program, one of a handful of programs that currently make up the Universal Service Fund. On June 11, McCaskill had sent a […]
Lifeline Reform One More Step Toward Adoption
FCC, Universal Service
January 27th, 2012
WASHINGTON, January 27, 2012 – A couple weeks ago, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the FCC’s Order to modernize the Universal Service Fund’s Lifeline Program. In a week where almost all of the media’s attention was focused on new technologies and innovative gadgets at the International Consumer Electronics Show, Genachowski reminded the public […]
FCC Aims to Increase Awareness of Lifeline, Link Up Programs
Broadband's Impact, FCC, Tribal Broadband, Universal Service
September 14th, 2010
WASHINGTON, September 14, 2010 – This week is the second annual “National Lifeline and Link Up Telephone Discount Awareness Week” brought to you by the Federal Communications Commission, National Association of Regulatory Commissioners and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates.
Human and Civil Rights Group Pushes FCC to Move Forward on Broadband Plan Proposals
Broadband Updates, Broadband's Impact, Education, FCC, Minority
September 2nd, 2010
WASHINGTON, September 2, 2010 – The Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights has offered its suggestions to the government on how to improve the access of low-income, minority and other underserved communities to important communications services like broadband.
Genachowski Calls for Removal of Barriers to Minority Business Owners
Broadband's Impact, Minority, National Broadband Plan, Spectrum
July 21st, 2010
WASHINGTON, July 21, 2010- Market barriers to minority and small business owners must be removed so that they can compete in the global marketplace says Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.
National Broadband Plan: A Look at Chapters 1 & 2
Broadband's Impact, National Broadband Plan, Smart Grid, Universal Service, Wireless
March 26th, 2010
WASHINGTON, March 26, 2010 – The national broadband plan aims to present not just a roadmap of how to expand broadband but also to provide a long-term vision of innovation. While the first chapter of the plan explains its overarching goals and congressional mandate, the plan is really outlined in the second chapter. The plan has six goals that the Federal Communications Commission plans to achieve through four general recommendations.
FCC Readies Plan to Bring Affordable Broadband to 100 Million Homes, Dubs Plan ‘Connecting America’
Broadband Stimulus, FCC, National Broadband Plan, Universal Service, Wireless
March 15th, 2010
WASHINGTON, March 15, 2010 – The Federal Communications Commission will present its congressionally mandated plan to bring high-speed Internet access throughout the United States to lawmakers tomorrow, outlining six long-term goals and detailing its views on better ways to encourage broadband competition, free up available spectrum and modernize health care, among other things.
FCC Releases First Draft of National Broadband Plan After Weighing Record
National Broadband Plan, Premium Content, Universal Service, Wireless
December 17th, 2009
WASHINGTON, December 17, 2009 – The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday laid out a rough draft of its national broadband plan after weighing through 66,000 pages of written comments, 27 public notices, 100 items posted on its “blogband” web site, and 700 blog comment posted to the record.
But the agency says it is still difficult to answer key questions that must be addressed within two months time, or by February 17, 2010.
Universal Service Fund Needs Overhaul, and Most Want Broadband Included
National Broadband Plan, Universal Service
November 18th, 2009
WASHINGTON, November 18, 2009 – The Universal Service Fund is in need of an overhaul to equalize costs among stakeholders and modernize programs to include broadband services, a group of industry representatives and regulators told the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet during a Tuesday hearing.
The hearing examined a discussion draft of the Universal Service Reform Act of 2009, authored by subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher, D-Va., and Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb.
The Universal Service program, which existed for decades before being codified in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, is under “tremendous pressure” and requires a comprehensive effort to reform its operations, Boucher said during opening remarks.