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Broadband's Impact

While Universal Service Reforms Show Promise, Politics Clouds Fund’s Future

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. Embedded image permalink Moderator Scott Wallsten of the Technology Policy Institute, with panelists Mignon Clyburn, James Assey, Blair Levin, Gregory Rosston, and Bradley Wimmer. [more...] Keep Reading

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