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Free State Foundation Panel Calls for USF, Intercarrier Compensation Reform

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2011 – The Free State Foundation, a free-market think thank, assembled key industry experts Wednesday and pressed for the immediate need for reforms to the Universal Service Fund and Intercarrier Compensation systems.

For the past year, the Federal Communications Commission has worked on updating the Universal Service Fund to handle the demands of broadband expansion rather than voice service.

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WASHINGTON, July 14, 2011 – The Free State Foundation, a free-market think thank, assembled key industry experts Wednesday and pressed for the immediate need for reforms to the Universal Service Fund and Intercarrier Compensation systems.

For the past year, the Federal Communications Commission has worked on updating the Universal Service Fund to handle the demands of broadband expansion rather than voice service.

“While the USF was updated in 1996 to deal with modern communications the inclusion of broadband was never envisioned,” said James Assey, Executive Vice President, National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).  “The National Broadband Plan clearly shows that the FCC is trying to figure how to properly update the USF to deal with broadband.”

Assey suggested that the FCC refocus the USF from supporting voice service to supporting broadband.

“Holding down the price of voice service is no longer a national priority, if consumers are given access to broadband they can get cheap or free voice service using Magic Jack or Skype,” said Tom Tauke, Executive Vice President, Verizon.

According to Tauke now is the perfect time to deal with the issue since the major telecommunications providers have already transitioned their businesses away from relying on voice service to data and television services.  Tauke went onto say that unfortunately the firms that rely most heavily on voice service for revenue are also located in the most rural areas where telecommunications costs are high.

Mike Romano, Senior Vice President at the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association advised the group that any transition away from supporting telephone to broadband services should be done in a slow and methodical manner.

“We don’t want to leave consumers in a position where they face a dramatically high bill,” Romano said.

While all of the panelists agreed that the USF needs to transition to broadband they differed what the role of the USF should be in supporting broadband.

Assey said that funding should be limited to deployment in both unserved areas and places where there is only a single broadband provider; Tauke also supported the idea of using USF funds for deployment. Romano however recommended that funding should be split between deployment and sustainable adoption programs.

Deborah Taylor Tate, former FCC Commissioner suggested that in addition to funding existing programs for sustainable adoption, the Commission should be funding pilot programs to reach the final one percent without access.

“We need to learn what the most efficient method is to reach these people and that requires experimentation,” Tate said.

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for BroadbandBreakfast.com since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

Education

Surveying Broadband Issues Faced by Students Under COVID-19, CoSN Offers Its Recommendations

The speed of the broadband service used was only one component of the issues students faced.

Benjamin Kahn

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Photo of Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium of School Networking, from Millennium Sustainable Education

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2011 – The Free State Foundation, a free-market think thank, assembled key industry experts Wednesday and pressed for the immediate need for reforms to the Universal Service Fund and Intercarrier Compensation systems.

For the past year, the Federal Communications Commission has worked on updating the Universal Service Fund to handle the demands of broadband expansion rather than voice service.

“While the USF was updated in 1996 to deal with modern communications the inclusion of broadband was never envisioned,” said James Assey, Executive Vice President, National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).  “The National Broadband Plan clearly shows that the FCC is trying to figure how to properly update the USF to deal with broadband.”

Assey suggested that the FCC refocus the USF from supporting voice service to supporting broadband.

“Holding down the price of voice service is no longer a national priority, if consumers are given access to broadband they can get cheap or free voice service using Magic Jack or Skype,” said Tom Tauke, Executive Vice President, Verizon.

According to Tauke now is the perfect time to deal with the issue since the major telecommunications providers have already transitioned their businesses away from relying on voice service to data and television services.  Tauke went onto say that unfortunately the firms that rely most heavily on voice service for revenue are also located in the most rural areas where telecommunications costs are high.

Mike Romano, Senior Vice President at the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association advised the group that any transition away from supporting telephone to broadband services should be done in a slow and methodical manner.

“We don’t want to leave consumers in a position where they face a dramatically high bill,” Romano said.

While all of the panelists agreed that the USF needs to transition to broadband they differed what the role of the USF should be in supporting broadband.

Assey said that funding should be limited to deployment in both unserved areas and places where there is only a single broadband provider; Tauke also supported the idea of using USF funds for deployment. Romano however recommended that funding should be split between deployment and sustainable adoption programs.

Deborah Taylor Tate, former FCC Commissioner suggested that in addition to funding existing programs for sustainable adoption, the Commission should be funding pilot programs to reach the final one percent without access.

“We need to learn what the most efficient method is to reach these people and that requires experimentation,” Tate said.

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Education

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel Unveils Proposed Rules for Emergency Connectivity Fund

Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on Friday released rules for the Emergency Connectivity Fund, answering many questions about the program.

Benjamin Kahn

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on

Photo of Jessica Rosenworcel from the FCC

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2011 – The Free State Foundation, a free-market think thank, assembled key industry experts Wednesday and pressed for the immediate need for reforms to the Universal Service Fund and Intercarrier Compensation systems.

For the past year, the Federal Communications Commission has worked on updating the Universal Service Fund to handle the demands of broadband expansion rather than voice service.

“While the USF was updated in 1996 to deal with modern communications the inclusion of broadband was never envisioned,” said James Assey, Executive Vice President, National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).  “The National Broadband Plan clearly shows that the FCC is trying to figure how to properly update the USF to deal with broadband.”

Assey suggested that the FCC refocus the USF from supporting voice service to supporting broadband.

“Holding down the price of voice service is no longer a national priority, if consumers are given access to broadband they can get cheap or free voice service using Magic Jack or Skype,” said Tom Tauke, Executive Vice President, Verizon.

According to Tauke now is the perfect time to deal with the issue since the major telecommunications providers have already transitioned their businesses away from relying on voice service to data and television services.  Tauke went onto say that unfortunately the firms that rely most heavily on voice service for revenue are also located in the most rural areas where telecommunications costs are high.

Mike Romano, Senior Vice President at the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association advised the group that any transition away from supporting telephone to broadband services should be done in a slow and methodical manner.

“We don’t want to leave consumers in a position where they face a dramatically high bill,” Romano said.

While all of the panelists agreed that the USF needs to transition to broadband they differed what the role of the USF should be in supporting broadband.

Assey said that funding should be limited to deployment in both unserved areas and places where there is only a single broadband provider; Tauke also supported the idea of using USF funds for deployment. Romano however recommended that funding should be split between deployment and sustainable adoption programs.

Deborah Taylor Tate, former FCC Commissioner suggested that in addition to funding existing programs for sustainable adoption, the Commission should be funding pilot programs to reach the final one percent without access.

“We need to learn what the most efficient method is to reach these people and that requires experimentation,” Tate said.

Continue Reading

Broadband's Impact

FCC Fines Company $4.1 Million for Slamming and Cramming Consumer Phone Lines

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday fined Tele Circuit Network Corporation for switching consumers’ service providers.

Benjamin Kahn

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on

Photo of Geoffrey Starks by Amelia Holowaty Krales of the Verge

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2011 – The Free State Foundation, a free-market think thank, assembled key industry experts Wednesday and pressed for the immediate need for reforms to the Universal Service Fund and Intercarrier Compensation systems.

For the past year, the Federal Communications Commission has worked on updating the Universal Service Fund to handle the demands of broadband expansion rather than voice service.

“While the USF was updated in 1996 to deal with modern communications the inclusion of broadband was never envisioned,” said James Assey, Executive Vice President, National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).  “The National Broadband Plan clearly shows that the FCC is trying to figure how to properly update the USF to deal with broadband.”

Assey suggested that the FCC refocus the USF from supporting voice service to supporting broadband.

“Holding down the price of voice service is no longer a national priority, if consumers are given access to broadband they can get cheap or free voice service using Magic Jack or Skype,” said Tom Tauke, Executive Vice President, Verizon.

According to Tauke now is the perfect time to deal with the issue since the major telecommunications providers have already transitioned their businesses away from relying on voice service to data and television services.  Tauke went onto say that unfortunately the firms that rely most heavily on voice service for revenue are also located in the most rural areas where telecommunications costs are high.

Mike Romano, Senior Vice President at the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association advised the group that any transition away from supporting telephone to broadband services should be done in a slow and methodical manner.

“We don’t want to leave consumers in a position where they face a dramatically high bill,” Romano said.

While all of the panelists agreed that the USF needs to transition to broadband they differed what the role of the USF should be in supporting broadband.

Assey said that funding should be limited to deployment in both unserved areas and places where there is only a single broadband provider; Tauke also supported the idea of using USF funds for deployment. Romano however recommended that funding should be split between deployment and sustainable adoption programs.

Deborah Taylor Tate, former FCC Commissioner suggested that in addition to funding existing programs for sustainable adoption, the Commission should be funding pilot programs to reach the final one percent without access.

“We need to learn what the most efficient method is to reach these people and that requires experimentation,” Tate said.

Continue Reading

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