Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Could It Be the FCC will act on USF?

WOW! In an article in the National Journal, it looks like USF is on the table.

The FCC will decide "very soon" on a proposal to cap the multi-billion-dollar universal service fund by limiting subsidies to new participants, mostly wireless carriers, FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate said.... The proposal, made by a government advisory board that Tate runs, has drawn mixed reaction on Capitol Hill and is strongly opposed by the wireless association CTIA, whose members would bear the brunt of it. The board will make broader recommendations on overhauling the fund to the full FCC by Nov. 1.
Also on Monday, Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., urged passage of a bill he is cosponsoring, H.R. 2054, to overhaul the fund and expand the subsidies to cover high-speed Internet access. ..... To jumpstart debate, Terry's office is holding staff-level discussions with the offices of Senate Commerce Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Commerce ranking member Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who are interested in drafting their own universal service bill.
Harold Furchtgott-Roth, formerly a GOP regulator at the FCC, noted that USF support to rural providers has barely increased in 10 years. "It's a program that's in need of a lot of mending, both at the FCC and on Capitol Hill," said Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

This means that NO new entrants - like rural fixed wireless and WiMax providers - will be able to get funding from Universal Service. Might be time to comment to the FCC.

1 comment:

Glenn Blackmon, Ph.D. said...

The USF change being considered by the FCC is not quite as bad for entrants as you suggest. The proposal does not put a moratorium on entrants; it caps the total amount paid in each state to non-incumbents as a group. I'm working with a fixed wireless company in Washington state applying for support, and we expect the cap to reduce funding by about 25% in the first year. The effects vary widely across states.