Lobbyists are revving up their engines because the race is on! The FCC kicked off Universal Service Reform today! "Reform Key to Making Broadband Available for Millions of Americans Who Lack Access". Rural ILECs are freaking out right now. First CenturyTel becomes the largest IOC with its merger with Qwest; then Windstream has been buying up companies. Now this.
"The FCC today took its first step toward a once-in-a-generation transformation of the Universal Service Fund from supporting networks providing plain old telephone service into an effective and efficient tool for making affordable, high-quality broadband communications service available to all Americans. The National Broadband Plan that the Commission sent to Congress last month identified the need for comprehensive universal service reform that does not unnecessarily burden consumers. Today’s Notice of Inquiry (NOI) and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [Appendix c] begin the hard work of implementing the Plan’s recommendations, which include cutting inefficiencies in existing support of voice services and creating a Connect America Fund (CAF) that directly supports broadband without increasing the size of the Universal Service Fund over the current baseline projection." [news release]
BTW, USF contribution is over 15% now. We should be able to cover everything with this pile of cash. Most will go to lobbyists. Probably.