The FCC is expected to consider on-going support mechanisms for the Universal Service Fund (USF) at is Open Meeting scheduled for Friday, December 9, 2005.
- In June 2005, The FCC launched a formal inquiry into the management, administration and oversight of the Universal Service Fund, which helps provide affordable phone service in rural areas, fund Internet access and telecommunications equipment in the schools and libraries, bring telemedicine services to rural areas, and assist low-income families with their phone bills. Since 1997, the Universal Service Administrative Company, or USAC, which administers the fund, has disbursed approximately $30.3 billion from the fund.
Money collected for the USF has been declining for some time. The FCC has been considering changes to the way it collects money for the USF. Currently consumers pay a percentage of their long distance service bill each month. The FCC is considering switching to a monthly flat fee based on telephone numbers.