Thursday, March 4, 2010

FCC to Recommend "Connect America" Broadband Fund Instead of USF

The FCC's upcoming National Broadband Plan will propose major changes to the Universal Service Fund, a program that will distribute more than $8 billion in support in 2010. In a blog posting on the FCC's website, the following recommendations were made:

  • "Transition to a new Connect America Fund to extend broadband where it is not available now and to support ongoing service in those areas where it is uneconomic to provide service without governmental support -- meaning that the total costs to deploy and provide broadband service exceed the total revenues derived from that broadband-capable network. Funding will be provided on a technology-neutral basis and open to any entity that can satisfy the thresholds established by the FCC."

  • Create a new, targeted Mobility Fund to ensure that everyone in the country has access to 3G wireless services. Some states are significantly lagging behind the national average for 3G coverage. The Mobility Fund would provide a targeted subsidy in such areas to bring those states up to the national average."

  • "Reform intercarrier compensation to gradually phase out per-minute charges, while providing carriers with the opportunity for adequate cost recovery from customers, and, where necessary, from the Connect America Fund. Adopt interim rules to address arbitrage. "