Wednesday, October 13, 2010

FCC Proposes Mobility Fund to Close Gap in Mobile Access

The FCC is proposing to create a new Mobility Fund as a one-time boost to help close gaps in mobile wireless service. The Mobility und would use some of the USF funding voluntarily relinquished by Verizon Wireless and Sprint. Those funds had been helping support service in areas that, at least in some cases, were being served by other mobile carriers. Under the Mobility Fund, a portion of these funds will instead be distributed on a one-time basis using a market-based mechanism to target consumers in areas without 3G services. The Mobility Fund may also include 4G mobile broadband service.

Specifically, the FCC is proposing to use $100 million to $300 million from the USF to create the Mobility Fund. It would then conduct a reverse auction -- in which the potential providers of services in identified areas without 3G service compete for support from the Mobility Fund by proposing the lowest amount of USF support they would require to serve areas that are currently unserved -- to determine which providers get support, which specific geographic areas will receive support, and at what levels.