Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

FCC February Agenda Includes A USF Reform Proposal FCC February Agenda Includes A USF Reform Proposal

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


FCC February Agenda Includes A USF Reform Proposal

The Federal Communications Commission's tentative agenda released Tuesday for its February open meeting includes a proposal for overhauling and modernizing parts of the Universal Service Fund, which helps subsidize the cost of telephone service in rural and high-cost areas and provides support for Intenet access for schools and libraries.

The tentative agenda includes a notice of proposed rulemaking on ways to expand the USF to include support for broadband in unserved areas and a proposal for overhauling the inter-carrier compensation system, which are the fees paid by one telecom carrier to another to originate, transport or terminate telecommunications traffic. A portion of these fees, which are passed on to consumers, go to support universal service.

In its national broadband plan, the FCC proposed reforming the inter-carrier compensation system to reduce incentives that keep some carriers, particularly smaller ones, from migrating to broadband technologies because of the fees they get from the current inter-carrier compensation system. In addition, the plan called for creating a new Connect America Fund as part of universal service to help expand access to broadband.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has indicated, as recently as last week, that inter-carrier compensation and USF reform are linked and should be dealt with at the same time.

The proposed rule making on the FCC's tentative agenda for its Feb. 8th meeting "proposes near-term support for broadband deployment in unserved areas and measures to address ICC arbitrage, as well as a long-term transition from current high-cost support and ICC mechanisms to a single, fiscally responsible Connect America Fund," according to the commission's notice.

In the last Congress Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., and ex-Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., introduced a USF reform bill. While Boucher was defeated for re-election in November, Terry has indicated he plans to continue to pursue the issue this Congress.

However, an aide to Senate Commerce Chairman John (Jay) Rockefeller, D-Va., said Tuesday at the State of the Net conference that his boss apperas likely to let the FCC take the lead on the issue for now.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories


Rick, Executive Director for Policy

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy, Director of Communications

I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."

Richard, VP of Government Affairs

Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "

Michael, Executive Director

Sign up form for the newsletter