30 November 2007

FCC FSJB recommends funding broadband from the USF

Speaking of broadband, there is some interesting news on this front. The Federal-State Joint Board released this report recently. This group advises the FCC, in this case, on universal service policy. Thus, this report outlines recommended decisions that the FCC may or may not adopt. Responding to criticisms of the USF, the joint board recommended several actions:

  • Change funding structure to reduce burden on consumers
  • Change high cost program in several ways, including the introduction of three "funds": Broadband, Mobility and Provider of Last Resort (POLR)
  • Explore the use of reverse auctions to distribute funds

In doing this, the board is arguing that access to basic mobile voice and access to "broadband" is part of the universal service definition that should be funded.
They recommend that the broadband fund be approximately US$300 Million per year. They stop short of defining what they mean by "broadband" (which is not a trivial omission, since it affects cost in a significant way).

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