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FCC Seeks Reform of the Way it Collects $8.5 Billion in Annual Universal Service Fund Fees

On April 27, 2012, the FCC unanimously voted to overhaul the way it collects approximately $8.5 billion a year in federal Universal Service Fund fees.  The FCC’s overarching goal for this proceeding is to ensure “delivery of voice and broadband communications to all Americans and achieving core FCC objectives of promoting broadband innovation, investment and adoption.”  In addition, the FCC seeks comment on any transition periods for reform.

In particular, the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM, FCC 12-46) asks the following questions:

  • What services and service providers should contribute to the fund?
  • How should contributions should be assessed -- on revenues, the number of connections, by phone numbers, or a hybrid approach?
  • How to reduce the cost, promote transparency and increase clarity of the contribution system?
  • Whether consumers could benefit from increased transparency and limitations on how providers recover their USF costs?

A copy of the FNPRM should be available within the next few weeks.  EDUCAUSE Policy is tracking this issue and we will continue to represent our members’ interests in this proceeding.

Source: FCC News Release: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-313804A1.pdf