Public interest organizations demand FCC release text of proposed cap on Universal Service Fund

Public interest organizations, including CWA, urged the FCC to release the text of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would cap Universal Service Fund (USF) spending. The USF supports four important programs designed to provide access “to rapid, efficient, nationwide communications service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges” for every person in the country. One of the vital USF programs is Lifeline, which funds a modest $9.25/month subsidy to low-income households to help pay for communications services. The USF also provides funding for rural broadband through the Connect America Fund, schools and libraries through the E-Rate program, and rural healthcare. CWA has long supported all four USF programs.

“Considering the great importance of these programs and the direct impact they have on access to communications for millions of Americans, any proposed changes to their funding mechanisms justifiably cause immediate concerns,” said the group’s letter. “Reforms to the funding structure of USF cannot tilt so far as to undermine the core purpose of these programs: to connect all people in the United States to reasonably comparable, robust communications services.”

Links:

FCC proposes spending cap on Universal Service Fund (Speed Matters, Apr 1, 2019)

Letter to Commissioner O’Rielly (Free Press, Apr. 2, 2019)

Ajit Pai wants to cap spending on broadband for poor people and rural areas (Ars Technica, Mar. 29, 2019)

CWA voices support for Lifeline modernization (Speed Matters, Feb. 19, 2016)

Universal Service Fund (FCC)