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Cable weighs in on USF reform

Tue, 08/23/2011 - 8:30am
Brian Santo

The phone companies' recommendation for updating the Universal Service Fund stinks, the cable industry told the FCC.

The NCTA and ACA used more polite language, of course, as they invariably do, but the message was clear: the proposal by the incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) is inherently unfair and does nothing to promote competition.

The ILECs propose the FCC adopt rules that give them "right of first refusal" on receiving USF support to provide service coverage in high-cost areas.

That's the ILECs saying that they get to take first pick of the projects they're willing to take on, while retaining the right to pass on the most difficult jobs they would have otherwise been forced to perform under the old rules.

The joint NCTA / ACA letter is more genteel in its objection. It reads: "A modern set of universal service and intercarrier compensation rules should transition away from today's incumbent LEC-centric approach and move toward a regime where there is no artificial advantage associated with incumbency and no disadvantage associated with using a particular technology or network architecture."

The cable industry proposes a competitive bidding process instead.

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