FCC set to reveal USF reform plans

Wed, 10/05/2011 - 8:10am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will outline a plan tomorrow to overhaul the Universal Service Fund (USF) and Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) system.

The agency has used the USF program to subsidize phone service to rural areas but now wants to use the fund to promote the deployment of broadband Internet service, as recommended in the National Broadband Plan.

Details of Genachowski's plan are not yet known. The order will be handed out to FCC commissioners on Thursday. They will vote on the proposal at the agency's Oct. 27 open meeting.

In July, a group of large incumbent phone companies including AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink sent the FCC a proposal that laid out their plans for USF reform.

Cable operators have also weighed in on the issue with a set of different proposals, arguing the ABC Plan would give phone companies an unfair advantage.

Yesterday, five consumer groups sent a joint letter to the FCC voicing concerns about the phone companies' proposal, known as the ABC Plan. Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumer Law Center, National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates and AARP said the ABC Plan could wipe out consumer protections.


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