To All Firm Clients–
On April 8, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) announced its 2010 agenda for implementing numerous recommendations of the National Broadband Plan (“Plan”) – including more than 60 rulemakings and other notice-and-comment proceedings. The Plan, which the FCC delivered to Congress on March 16, 2010, lacked specific details on the FCC‘s proposal to transition the Universal Service Fund (“USF”), currently supporting traditional switched service, to universal broadband support.
The Commission‘s new agenda provides some additional details regarding the means by which the Commission intends to implement the Plan‘s broad outlines. For example, the Commission has proposed updating the E-rate program to provide schools and libraries with more accessible broadband and updating the Rural Health Care Program to provide more public health facilities with high-speed Internet. The Commission would also like to create two new support programs – a “Connect America Fund” (“CAF”) designed to extend broadband service to unserved areas of the United States and a “Mobility Fund” designed to bring all states to a baseline level of “3G” (or better) wireless coverage.
To meet these goals, the Commission has calendared specific Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (“NPRMs”) that will propose specific reforms to the existing high-cost support mechanisms to identify funds that can be refocused toward broadband, propose rules to expedite deployment of broadband to unserved areas and establish the framework for the shift from supporting phone service to advancing access to broadband as well as voice, and, notably, propose rules to reform the process for collecting contributions to the USF.
In addition to its transformation of the USF, over the next year, the Commission will seek input concerning the other overall goals of the Broadband Plan including: 1) promoting mobile broadband infrastructure and innovation; 2) fostering competition and maximizing consumer benefits across the broadband ecosystem; and 3) advancing robust and secure public safety communications networks.
Clients seeking more information should review the following links:
The FCC‘s latest announcement provides at least a few more details of its impending overhaul of the entire USF. Clients should review this Advisory and the National Broadband Plan, available at: National Broadband Plan , or at a minimum, the Executive Summary, available at: Executive Summary. Further, clients are advised to monitor FCC rulemaking proceedings relating to USF reform generally and the National Broadband Plan in particular.
Clients are encouraged to contact the firm for further guidance. Questions about this Advisory or the FCC‘s National Broadband Plan may be directed to Jonathan S. Marashlian at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 714-1313.