Representatives of NARUC, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, recently met with the FCC Chairman’s office and the office of Commissioner Rosenworcel to implore the Commission to act on long overdue and much-needed reforms to the Universal Service Fund contribution system.
The ex parte letter describing the meetings is available here: https://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7521080971
As the new FCC Chairman settles into office, and with less than 3 years remaining in President Obama’s administration, the industry can expect to see increased activity on hot button issues, including USF contribution reform. The FCC has toyed with the idea of USF reform many times over the past decade, only to tweak the system here and there. However, thanks to the recent Verizon v. FCC decision (clarifying the path to legitimate FCC regulation of broadband and other enhanced services) and the FCC’s goal of broadening the Schools & Libraries Fund to support increased broadband deployment, there is reason to believe real USF contribution reform is possible this time.