FCC bureau chief: USF reforms will provide 'stable' inter-carrier compensation system
Originally published: July 27, 2011
Last updated: July 27, 2011 - 8:55pm
The Federal Communications Commission plans to “quickly” issue a public notice requesting additional information related to Universal Service fund and inter-carrier compensation reform, FCC Wireline Competition Deputy Bureau Chief Carol Mattey told attendees at the OPASTCO convention in Minneapolis July 27.
“We’re talking days, not weeks,” said Mattey, who also noted that the FCC’s goal is to issue an order formalizing USF and ICC reforms this fall. Apparently some FCC staffers already have begun to draft portions of the order, which Mattey said she was reading on the plane to Minneapolis.
Mattey several times referenced a USF reform proposal expected this week from the United States Telecom Association with the endorsement of several large carriers, noting that she was looking forward to reading the proposal. Surprisingly, considering the OPASTCO audience, she didn't mention that several rural telco groups, including OPASTCO, also have jointly submitted a reform proposal. She did note, however, that “our job is not to rubber stamp any proposal . . . but to ask if it will benefit consumers.”
- Mattey offered some broad comments about the direction toward which the FCC is leaning in its USF and ICC reform plans, including:
- The FCC plans to provide a “stable framework” for inter-carrier compensation
- The size of the high-cost fund needs to be controlled by putting it on a firm budget
- Mobile broadband likely to be supported in a targeted manner, only in areas where it wouldn't be available without support
- The identical support rule for competitive carriers is likely to be eliminated
- A reverse auction for mobility is “very much on the table”—Mattey emphasized the word “mobility” here, implying that perhaps a reverse auction might not be used to award some other types of funding
- Proposed reforms should generate savings to help fund broadband build-out and an access charge recovery mechanism
- Changes to the high-cost fund likely to be implemented immediately
- There may be ways to improve the rate of return system without ending it altogether- the FCC is “looking at suggestions,” Mattey said
- The FCC is “committed to addressing arbitrage opportunities today” but will only address them as “part of comprehensive reform” (Mattey was likely talking about issues such as phantom traffic, traffic pumping and the like.
- The FCC’s inter-carrier compensation reform plan is expected to provide a “recovery mechanism” for lost access revenues
- While not making any specific predictions about targeting satellite broadband for the highest-cost areas, Mattey said the commission continues to consider the role of satellite service.
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- Rural Telecom Groups Take on Inter-Carrier Compensation
- Rural Telco Associations Ask FCC to Reconsider USF Reforms
- Mattey Named FCC Wireline Competition Bureau Deputy Chief
- Getting to Yes: Finding a Fix to ICC-USF
- NTCA: Uncertainty Drove 69% of Rural Telcos to Cancel Projects
- AT&T, Verizon and other price cap carriers send broadband USF proposal to FCC
- Telco giants could be biggest beneficiaries of proposed Universal Service reforms -- if not for lurking Network Neutrality concerns
- Workshop on Universal Service Fund/Intercarrier Compensation Reform (Omaha, Nebraska)
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- OPASTCO tenacious in opposition to National Broadband Plan
- Rural Associations Refute USF/ICC Order Petitions for Reconsideration
- Understanding the FCC Approach to ICC Reform
- Rural Groups Urge FCC to Look Beyond Cuts and Caps for USF Reform
- Financial Pro Speaks Out on USF Reform