Originally published: September 8, 2011
Last updated: September 8, 2011 - 8:53pm
[Commentary] Broken policy requires level-headed reforms that advance a greater good. As we have all painfully seen this year in Washington, this is easier said than done. The debate around how to reform the archaic inter-carrier compensation (ICC) and Universal Service systems (USF) seems have been with us forever. Major players have historically never seen eye-to-eye, and in fact couldn't even agree on the scope or nature of the problems. This has been the downfall of any effort to modernize and streamline these subsidy programs. What’s at stake? Besides rationalizing rates and distributing subsidies, the most necessary element of modern economic life: connecting several million mostly rural Americans to broadband.
Reform has been attempted countless times over the last 15 years, but squabbling parties couldn't find common ground and real progress was never achieved. The proposals are not perfect, and no one got everything they wanted. So perhaps our little corner of telecom policy making offers a lesson in the larger debate Tom has been discussing on this blog. I'm not saying we did the truly unthinkable -- found a way for the Yankees and Red Sox to become BFFs (heaven forbid!) -- but the ABC Plan is proof that solutions can be forged out of what once appeared to be intractable differences. Now is the time for the Federal Communications Commission to move forward – let’s not let the perfect deny consumers and businesses the benefits of a good solution that will deliver the benefits of broadband and modernized regulation.
- Rural Telco Groups to FCC: No Further ICC Reforms
- FCC bureau chief: USF reforms will provide 'stable' inter-carrier compensation system
- AT&T, Verizon and other price cap carriers send broadband USF proposal to FCC
- FCC's Draft ICC/USF Reform Panics Competitors
- Making Universal Service and Intercarrier Compensation Reform Happen
- FCC Chairman Genachowski on USF Reforms
- Terry–Ross Letter Supports Telco USF Plan
- Rural Groups Urge FCC to Look Beyond Cuts and Caps for USF Reform
- Telco giants could be biggest beneficiaries of proposed Universal Service reforms -- if not for lurking Network Neutrality concerns
- Rural Telco Associations Ask FCC to Reconsider USF Reforms
- Rural Telecom Groups Take on Inter-Carrier Compensation
- Universal Service, Intercarrier Compensation, and the National Broadband Plan
- NTCA: Uncertainty Drove 69% of Rural Telcos to Cancel Projects
- Does USF Reform Put RUS Loans at Risk of Default?
- Financial Pro Speaks Out on USF Reform