Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 12:06pm
NTCA URGES FCC NOT TO 'BUNGLE' USF REFORM
[SOURCE: xchange, AUTHOR: Kelly M. Teal]
The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA), a non-profit that represents rural telcos, vowed Monday to keep pushing for policy reforms that benefit its membership. Michael Brunner, NTCA’s CEO, said that Universal Service Fund issues remain top-of-mind. The FCC’s federal-state joint advisory board last November published recommendations for USF change and a number of those suggestions came from NTCA. But there’s still work to be done, said Brunner. “Should policymakers bungle Universal Service Fund reform, the consequences could be dire,” he said. The biggest way to mess things up would be to implement the reverse auctions proposal, Brunner said. Reverse auctions would pit competitors against one another and award USF money to the lowest bidder. Wireline providers fear wireless carriers would have inherent advantages in the scenario because they have certain cost advantages. The auctions, said Brunner, “would threaten funding and investment mechanisms.” He said NTCA will lobby against the auctions and called on FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to also reject them.
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