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Sep
15
2010
Rural Phone Companies Fight for Universal Service Fund Maranda Gibson

Rural Phone Companies Fight for Universal Service Fund

On Thursday, the House Communications Subcommittee will begin considerations about a bill to overhaul the Universal Service Fund.

For years, the USF has subsidized rural and high cost telephone service by charging end users a percentage fee on their bills.  In O ctober of 2008, these fees also began appearing on previously exem pt conference call service bills.

The Communications Subcommittee will consider both releasing more funds towards broadband services, as well as capping the service.

Broadband service providers welcome the changes, as technology is shifting away from “standard phone service” and the FCC as put the funding changes forward as part of the National Broadband Plan.

Rural phone providers are preparing testimony that warns that rural areas will end up being underfunded for service that is still considered “critical to overcome the economic challenges of deploying communication networks.” This comes from Shirley Bloomfield of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association.

With movements like dropping the plan to provide national broadband and the C-Seeks-Tighter-Broadband-Oversight.aspx">FCC requesting greater broadband oversight, it comes as no surprise that the broadband providers would be the ones in favor of the new legislation. 

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