The Federal Communications Commission today voted unanimously to redirect the mission of the Universal Service Fund from subsidizing rural phone service to subsidizing rural high-speed broadband.
The following statements from telecommunications experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the individual’s contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at [email protected] and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/731-9364.
“It’s Halloween, and U.S. consumers have been forced into another FCC trick-or-treat scenario. The FCC has finally recognized that the $8 billion of USF funding – derived from fees tacked on to consumer bills – for areas under-served by land-line phone service was outdated and unnecessary, and has taken steps to rectify it.
“Rather than treating consumers in a woefully under-performing economy by rescinding the fee altogether, the FCC has tricked us by simply reallocating the money for broadband buildout serving a frightfully small percent of the U.S. population.”
Bruce Edward Walker
Managing Editor, InfoTech & Telecom News
The Heartland Institute
“We found out early this year that the government found a way to waste more than 50 cents on every dollar they pulled into the USF. Instead of investigating the wastefulness of this consumer-funded boondoggle, the FCC today passed a massive expansion of the program.
“The last remaining hope for fiscal responsibility was that the USF funded a dying technology. Reallocating those monies to new technology gives life to one of the least efficient and least useful endeavors the FCC has undertaken – and that’s saying something.
“What should consumers expect from the new USF? Higher mobile phone bills, more confusing charges, and a ton of corporate handouts. The FCC has stumbled yet again.”
Legislative Specialist for Technology Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected] 312/377-4000
The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.