NTCA Responds to Initial Audit Report

October 4, 2007, Arlington, Va. - The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) issued the following statement in response to the Federal Communications Commission's Office of Inspector General (FCC-OIG) Universal Service Fund (USF) Initial Statistical Analysis:

NTCA and its member companies have always supported efforts to assure accountability and preserve the integrity of the high-cost universal service fund to ensure that it is sustainable well into the future.

"The initial audit report indicates that the limited number of erroneous payments in the high-cost universal service fund was primarily related to inadequate record keeping and associated administrative procedures.  Because the reported discrepancies include study areas where documentation was not sufficient to Contact Caitlin Colligan at 703-351-2086determine if there was an actual error, the error rate for the high cost loop fund may in fact be much lower.  The report also does not distinguish between ILEC and CETC study areas, which could have an additional impact on the error rate between types of communications providers. 

"NTCA awaits final audit report so that we may explore more fully the statistical parameters that point to a potentially misleading rate of erroneous payments, and we will work closely with policy-makers to continue to ensure that communications' providers comply with the universal service reporting regulations."

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The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 560 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and small-town America. NTCA provides its members with legislative, regulatory and industry representation; meetings; publications and educational programs; and an array of employee benefit programs. Visit us at www.ntca.org.