NTCA Hails FCC Postponement of ICC Vote

Says future reform should support broadband investment


November 3, 2008, Arlington, Va. - The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) today hailed the postponement of an FCC vote on universal service and intercarrier compensation reform.  NTCA led the charge for transparency in the reform process was joined by over one hundred policy-makers, consumer groups, industry associations in calling for public comment.

NTCA applauds Commissioners Tate, Copps, Adelstein and McDowell for recognizing the importance of due process and in providing all interested parties the opportunity to fully review and comment on the proposal.  The group anticipates filing formal comments urging the FCC refrain from adopting rules that would exempt interconnected VoIP from paying access charges, eliminate rate-of-return regulation, eliminate the NECA pools, and create a fire sale of rural telephone plant through the use of reverse auctions.

As the commission undertakes comprehensive universal service reform, it should focus on providing sufficient, sustainable, and predictable USF support for broadband throughout the high-cost, rural areas of United States, rather than on reducing or eliminating that support.  Contact Caitlin Colligan at 703-351-2086

NTCA believes that the single most influential factor in stimulating the U.S. economy and establishing it as a global leader in broadband is to invest in additional USF support to build and maintain our broadband networks. 

"If the federal government can sign off on a $700 billion bailout package for Wall Street, then the FCC should be willing to allow for additional support to build and maintain the United States broadband network," said NTCA Vice President, Legal and Industry Dan Mitchell.  "If there is any place our government should be willing to spend its resources, it should be on maintaining and operating our broadband infrastructure so that broadband is affordable to all consumers and businesses."              

###
The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 580 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.