November 17, 2009 - DTC's Greer Testifies at House Universal Service Hearing

Arlington, Va., November 17, 2009 - Legislation introduced by Reps. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) takes many important steps toward making ubiquitous broadband a reality, but much more will need to be done, according to testimony by Leslie Greer, CEO of DTC Communications (Alexandria, Tenn).

Greer testified Tuesday on behalf of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet at its hearing on the discussion draft of the Universal Service Reform Act of 2009.

In his testimony, Greer outlined NTCA's position on some of the bill's most critical provisions, and said the group supports the bill's passage because it addresses many program modifications NTCA has advocated for years-including those that will accommodate potential future regulatory shifts of intercarrier or access charges within the universal service system.

Greer noted that NTCA supports the bill's expansion of contributions assessments, noting "it will dramatically reduce the quarterly contribution factor on all providers while simultaneously ensuring that all who utilize and benefit from the network are in fact supporting it."

Regarding fund contribution methodology, Greer pointed out that the FCC should use the proven revenues based approach, since telephone numbers have nothing to do with broadband Internet access, which will be the basis for all communications in the future.

Greer also discussed intercarrier compensation. "The solution [for intercarrier compensation] is a simple one," Greer testified. "If any service provider uses another provider's network, that provider must compensate the other for such use at an appropriate rate." Greer noted that NTCA supports the draft bill's provisions directing the FCC to reform intercarrier compensation within one year.

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Greer testified that NTCA supports the bill's provision to eliminate the pervasive problem of phantom traffic, as well as the provision which would eliminate the "arcane and nonsensical" identical support rule.

Greer also hailed Reps. Boucher and Terry for their long-standing focus and awareness of the critical need for continued universal service support, and said NTCA looks forward to continue working with the FCC to develop a national broadband plan that ensures rural Americans are not denied the opportunity to realize the full promise of the Internet.

View a copy of Greer's written testimony, in which he expands on the points made above.

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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.