NTCA Responds to Landry Bill Addressing FCC’s Flawed USF Model


For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Withers, 703-351-2086, lwithers@ntca.org
              Wendy Mann, 703-351-2087, wmann@ntca.org

Arlington, Va. (September 21, 2012) – Today, U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry introduced the “Restore Effective Statistics to the Calculation of USF Expenditures (RESCUE) Act of 2012” addressing the FCC’s flawed methodology for cutting Universal Service Fund (USF) support for small, community-based telecommunications providers.

In response, NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield released the following statement:

“I applaud Rep. Landry for taking this significant step to correct the FCC’s deeply flawed method for limiting USF support for rural telecommunications providers. This bill highlights three of the most significant shortcomings of the commission’s new statistical caps on universal service support: their disregard for statutory mandates requiring that federal universal service support be predictable; their alarming inaccuracy; and their retroactive nature that penalizes prior commitments made in good faith by job creators all over this country.

“Rep. Landry should be commended for his continuing leadership role in this effort at a critical time in both our country’s and our industry’s history. The congressman’s latest initiative comes atop expressions of concern by many members of Congress who have shown their commitment in recent months to making sure that consumers in hard-to-serve areas continue to have access to affordable advanced communications services. The engagement of these congressional leaders underscores the need to ensure that the new statistical models operate effectively and in accordance with law, and also that such significant changes to the universal service program   will be evaluated carefully prior to considering additional modifications that may only further reduce regulatory certainty and market predictability.

“I hope this bill will serve as a catalyst for measured and thoughtful debate over universal service policy, and guide policy-makers in considering changes that provide sufficient support and a reasonable degree of certainty for rural Americans and the community-based telecommunications providers that serve them.”

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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.