Additional USF Funding Needed to Help FCC Broadband Reforms Succeed

For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Withers, 703-351-2087, lwithers@ntca.org

Arlington, Va., (November 14, 2016)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today asked FCC officials to provide sufficient funding so that watershed reforms to the federal Universal Service Fund will achieve their intended purposes to bring more rural Americans online and sustain the networks that rely upon such support.

In a letter to the commission, NTCA proposed the FCC provide an additional $160 million per year for 10 years to fund the model offers that many rural carriers made under the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM), plus an additional up to $100 million per year to fund the budget shortfall in the non-model, rate-of-return USF mechanisms. The proposal comes in the wake of recent announcements from the FCC regarding oversubscription for model-based support and a shortfall in the support budget for non-model mechanisms.

“NTCA is hopeful that the FCC will take the important steps necessary to ensure the success of the universal service reforms it adopted earlier this year,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “Without sufficient support, there is real concern both that some carriers will be unable to advance rural broadband through receipt of model-based support and that other carriers will be unable to offer affordable standalone broadband services demanded by consumers over sustainable networks. The FCC has a terrific opportunity here to enhance the likelihood of success of its reforms, and we are urging the FCC to seize this opportunity.”

Full text of the letter is available online.

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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing more than 800 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at www.ntca.org.