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Telecommunications: FCC Should Improve the Accountability and Transparency of High-Cost Program Funding
Mark Goldstein (au)
The Federal Communications Comm. (FCC) has implemented four industry-wide reforms and the initial phases of two carrier-specific reforms for the Universal Service Fundäó»s (USF) high-cost program. This program targets financial support to rural areas where the cost to provide telecommunications service can be more than three-times greater than the cost in urban areas. High-cost program support offsets telecommunications carriersäó» costs and allows them to charge rural customers lower rates. In 2011, FCC issued the USF Transformation Order, whereby it adopted funding reforms so that the program could support both telephone and broadband service, and capped the program at $4.5 billion annually. This report examines (1) the extent to which FCC implemented the funding reforms adopted in the USF Transformation Order and stakeholdersäó» views on FCCäó»s efforts; (2) the extent to which FCC is collecting data to determine the effectiveness of these reforms; and (3) what changes, if any, states have made to their universal service funds since FCC adopted the reforms. Tables and figures. This is a print on demand report.
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