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Broadening Development of Universal Service Policy for Broadband

June 14th, 2010 by Sharon Gillett

It’s an axiom that broadband breaks down barriers, an axiom that is true at the FCC as well.  Take Universal Service, the program meant to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable telecommunications services.  The program has long focused on telephone service, and its policies have been developed by the Wireline Competition Bureau.

But the National Broadband Plan recognized that Universal Service needs to be updated to provide all Americans with access to the communications technology of the 21st Century: broadband. The Plan also recognized that broadband may be delivered by a variety of technologies, including wireline, cable, wireless and satellite.  So it only makes sense to involve multiple bureaus – not just the Wireline Bureau – in the process of overhauling the program. 

That’s why Chairman Genachowski has launched the Universal Service Working Group, which will facilitate collaboration between the bureaus on the FCC’s broadband universal service agenda.  I will lead the group, which will include representatives from the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Managing Director, the Office of Strategic Planning, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, the International Bureau (satellite) and my bureau, the Wireline Competition Bureau. 

I look forward to collaborating with this group to develop a truly comprehensive approach to Universal Service reform for the broadband age.  You can  a meeting with Universal Service Working Group staff regarding Universal Service issues related to the broadband action agenda using this online form.

2 Responses to “Broadening Development of Universal Service Policy for Broadband”

  1. Guest says:

    Satellite internet for alot of people with stuff that is bandwidth hoggy is not a option for the max transfer per month is 17GB for about $80 from wildblue. I would go satellite if it was not so expensive and did better at realtime transmissions.

  2. Jim Tobias says:

    A topic missing from the online form mentioned in the USWG announcement is accessibility for people with disabilities. People with disabilities are disadvantaged from full telecommunications participation in ways that are relevant to the goals of the USF. Moreover, legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate that would use a limited portion of the Fund for these purposes. See http://coataccess.org for details.

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