Policymakers Must Use Standardized Data to Ensure USF Support Reaches Areas In-Need
Washington, DC – June 20, 2017 – Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet held a hearing entitled, “The Universal Service Fund and Rural Broadband Investment,” to examine the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC or Commission) Universal Service Fund (USF) and its capabilities for the deployment of broadband in rural America. Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) commends the Subcommittee for holding the hearing and thanks Eric Graham of C Spire, a CCA member, for testifying on behalf of competitive carriers on the importance of the USF program.
“I thank Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ranking Member Brian Schatz (D-HI), and the Subcommittee for holding today’s hearing on USF, a critical issue for competitive carriers,” said CCA President & CEO Steven K. Berry. “I also thank Eric Graham of C Spire, a long-time CCA member, for expertly identifying current challenges and concerns surrounding the program and also identifying effective solutions. Most important, Eric provided real examples of ways USF is directly benefiting consumers in rural Mississippi.”
“One of the most concerning aspects regarding USF surrounds the data collection process currently utilized by the FCC – it vastly overstates covered areas across the country. No one wants to see the FCC make Mobility Fund decisions – that will impact service for the next decade – based on poor data. The reality is that many areas remain unserved or underserved, as C Spire and other competitive carriers in rural areas can attest to in their day-to-day work.”
“Senators Wicker and Schatz, as well as Senators Manchin, Fischer, Klobuchar, Peters, and Moran, have a bipartisan bill, the Rural Wireless Access Act, pending before the Senate that would standardize this data. Members of the Subcommittee and witnesses voiced support for this legislation today, and I urge the Committee to advance this legislation expeditiously. I thank the Subcommittee for their focus on this very important issue; an improved USF program based on accurate data will greatly benefit consumers and the economy.”
CCA is the nation’s leading association for competitive wireless providers and stakeholders across the United States. The licensed service area of CCA’s nearly 100 carrier members covers 95 percent of the nation. Visit www.ccamobile.org.
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