Begich Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Assess FCC’s Progress Increasing Broadband Access
Rural Telecom Expansion “Far too Important to Go Unchecked”
U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) announced today that they have introduced legislation requiring the Comptroller General of the United States to submit a report to Congress on the effectiveness of the Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Service Fund (USF) reforms.
“I have heard for months on end about the uncertainty and unpredictably facing the telecom providers in my state of Alaska as a result of the FCC's Universal Service Fund reform order,” said Begich. “The challenges and uncertainty facing Alaska companies are extreme examples of the challenges faced by all providers committed to serving rural areas throughout the nation. Rural telecom expansion and deployment is far too important to go unchecked, which is why more data will help us get a better understanding of how these new rules affect our communities.”
On October 27, 2011, the FCC adopted a Transformation Order and FNPRM on Universal Service Fund and Inter-Carrier Compensation. The Order seeks to modernize the system to ensure affordable broadband and mobile services are available to all Americans. It will be implemented through two phases, with Phase I currently ongoing.