Last week, the Federal Communications Commission revealed the Connect America Fund, a major effort to bring the Universal Service Fund into the digital age. You can read our statement on the commission’s actions here, and below are some of what the FCC’s members had to say.
“Over the next year, the Connect America Fund will bring broadband to more than 600,000 Americans who wouldn’t have it otherwise. Over the following five years, millions more rural families will be connected. And today’s Order puts us on the path to get broadband to every American by the end of the decade — to close the broadband deployment gap which now stands at close to twenty million Americans.”
“What we are doing today is repairing two broken systems and putting in place a more credible and efficient framework that will benefit consumers, carriers and the country. We are approving a framework for allocating limited resources to mitigate serious communications shortfalls.”
“In trying to encapsulate what the FCC is accomplishing today, I’ve turned to one of North America’s best telecommunications policy minds, none other than the Great One, Wayne Gretzky. Without any of us realizing it, by implication he predicted what we would do today when he said, ‘A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.’ Today, the FCC is repurposing the high cost program to support unserved consumers’ use of communications technologies from where they are to where they going to be — in both a technological and geographical sense.”
“An underlying theme of today’s reforms is shared sacrifice for the common good. After all, we are talking about the people’s money. We are accountable to them, and I am confident that the adjustments being made to the legacy USF support, and the funding mechanisms being adopted for the new Connect America Fund, are sensible. These reforms will put both the USF and ICC regimes on a sounder footing, so we may better accomplish our goal and Congress’ mandate to serve more Americans with advanced communications networks — no matter where they live, work, or travel in this great nation.”