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Vote on USF tomorrow

John Moe Oct 26, 2011

University of South Florida? University of San Francisco? No, the Universal Service Fund, that little noticed but oft-discussed (on our show at least) charge on your phone bill that has historically been targeted at bringing phone service to rural areas. But the FCC wants to redirect that money toward broadband.
And you’ll never believe this but lobbying groups are arguing about where that money should go, with each side saying they should get it. I KNOW, RIGHT?!
Telecom lobbyists want it to go building traditional broadband exclusively, wireless carriers say some of it should go to mobile broadband.

From Hillicon Valley:

(Walter) McCormick (the president and CEO of U.S. Telecom) slammed the wireless industry for lobbying the FCC to expand the portion of the fund devoted to deploying wireless broadband.
“[Wireless companies] argue that more money is needed for rural wireless, but offer no financial data, cost studies, or economic analysis to show how or where such enormous expenditures will result in accelerating broadband deployment to unserved Americans,” he wrote.
CTIA, the wireless industry’s trade group, shot back at McCormick, arguing that FCC data shows consumers want mobile Internet access.

“Perhaps most importantly, he fails to acknowledge the mobile broadband revolution that, right before our eyes, is driving innovation not only through consumer products, but also for other industries such as [mobile] health, smart grid, mobile education and intelligent transportation,” Chris Guttman-McCabe, CTIA’s vice president of regulatory affairs, said.
Anyway, the FCC is voting on this tomorrow.

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