By Julius Genachowski, Michael Copps, Robert McDowell, Mignon Clyburn, Meredith Baker – FCC Commissioners
When we voted unanimously to approve the USF/ICC Transformation NPRM last month, each of us made clear that we are committed to reforming the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) system, and to doing so as soon as possible. We must eliminate waste and inefficiency and modernize USF and ICC to bring the benefits of broadband to all Americans. We can’t afford to delay.
As part of our process, today we’re announcing the first of a small number of open, public workshops to identify solutions to key issues in the USF/ICC proceeding. This first workshop at the FCC on April 6th will focus on ICC issues. At least one of the others will be held outside of Washington, DC, and all of them will be live-streamed on the Internet and will enable online participation. More details on the workshops will be released soon.
At these workshops, we’re looking forward to robust discussions with a diverse group of stakeholders. And we’re expecting participants to come prepared with responses to our reform proposals—and/or proposals of their own—that recognize that reform will entail compromise and shared sacrifice, as well as shared opportunity.
In addition to the workshops, we of course encourage parties to file comments in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). As a reminder, the first comments on certain issues are due on April 1, and the last reply comments are due on May 23. While the NPRM included many reform ideas, there may be others that merit consideration as well. We remain open to considering all ideas put forth in the workshops and comments.
Once the record is complete in late May, we look forward to moving to an Order within a few months—it’s going to be a busy spring and summer.
The time is right to make reform happen, and to do so through an open, public, and participatory process.