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Telecom firms voice their concerns to the FCC

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May 17, 2007

The Federal Communications Commission has asked some input regarding the Federal Joint Board's recommendations for capping the USF (Universal Services Fund).

Wireless carriers and rural telecom advocacy groups fired back at the FCC with some objections and their many concerns about the USF.

The RCA (Rural Cellular Association) opposes the limit arguing that it would discriminate against competitors to rural landline phone companies.

In a statement directed at the FCC, the RCA said, "Economic development and prosperity in rural areas is tied directly to the availability of modern infrastructure in those areas. In recent years, many RCA members have made service commitments to rural areas and have qualified to receive USF support."

The RCA added "however, and as most people will agree, there is a lot more wireless network construction needed in rural areas."

The FJB (Federal Joint Board) recommended an emergency limit on the amount any eligible wireless carrier could receive from the fund.

The Board recommended that the cap be in place for at least one year while the FCC works out to overhaul the entire USF system.

Overall, many critics of the proposed limit say that it would harm wireless carriers in rural areas far more than wireline companies.

CTIA claims that the wireline carriers have benefited far more from the USF, receiving roughly $24 billion, while wireless carriers have so far only received $2 billion.

The regulatory body called for all comments to be submitted two weeks after the release of the proposed rulemaking was announced on May 14.

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Source: Wireless Week


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