The Internet Needs Universal Service Reform: Can Someone Please Do It!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Luncheon Panel Discussion
U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, South Congressional Meeting Room (CVC-217)
The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee hosted a luncheon debate on "The Internet Needs Universal Service Reform: Can Someone Please Do It!" on Wendesday, February 23. The Universal Service Fund (USF) is a billion dollar federal program that begs to be reformed. Created 15 years ago in an analog era by the 1996 Telecom Act, the USF is badly in need of reform by most accounts. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has indicated that it plans to reform the program. Yet, many in Congress have expressed concerns about how those reforms will take shape and how data carriers compensate one another. Is it really a job for Congress?
An expert panel debated how USF reform should advance the goal of enabling access to crucial broadband -- both wireline and wireless -- by Americans who need it the most. Panelists debated the continued relevancy of the USF and whether or not it can be restructured to be more effective, efficient and focused on broadband deployment, adoption and access by repurposing funds and changing focus to the needs facing Americans today.
- Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, National Telecommunications Cooperative Association [bio]
- Mark Cooper, Director of Research, Consumer Federation of America [bio]
- John F. Jones, Vice President State Government Affairs, Century Link [bio]
- Blair Levin, Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program [bio]
- Joel Lubin, Vice President-Public Policy, AT&T
This widely attended educational briefing is hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee (ICAC), part of a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Congressional staff and members of the press welcome. The ICAC is a private sector organization comprised of public interest groups, trade associations, non-profits, and corporations. More information on the ICAC is available at www.netcaucus.org.