In response to the FCC’s adoption today of an Order and FNPRM comprehensively reforming the high cost universal service and intercarrier compensation systems, I issued the following statement:
“I am extremely grateful that the FCC has been willing to tackle the complex and important issues of universal service and intercarrier compensation reform, and we look forward to reviewing the FCC’s order once released. America’s future is all about mobile broadband communications, so while it is clear that today’s intercarrier compensation decision marks a significant forward-looking step, its long-term vision for universal service funding is one that falls short of what could have been done to fully capture the revolutionary migration to mobile services.
“With its reform of the intercarrier compensation system, today’s order appears to take an important step toward the IP-based and mobile future of communications. Reducing the inflated intercarrier compensation charges to more cost-based levels and moving to a negotiation-driven framework will help facilitate the development of modern communications networks and competitive choice for consumers. Intercarrier compensation reform has long proved elusive, so we commend the FCC for moving forward on this important goal.
“Unfortunately, the Commission’s efforts to reform the high cost universal service program do not appear to fully take into account the significant consumer migration to mobile broadband services. While the FCC is to be commended for its establishment of a dedicated Mobility Fund and making significant funds potentially available through 2014, the decision to set the long-term funding-level for mobile services at only 11 percent of the high cost fund is troubling. We believe this direction fails to acknowledge the mobile broadband revolution that is driving innovation not only through consumer products, but also for other industries and critical policy priorities such as mHealth, smart grid, mobile education and intelligent transportation. Chairman Genachowski has aptly observed that ‘[t]he world is going mobile’ and that ‘no sector now holds more promise for opportunity, for economic growth, for improvements to our quality of life, and for our global competitiveness.’ It is disappointing that this vision is not fully reflected in today’s long-term direction for the universal service program.”