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ACA President & CEO Matthew M. Polka Applauds FCC For Historic Vote To Reform Universal Service Fund
ACA's Polka says the Federal Communications Commission's vote to reform the Universal Service Fund sets the stage for the agency's direct support of broadband service in high cost areas for the first time in history
"ACA is very pleased that Chairman Genachowski agreed with the independent cable operator community on the need to curb the size of the High Cost Fund by requiring it to operate under a budget for the first time and for limiting financial support for telephone companies in areas where they face broadband competition from providers that do not receive any USF support. Reforming USF has been a marathon campaign to develop new policies that balance the needs of the American consumer and a wide range of industry stakeholders. ACA has nothing but high praise for all FCC Commissioners and their dedicated and professional staff members, who conducted a fair and open process leading up to today's vote.
"At the same time, ACA is disappointed that the fund provides larger telephone carriers with a right of first refusal to provide broadband in high cost, unserved areas worth up to $1.8 billion annually -- twice the amount of support these carriers receive under the existing USF program today. More than 500 smaller cable operators who are ACA members and were interested in having the same opportunity to participate in the Connect America Fund program know that consumers would have received better broadband services, such as higher speeds, if the FCC had opted for competitive bidding instead of the right of first refusal.
"In the months ahead, the FCC will commence a number of important rulemakings, such as the development of cost models that will largely determine the level of rural broadband support on a provider-by-
About the American Cable Association:
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ACA supports independent cable operators and their customers by promoting a legislative and regulatory environment that allows for a fair and competive marketplace and by providing the tools and information our members need to compete effectively