FCC considers intercarrier fee, USF changes

Intercarrier compensation and the Universal Service Fund are making their semi-annual visits to the top of the Federal Communications Commission's to-do list. This time around, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin reportedly is proposing (if the proposal met an overnight deadline) that the complex and crowded menu board of intercarrier compensation fees be dropped for a uniform rate policy.

Martin reportedly further wants to use the Universal Service Fund to help compensate rural carriers for the money they would likely lose from a uniform-rate intercarrier compensation policy, and have them invest the USF money specifically in broadband expansion strategies. The FCC earlier this year voted to cap the Universal Service Fund and change the contribution policy, changes that were seen as a first step toward a broader reform of the fund policies.

Intercarrier compensation has routinely been a controversial issue because the largest telcos in the U.S. would stand to save the most from a change to uniform fees, while the smallest rural carriers would see a dip in what is a major revenue segment for them. The proposed changes may be subject to an FCC vote on Nov. 4

For more:
- see this Associated Press story

Related articles
Carl Ford provides a perspective on VoIP and intercarrier compensation
The FCC capped the Universal Service Fund in back in May
One Congressman pushed for more precise USF accounting

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