Senators Kerry, Warner want USF to focus on broadband expansion

U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) are the latest politicians to put their support behind the ongoing effort to redirect the focus of the Universal Service Fund (USF) from providing support for PSTN service to expanding broadband availability.

In a letter sent to the FCC, the senators wrote that "Broadband is no longer a luxury; it has become critical economic infrastructure for Americans."

Kerry and Warner think funds should prioritize parts of the country that can't get a baseline speed set by the FCC. This baseline speed, however, should be evaluated every year and adjusted as broadband usage patterns change.

Given the diversity of geographies that would be supported, USF funds should be able to support the cost-effective solution for each area, including not only wireline, but also wireless and satellite broadband networks.

Reforming USF is not just a Democratic phenomenon as Republicans such as Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) have also expressed support for a change in the rules.

For more:
- The Hill has this article

Related articles:
Julius Genachowski, FCC: Wireline's most powerful people
NTCA gets $6M in RUS funds reinstated into FY2012 budget
FCC to lay out USF reform plans
FCC wants to shift USF focus towards broadband

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