Universal service reform on FCC's plate

The Federal Communications Commission reportedly is ready to open up several suggestions for Universal Service Fund reform to a public comment period, though these reports have been circulating for about the last week with no action yet. The agency's joint federal-state advisory board already proposed numerous changes that included $4.5 billion cap for the fund, which grew to $7 billion last year. There are also several ideas from various sectors about how distribution methods should be changed and whether or not broadband and wireless services should have separate universal service funding mechanisms.

One of the contentious issues is the fairly recent requirement that VoIP service providers contribute to the universal fund. VoIP carriers have argued they shouldn't have to on the grounds VoIP is an information service, and now Vonage is suing the Nebraska Public Service Commission to allow it to be released from the obligation of contributing to that state's fund.

For more:
- read this story about the awaited FCC action at The Wall Street Journal
- see this Associated Press story about the Vonage lawsuit at Forbes

Related articles:
- The FCC's own advisory board recommended changes late last year
- Vonage sues Nebraska PSC Article