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Comment Schedule Set For USF Contribution Reforms

The FCC has set comment dates for its proposed reforms of contributions to the Universal Service Fund, which telecom companies pay into to subsidize phone, and now broadband, service in areas where there is no business case for it

Comments are due July 9 and reply comments Aug. 6.

The goal of the reform is to reduce the administrative burden on industry and the FCC, avoid arbitrage of the system -- making similar services subject to similar contributions -- and update the calculations of the payments to reflect a changing marketplace. The contributions had been based on a land-line phone dominated world going increasingly wireless and broadband.

The FCC voted last fall to reform fund payouts.

The commission was taking some heat from Capitol Hill this week on the effect of migrating the fund to broadband and capping/cutting some legacy support as part of that process.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.