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House E&C Leaders Seek USF Reform Update

Bipartisan leadership of the House Energy & Commerce
Committee has asked the FCC for an update on its reforms of the Universal
Service Fund. That is the industry-funded phone subsidy that is being migrated
to broadband and reformed, according to the FCC, to make it more efficient and
effective as well as to reflect the changes from wired to wireless service.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the chairs
and ranking members of the committee and Communications subcommittee have asked
for a lot of data on the FCC's reform of the high-cost and low-income USF

"With the recent steps taken by the FCC to modernize
and reduce waste within the USF high-cost and low-income programs, it's
incumbent upon this Committee to have the most up-to-date performance
information," they wrote.

One of Congress' issues with the program is that it is a
cross-subsidy, with some states paying in more than the get out. Number one on
the list of data the legislators want from the commission is a state-by-state
list of total disbursements from 2009 to 2011 including an estimate of net
contributors and net recipients.

Also among the more than two dozen requests is for a
timeline of all decisions needed to implement the new rules and the progress
the FCC has made to date.

To check out all the questions the FCC wants answered,
click here.

They have given the FCC until Aug. 10 to comply.