News - May 12, 2023
ICYMI: INCOMPAS President Angie Kronenberg Testifies at Senate Hearing
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 12, 2023 - INCOMPAS President Angie Kronenberg testified at the Senate Commerce Media, Technology and Broadband Subcommittee hearing on “The State of the Universal Service. Here are a few clips from yesterday’s hearing where Angie discusses the importance the Affordable Connectivity Program, creating a sustainable contribution base for the Universal Service Fund that includes broadband internet access services, why assessing tech providers is rife with problems, and encouraging competition to drive down costs and create more choice for consumers. To watch the full hearing, click here and for more information on the new USF bipartisan working group, click here.
INCOMPAS President Angie Kronenberg’s opening remarks in the Senate Commerce Subcommittee Hearing on the “State of Universal Service.”
Expanding the contribution base to broadband will drive down costs and can be done immediately.
The contribution factor is incredibly high today. We have been working with a large coalition to bring a solution to the FCC that currently has the ability and jurisdiction to address this issue so that those who are facing this high contribution factor will see it lowered. Former FCC official and USF expert Carol Mattey has recommended that we expand the base to include broadband internet revenues. USF is being used largely to support the business case for broadband providers and affordable broadband service.
Tech is making a significant investment in network infrastructure.
Tech is making a significant investment in network infrastructure and does not get any benefit from USF. Assessing the edge would open a Pandora's box by expanding regulatory authority, skew competition, and could further delay much needed USF reform.
The Affordability Connectivity Program is Vital for Millions of Americans
USF encourages affordability through certain programs. Lifeline is one of them, but devised during the Reagan Administration to be a voice subsidy and did a great job of meeting that need. Over time the FCC evolved that program, but we have seen that it was not sufficient to ensure that consumers that are low income could get onto a robust broadband service to meet their families’ needs. Congress addressed this by establishing the emergency broadband benefit then a longer-term program, the ACP. Close to 18 million households are in the ACP program as compared to around 7 million who still take the lifeline program.
Competition is key to more choice and better service for consumers.
INCOMPAS recommends that as we are funding new networks with federal government dollars that we do more to enable and promote competition though wholesale policy that requires reasonable rates.