News - September 21, 2023

INCOMPAS President Responds to House Hearing on Rural Broadband Funding and USF Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 21, 2023 – INCOMPAS, the internet and competitive networks association, released the following statement in response to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing discussing rural broadband funding. In addition, INCOMPAS also submitted this letter into the record to further explain our position on the this critical topic.

“As a result of the historic resources allocated to broadband deployment, our members are working hard to deploy fast, reliable, affordable networks to all corners of the country. These programs have been a huge driver of deployment and have moved us closer to delivering internet for all,” said INCOMPAS President Angie Kronenberg. “However, while the creation of new deployment programs has been pivotal, one of the most important programs that has impacted millions of Americans and community anchor institutions is the Universal Service Fund. We appreciate the robust discussion about the necessity of the Fund and how to put it on a sustainable path.

“We agree that the time to act is now and just this week we released our new economic report with the Brattle Group that shows including broadband internet access service revenues into the USF contribution base will decrease the contribution factor to less than 4%,” Kronenberg continued. “This solution is not only effective, but the FCC has the current authority to expand the base to broadband internet access service revenues without any further Congressional approval. Contrary to some testimony today, including tech companies in the contribution base is rife with problems because it will directly harm competition, distort the marketplace, pass more costs onto consumers, and expand the FCC’s jurisdiction over a vibrant, innovative industry. Additionally, there is not one solution on the table that lays out how to practically include tech in the base without distorting the market. Assessing broadband internet access service revenues is the quickest, most efficient way to put the USF on a sustainable path forward. We look forward to working with the Committee as well as the bipartisan bicameral USF working group to achieve these critical reforms and ensure the USF continues to meet its mission.”