Thursday, March 07, 2013

Chairman Genachowski Deserves Credit on USF

I often criticize FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski for what I see as actions that are unduly regulatory. But I have just read reports in Communications Daily [subscription required] and TR Daily [subscription required] regarding the briefs the FCC filed yesterday in the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Doing so reminded me that Chairman Genachowski deserves considerable credit for standing fast on his efforts to reform the Universal Service Fund. 
I would have gone even further in reducing, over time, the size of the unrestrained subsidies provided to rural telephone companies. Nevertheless, under Chairman Genachowski's leadership, the FCC did implement changes to the universal service program that are intended to make it operate more efficiently and economically than it has in the past. Not surprisingly, since adoption of the order implementing the changes, the some rural telco subsidy recipients have fought tooth and nail to overturn the USF reforms – and to retain their subsidies without any reduction. 
It would be a shame to go backwards now. Chairman Genachowski deserves credit for continuing to defend the modest reforms, and for continuing to explain in court and in Congress why it is in the interest of consumers and competition, if not the subsidy recipients, that the reforms be implemented.