Thursday, June 20, 2013

Keeping Up-To-Date on USF Reform and Surcharge Rates

It's welcome news to see the FCC's June 12 notice that the USF contribution factor will decline once more for the third quarter of 2013. The surcharge rate will be 15.1. In practical terms, that means consumers will face what is effectively a 15.1% tax on the interstate long distance portion of their phone bills during the next quarter. Of course, the new rate isn't so spectacular when placed in the context of the persistent USF surcharge rate hikes of the last decade:

Regarding USF reform, FSF President Randolph May filed public comments with the FCC in a Lifeline-related proceeding. The comment urged the Commission to grant TracFone's petition requesting prohibition of in-person distribution of handsets to prospective Lifeline cutomers -- a measure to combat waste, fraud and abuse.

Also worth reading are Law Professor and FSF Board of Academic Advisers member Daniel Lyons' remarks on USF reforms from FSF's January 23 Book Luncheon at the National Press Club. The luncheon spotlighted the release of Communications Law and Policy: The Next Five Years. The transcript of the event, including Professor Lyons' remarks, is available online.