AT&T exec: FCC will recommend 4 Mb/s broadband Universal Service target next month

The Federal Communications Commission on February 8 is likely to issue “some kind of order -- their vision of the way Universal Service will look in the future,” said AT&T Senior Vice President Bob Quinn.

“The order will be a vision of the end-state and the principals [the FCC] will use to achieve that end state.” The initial order then will generate a series of orders and notices of proposed rulemaking over the next several years, Quinn predicted. To get that process started, Quinn believes the FCC will issue several NPRMs at the February 8 meeting. One will propose modifications to the high-cost Universal Service program, one will involve traffic pumping, and another will address phantom traffic. Many concepts that the FCC will put forth in its vision for Universal Service reform will come from the National Broadband Plan, Quinn said. For example, he believes the FCC will recommend shifting support from voice to broadband, with a minimum 4 Mb/s downstream- 1 Mb/s upstream bandwidth target. As recommended in the NBP, AT&T also expects reverse auctions to figure into FCC recommendations at the upcoming meeting. AT&T Vice President of Federal Regulatory Hank Hultquist said that the FCC is likely to use reverse auctions first in awarding funding for areas that cannot get broadband today. As for areas that already have broadband but require ongoing support, Hultquist said he expects the FCC would more likely ask for comment on whether a reverse auction would be feasible.


AT&T exec: FCC will recommend 4 Mb/s broadband Universal Service target next month