Implementing the National Broadband Plan | Issues

Improving Communications Services for Native Nations (NOI)

On March 3, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Notice of Inquiry to seek government-to-government consultation and coordination with federally recognized Tribes and the input of inter-Tribal government associations, Native representative organizations, and the public on modifications to our rules and policies to provide greater economic, market entry, and adoption opportunities and incentives for Native Nations.

Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization

On March 3, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission proposed a set of reforms that will modernize and drive tougher accountability measures into the Lifeline/Link Up program. On August 5, 2011, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking further input. On September 26, 2011, the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) sought comment on a proposal for disbursing Universal Service Fund low income support to eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) based upon claims for reimbursement of actual support payments made, instead of projected claims for support.

Comment due date: 04/21/2011

Comment reply due date: 05/25/2011

Special Access

On October 28, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission asked for voluntarily submission of facilities data to assist in evaluating the various issues that have been raised in the Special Access Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Modernizing Universal Service

On February 8, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission proposed to modernize and streamline its universal service and intercarrier compensation policies to bring affordable wired and wireless broadband – and the jobs and investment they spur – to all Americans while combating waste and inefficiency.

Comment due date: 04/18/2011

Comment reply due date: 05/23/2011

Mobility Fund

On October 14, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission proposed creation of a new Mobility Fund to provide one-time support to accelerate our nation's ongoing efforts to close gaps in mobile wireless service.

Comment due date: 12/16/2010

Comment reply due date: 01/18/2011

Wireless High-Cost Universal Service Support Reform

On August 31, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission undertook steps for fiscally responsible universal service fund reform. Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel, in separate transactions in 2008, each committed to surrender their high-cost universal service support over five years, but those commitments have yet to be implemented. Corr Wireless has asked that any support reclaimed from Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel be redistributed to other competitive eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs). In this Order, the FCC a) provides clear instructions for implementing Verizon Wireless's and Sprint Nextel's commitments; b) holds that the surrendered support need not be redistributed to other competitive ETCs in all cases; and c) directs that the surrendered support be reserved as a potential down payment on proposed broadband universal service reforms as recommended by the National Broadband Plan, including to index the E-rate funding cap to inflation to enhance broadband opportunities for children, teachers, schools, and libraries; support a Mobility Fund to provide wireless broadband service in areas that lack coverage; improve utilization of the Rural Health Care program to advance telemedicine in rural areas across the country, including Tribal lands; and, in the long term, directly support broadband Internet services for all Americans. In addition to accelerating universal access to broadband, this approach to implementing Verizon Wireless's and Sprint Nextel's commitments also reduces payments that support potentially duplicative legacy voice services and stabilizes consumer contributions to the universal service fund.

Comment due date: 10/07/2010

Comment reply due date: 09/21/2010

Rural Health Care Support Mechanism

On July 15, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission introduced a new health care connectivity program that would expand investment in broadband for medically underserved communities across the country. The program would give patients in rural areas access to state-of-the-art diagnostic tools typically available only in the largest and most sophisticated medical centers.

Comments on the proposed rules are due on or before September 8, 2010, and reply comments are due on or before September 23, 2010.

Comment due date: 09/23/2010

E-Rate Reform

On May 20, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission took further steps toward ensuring universal access to affordable, high-quality broadband by proposing updates to the highly successful "E-rate" universal service program. The proposals further the FCC's National Broadband Plan goal of connecting schools and libraries to world-leading broadband by modernizing and improving the Universal Service Fund.

Comment due date: 07/09/2010

Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service Review of Lifeline and Link Up

On June 15, 2010, the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service invited comments on a review of the Federal Communications Commission's eligibility, verification, and outreach rules for the Lifeline and Link Up universal service programs, which currently provide discounts on telephone service for low-income customers.

Comment due date: 07/15/2010

Connect America Fund I (NPRM)

On April 21, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission launched a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to begin what it calls a once-in-a-generation transformation of the Universal Service Fund from supporting networks providing plain old telephone service into an effective and efficient tool for making affordable, high-quality broadband communications service available to all Americans.

Comment due date: 07/12/2010