"The goals of Universal Service, as mandated by the 1996 Act, are to promote the availability of quality services at just, reasonable, and affordable rates; increase access to advanced telecommunications services throughout the Nation; advance the availability of such services to all consumers, including those in low income, rural, insular, and high cost areas at rates that are reasonably comparable to those charged in urban areas. In addition, the 1996 Act states that all providers of telecommunications services should contribute to Federal universal service in some equitable and nondiscriminatory manner; there should be specific, predictable, and sufficient Federal and State mechanisms to preserve and advance universal service; all schools, classrooms, health care providers, and libraries should, generally, have access to advanced telecommunications services; and finally, that the Federal-State Joint Board and the Commission should determine those other principles that, consistent with the 1996 Act, are necessary to protect the public interest."

There are four components to the Federal Universal Service Fund. They are:


     *Low-Income.* This program provides telephone service discounts to
     consumers with qualifying low-incomes.


     *High-Cost.* This program provides financial support to companies
     that provide telecommunications services in areas of America where
     the cost of providing service is high.


     *Schools and Libraries. *This program helps to ensure that the
     nation's classrooms and libraries receive access to the vast array
     of educational resources that are accessible through the
     telecommunications network.


     *Rural Health Care. *This program helps to link health care
     providers located in rural areas to urban medical centers so that
     patients living in rural America will have access to the same
     advanced diagnostic and other medical services that are enjoyed in
     urban communities.

*Who Is Required to Contribute to the Universal Service Fund?*

In the past, only long distance companies paid fees to support the Federal Universal Service Fund. In 1996, Congress passed a law that expanded the types of companies contributing to the Universal Service Fund.

Currently, all telecommunications companies that provide service between states, including long distance companies, local telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, paging companies, and payphone providers, are required to contribute to the Federal Universal Service Fund. Carriers providing international services also must contribute to the Fund.




Tom DeReggi wrote:

Why would our possition be to volunteer to contribute?
They'll make us pay on their own, I see no reason to incurage it.
The contributors should be the mature high volume telecoms, that aren't hurt by contributing. The whole robin hood thing, take a little bit from each of the rich to subsidize a few poor. But I do not believe wireless providers are in the same class as Telecoms in their growth cycle, so they should not be treated as such. WISPs need subsidy for a period of time, while growing. Plus WISP are mostly serving underserved anyway.
Taking from the poor to pay the poor, doesn't make sense to me.
(maybe disadvantaged may be the more appropriate term than poor as not cost effective to serve is not the same as poor)

But we surely should encourage that WISP b eable to collect from the fund.
That is NOT a double standard, based on the above arguement.
Those who can provide a more efficient method of serving consumers (lower cost) should get preferencial treatment for receiving funds.

Tom DeReggi
RapidDSL & Wireless, Inc
IntAirNet- Fixed Wireless Broadband

----- Original Message ----- From: "Anthony Will" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "WISPA General List" <wireless@wispa.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2006 9:18 AM
Subject: Re: [WISPA] Universal Service Fund

First of all we should all understand that USF is not going anywhere. Our nation’s telecommunications network is too important. Second with the above understanding we should try and push the legislation to account for the work we as WISP's are doing and allow us to contribute and receive funding from USF.

I reed an article about some proposed legislation that uses a reverse auction style for USF funding. This would allow for the most efficient network to receive the appropriate funding. We can in almost all cases implement the same or better network for less then an established Telco. Thus this legislation would give us the trim and fit organizations a competitive edge.

ABOVE ALL we need to be included in the new legislator. It should not be technology dependent but results dependent.

One thing to realize if this does happen that likely every Telco out there would start using wireless equipment to stay competitive and all the effects of that must be understood.

Anthony Will
Broadband Solutions

WISPA Wireless List: wireless@wispa.org


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