Public Knowledge Skeptical of FCC’s Universal Service Plan

 The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:

 "We appreciate the effort and commitment the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dedicated to tackling the universal service system, which is in need of serious reform.  We also appreciate that the Commission recognizes the importance of non-traditional broadband providers, such as community-based institutions, and will seek comment on how to enhance the ability of these entities to serve their local communities.

"At the same time, however, we share the concerns of other consumer organizations that the Commission's actions will lead to higher prices at a time when the average American is watching every penny. We hope that the mechanisms adopted by the Commission to prevent this prove adequate, and that this and future Commissions will have the political will to address problems that may arise.

"We are deeply disappointed that the Commission has once again evaded the central problem which threatens to bring down the entire plan -- that of resolving the Commission's authority over interconnected Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and broadband services generally.  The Commission requested comments on the authority issue, but declined to deal with it.  VoIP services are becoming an integral part of the telecommunications network, serving millions of consumers.

"By declining to address this issue, the Commission is condemning the industry to more years of uncertainty, consumers and others will be powerless to complain about industry practices and the future of the network is left in limbo."

The Latest