TelcoTV 2010: RUS Sends Friend Request to FCC

LAS VEGAS -- TelcoTV 2010 -- The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is pledging to join the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of reforming the Universal Service Fund.

RUS administrator Jonathan Adelstein announced the decision during his keynote appearance here Tuesday. He'd been a last-minute addition to the schedule.

Specifically, in a keynote otherwise overflowing with numbers related to Recovery Act spending, Adelstein announced he had sent a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski citing "willingness to work with him on Universal Service reform and intercarrier compensation."

The letter is just the showy part, of course. Adelstein said FCC and RUS staffers have already started working together. And their collaboration was discussed at a workshop a couple of weeks ago, said Daniel O'Connell, president of the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council North America, in a conversation with Light Reading following the keynote speeches.

Adelstein discussed no specifics, so it's hard to gauge whether any of this makes any difference. Still, the RUS's move might be valuable in terms of moral support.

The FCC wants to revamp the USF, pointing the money towards broadband deployment rather than telephone service. But the agency lost a key ally in last week's US elections, as Representative Rick Boucher (D-Va.) got booted from office. Boucher and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) had introduced the Universal Service Reform Act of 2010 in July. (Terry, by the way, got re-elected.) (See FCC Goes for USF Reform.)

So, the real significance of the RUS's move might be in its potential to keep up the activity level around USF reform. Otherwise, Boucher's absence might have made it "more difficult for the chairman to gather advocates around," O'Connell said.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:19:01 PM
re: TelcoTV 2010: RUS Sends Friend Request to FCC

I have to admit, I thought of that. When two government agencies work together, does that actually help, or hinder?  :)

The RUS certainly seemed overwhelmed with the stimulus, but they're pressing on. Adelstein mentioned that for the carriers that didn't get awards, the RUS is trying to move them into regular RUS funding programs.

spc_markl 12/5/2012 | 4:19:01 PM
re: TelcoTV 2010: RUS Sends Friend Request to FCC


The RUS has been totally overwhelmed with its involvement with the stimulus awards. I do not think it needs any additional responsibility.  It will just lead to further delay anyway with the internal politics of two government agencies getting together.

Mark Lutkowitz, Telecom Pragmatics

spc_markl 12/5/2012 | 4:19:00 PM
re: TelcoTV 2010: RUS Sends Friend Request to FCC

The main question is how much actual cash has been delivered -- and because of environmental impact concerns, etc., it is probably a lot less than one would necessarily realize.


frnkblk 12/5/2012 | 4:18:47 PM
re: TelcoTV 2010: RUS Sends Friend Request to FCC

Mr. Adelstein's comments in vendor event were that he was eager to get the monies out, as is the vice-president and president.  So it's not for lack of desire.  He alluded to some processes that had to be streamlined.  But he didn't suggest it would be resolved yet this year, rather, early Q1'11.

spc_markl 12/5/2012 | 4:18:46 PM
re: TelcoTV 2010: RUS Sends Friend Request to FCC

Look for a boom in the summer of next year for companies serving the independent telcos, especially for the engineering/construction firms.


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