Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski today proposed reforming the Lifeline program that is part of the Universal Service Fund to provide telephone service to low-income Americans. The chairman wants the FCC to approve expanding the program to include broadband service and establish a national database of Lifeline users to track who is receiving the government aid.
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“Reform of the Universal Service Fund makes sense only if such reform translates as eliminating the USF altogether. Broadband coverage in the United States already serves at least 97 percent of the population, a fact reported in the Federal Communications Commission’s own research that seems to elude the chairman.
“Government fees account for 15 percent of customers’ regular service charges on average, which is more than double the sales tax levied in most states. Additionally, 59 cents of each USF dollar collected from users’ bills isn’t appropriated to build out and connections but to cover the administrative costs of perpetuating a completely unnecessary bureaucracy.”
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