The FCC has appointed its newest commissioner, Deborah T. Tate, as the new chairman of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service and the Federal-State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations.
Former commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy, who left the FCC in December, previously led the Universal Service board; Michael Powell, former FCC chairman, headed the jurisdictional separations board.
The Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service was established in March 1996. It makes recommendations to implement the universal service provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Federal-State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations has existed since 1980. It allocates common carrier property and expenses between interstate and intrastate operations.
The panels are made up of FCC commissioners, state utility commissioners, and the Joint Board on Universal Service includes a consumer advocate representative.
Both universal service and separations are critical components of the framework set forth by Congress and, based on her experience as an effective state commissioner, I am confident that [Tate] will provide strong leadership and will vigorously pursue the goals set forth in the act, including the provision of quality telecommunications services at reasonable rates throughout the nation, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in a news release on Friday.
Tate said she will make sure all consumers especially those in rural and high-cost areas receive services at affordable rates.
As I did in Tennessee, I will continue to stress a pragmatic approach to federalism, build a consensus between multiple jurisdictions and stakeholders, encourage investment, and, above all else, champion the needs of consumers, Tate said in a prepared statement. I look forward to building a lasting cooperation with state regulators as we move forward.