Groups, Congress: FCC Must Delay ICC/USF Vote

Pressure is mounting on the FCC to reconsider its decision to vote on proposed intercarrier compensation/Universal Service Fund (ICC/USF) reform Nov. 4. And time is running out for proponents of process transparency – the FCC’s quiet period kicks in tonight at midnight and all lobbying must end by then.

The agency has not presented its written order for public comment, and an FCC spokesman has stated that will remain the case. The inability to examine the document is causing consternation among service providers, consumer advocates, state associations and Congress because only commissioners know the minutiae that could upend business models and increase users’ bills.

Representatives of 10 organizations are calling on the FCC to suspend its pending vote and instead make time for public review and comment. More than 60 House lawmakers also have signed a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, urging him to place the full proposal on the record and seek public comment for at least two months.

Ascribing to the argument that ICC and USF have been under discussion for seven years, and are therefore fair game for an overhaul, makes no sense, said Matt Salmon, president of competitive carrier association COMPTEL.

“I’ve never heard such a bunch of nonsense in my life.”

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