Momentum toward Universal Service Fund (USF) reform is growing. Not only is the FCC gathering public input for a potential overhaul, but now Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., wants the USF to subsidize broadband access for low-income Americans.
Rockefeller’s bill proposes a two-year pilot program to allow the USF to pay for monthly basic broadband access among eligible low-income households. He also requests that the FCC tell Congress how it could further help by paying for computer equipment; the USF already pays for some start-up phone service costs.
Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, the Commerce Committee’s ranking member, supports Rockefeller’s bill.
Whether the new Rockefeller bill goes anywhere remains unknown. Congress is about to take its holiday break and still has pressing issues to tackle, including health care reform.