FCC's O'Rielly Named to Chair Universal Service Joint Board

Has recommended that new broadband infrastructure funds go through USF
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FCC chairman Ajit Pai has named fellow Republican commissioner Michael O'Rielly to be the chairman of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, the Federal-State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations, and the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services.

The boards provide for ongoing dialogue between the commission, state and local regulators, and others and to provide recommendations on subsidizing and deploying broadband and other communications policies that involve federal regulators and utility commissioners.

"Mike has been a dedicated public servant throughout his time at the Commission, and I have been impressed with his deft understanding and recognition of the importance of balancing both Federal and State interests," said Pai. "He has been a strong advocate on many of the topics on which these bodies provide input, such as reform of the contributions and jurisdictional separations systems."

One issue O'Rielly is already pondering is the push to include broadband buildouts in the President's proposed trillion dollar infrastructure proposal.

O'Rielly blogged earlier this week that he thinks any broadband money should be directed to the FCC's Universal Service high-cost fund, which he said would "allow greater broadband expansion in a timely and more cost efficient manner, and with less influence peddling." 

"I appreciate the trust demonstrated by Chairman Pai in appointing me as Chair of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, Federal-State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations and Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services, said O'Rielly. "I look forward to working with all the Federal and State members of these bodies in the coming months to protect ratepayers and ensure the continued progress of broadband deployment."