House Communications Subcommittee chairman Greg Walden
(R-Ore.) has asked the FCC to cap the Universal Service Fund as part of its
efforts to reform it.
a letter to acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, Walden said that rather that
leaving the charge to consumers to pay for the subsidy would leave it open to
"The FCC should continue its efforts to curb waste and
abuse and cap the overall fund at current levels," said Walden in the
letter. "It should then issue a referral to the Federal-State Joint Board
[which administers the fund] on whether to adopt expansion proposals and, if
so, how to implement them within the cap."
Walden is concerned about various proposals to expand the
program, which is being migrated to support broadband deployment -- universal
broadband is a White House priority. He said he was "somewhat
relieved" that the plan was to pay for expansions with "savings"
from elsewhere in the fund, but was still worried.
The FCC this week has scheduled a vote on
reforms/expansion of the USF's E-rate program to help get higher-speed
broadband to schools.