FTTH Council Raises Caution on Proposed USF Broadband Fees

In comments filed today with the Federal Communications Commission, the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council Americas said that while it generally supports reform of the Universal Service Fund, the FCC should refrain from imposing a fee on broadband Internet access service, especially one that would increase with greater performance capabilities related to bandwidth and speed.

In its filing, the Council noted that during the comment process a broad range of voices from the broadband industry have said that “the imposition of any fee on broadband Internet access service would deter demand, thereby harming the business case and chilling investment in high-speed networks.”  The fee would discourage network operators from making plant and service upgrades and expanding their networks to serve more subscribers, the Council said.

If the Commission were to proceed with a USF fee on broadband services, the Council urged that it be a flat assessment per broadband connection, because assessing higher fees for higher bandwidth services would run counter to the FCC’s stated goal of making faster and more robust broadband networks available to a larger segment of the U.S. population.

The Council also refuted claims that demand for broadband is not greatly affected by price, saying that such assertions are based on outdated and inconclusive economic studies.

About the Fiber-to-the-Home Council Americas

 

Now in its eleventh year, the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council is a non-profit association consisting of companies and organizations that deliver video, Internet and/or voice services over high-bandwidth, next-generation, direct fiber optic connections – as well as companies that manufacture FTTH products and others involved in planning and building FTTH networks.  The Council works to create a cohesive group to share knowledge and build industry consensus on key issues surrounding fiber to the home.  Its mission is to accelerate deployment of all-fiber access networks by demonstrating how fiber-enabled applications and solutions create value for service providers and their customers, promote economic development and enhance quality of life. The Council organizes North America’s largest annual FTTH event, the FTTH Conference & Expo, which will be held September 23 – 27, 2012 in Dallas, Texas at the Hilton Anatole.