USF and Net Neutrality

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

USF and Net Neutrality

Today is supposed to be just on policy but my heart skipped a beat when I saw an infrared temperature gun at the office. Now what foodie isn't dying to know how hot the burners get or at what temperature the grill is cooking those steaks. However, in the sternest of words I was told, "Do not take this home."  Okay what I heard was "Not today". On to policy...

As a VP at Broadvox, my top concerns with regard to telecom policy are the USF Reform and Net Neutrality. The first, on the surface appears to involve players other than Broadvox. The Universal Service Fund is intended to give rural America equal footing with regard to telecommunications services and prices. However, the USF has been growing at a rate far beyond expectations and the distribution of funds has come under scrutiny. It is therefore assumed and expected that a change in funding and spending policy is needed. Most of the reform will affect wireline and wireless carriers but there could be over reach in the new policies that may influence Internet Service Providers. I'm paying close attention to the decision expected on December 18th.

Net Neutrality is a more obvious policy concern for companies like Broadvox, an ITSP. Today we deliver the same quality of service to our wholesales customers and business customers. The loss of net neutrality would force us and many others to review our business strategies in order to compete in an environment where quality, speed and access become service attributes. The loss of net neutrality will redefine the offerings of many players in this industry. In general, the consumer may be the most affected.

Therefore, what is the new administration's view of these two concerns? On the surface, the pending Obama administration supports USF reform to maintain rural competition, improve services such as wireless and deliver more broadband to rural areas. Moreover, the support for net neutrality seems to be uncompromising. For observers like me, the devil will be in the details.

More on Friday...



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