Verizon Supports Boucher-Terry Universal Service Reform Legislation

At a Congressional hearing on Thursday (Sept. 16), Verizon endorsed legislation that would update the nation's universal service telecommunications subsidy system and re-purpose funds to make broadband services available to even more consumers in high-cost areas.

In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, Kathleen Grillo, Verizon senior vice president of federal regulatory affairs, reiterated Verizon's support of the Universal Service Reform Act of 2010, introduced by Reps. Rick Boucher, D-Va., and Lee Terry, R-Neb. 

"This bill would transform USF from a voice-based support system to a broadband system and help expand the reach of broadband services to those Americans who still lack access to high-speed networks," Grillo told the subcommittee.  "This important legislation moves the ball forward on the critical issues, including universal service and intercarrier compensation reform, traffic pumping and other matters."  

Grillo underscored the importance of numerous provisions of the bill, including requirements for the Federal Communications Commission to determine support for wireless carriers through competitive bidding, complete inter-carrier compensation reforms within one year, and take action against "traffic-pumping" scams that abuse the system.

"The Universal Service Reform Act puts in place a more rational, competitive bidding system for high-cost USF support to wireless carriers," Grillo said.  "Almost everyone recognizes that today's system is broken.  Among other things, multiple wireless providers get support in the same areas, even where there are carriers that compete without universal service support."

The Verizon executive cited the importance of controlling the cost of universal service: "The high-cost fund is literally at a tipping point," she said.  "Whatever changes we make must be in line with what consumers can reasonably afford."

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 92 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.