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Associations promote Data Connection Support proposal

04.23.15 – NTCA, WTA and NECA updated their proposal for changes to the high cost universal service fund mechanisms to facilitate consumer choice in – and the affordability of – voice and broadband services.

In materials filed Tuesday with the FCC, the associations gave further details of their joint Data Connection Support proposal, which includes a mechanism that would support the ability of consumers living in areas served by small, rural, rate-of-return-regulated carriers to obtain broadband-only connections. The associations first proposed such a mechanism almost two years ago and have been working with the Commission since then to refine it.

The filing describes the mechanism, provides a summary of updated proposed draft rules, and gives a price-out on a study-area specific basis that shows support under the DCS proposal over time.

The associations reiterated their commitment to working with FCC staff and other industry stakeholders to consider a voluntary model-based optional “alt-reg” support path for RLECs who might desire such an option, while work continues on much-needed updates to the foundational high-cost USF programs that enable sustainable universal service in areas served by all such carriers.