In comments filed with the FCC, Smith Bagley, Inc. urged the Commission to prioritize closing the Digital Divide, to complete the construction of fixed and mobile broadband networks throughout the nation. Before adopting a proposal to cap the fund, the Commission should:
(1) Calculate the amount of funding necessary to take the universal service actions needed to ensure access to advanced broadband services in rural America.
(2) Estimate the amount of time needed to take these actions, in order to expedite deployment of advanced broadband networks in rural America.
(3) Adopt sufficient funding measures to carry out the required tasks within the specified time frame.
Congress instructed the FCC to ensure that universal service mechanisms are specific, predictable, and sufficient to preserve and advance universal service. Accordingly, the Commission should calculate the amount of specific and predictable universal service support that would be sufficient to close the Digital Divide and report to Congress, so that Congress can decide whether corrective action is necessary.
SBI also urged the Commission to prioritize long overdue reforms of the federal contribution mechanism, to broaden the contribution base and make contributions more equitable.
A copy of SBI’s comments can be found here.
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