First, in the spirit of full disclosure, I didn’t take this beautiful picture—although I did try when my cab was whizzing by the Tidal Basin earlier today. The blossoms are just beginning their burst, and the skies are certainly a great deal grayer out here in our nation’s capital today. The fuss over Cherry Blossoms was noteworthy because I always forget what a mess the spectacle makes of D.C.’s already challenged traffic situation. Mike Romano and I found ourselves taking 40 minutes to get to the FCC today for our meeting with FCC Commissioner Pai and his staff. But no worries, both of us are fast talkers so we found a way to ensure that we packed the same discussion in the 20 minutes that we had remaining for our meeting.
Now that folks at the commission can catch their breath a bit, post-net neutrality, we took the opportunity to meet with the commissioner on the universal service contribution methodology and Connect America Fund dockets.
On contribution reform, we urged a thoughtful look at how best to ensure the sustainability and viability of important universal service programs. With respect to the high-cost universal service program, NTCA encouraged the commission to move forward not only with consideration of a voluntary model for those small rural carriers that might seek such an option, but also to redouble efforts on much-needed updates to the “baseline” foundational programs that enable universal service in areas served by all such carriers.
It’s always a constructive discussion with Commissioner Pai and his staff and a great opportunity to share perspectives.
With some key issues resolved at the FCC, like the CAF II program for the mid-sized carriers, it is time to ensure that there is a broadband future for consumers served by the more the 1,000 RLECs providing critical services in the most difficult to serve portions of our country.
Thankfully, after several more policy discussions, the ride back to NTCA was less eventful than the drive in this morning!