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FCC Seeks $20 Million More for Universal Service Oversight

The President’s Fiscal Year 2007 budget was released today in which the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is requesting more resources for Universal Service Fund program oversight. Specifically, the FCC is looking for the authority to be able to use $20,480,000 from the Universal Service Fund to “…monitor Universal Service Fund program to prevent and remedy waste, fraud and abuse and to conduct audit and investigations….”

In the FY 2007 budget request, the FCC stated that Universal Service remains an FCC priority and the FCC will continue to ensure “…the viability of the universal service fund to ensure access for consumers in rural and high cost areas and to promote access to advanced services for schools, libraries, and healthcare service providers in rural areas….” The FCC is currently examining E-rate program policies, performance measures, and overall administrative effectiveness, and in order to reach this goal would like to add 26 new full time employees. The FCC Office of Inspector General would receive 12 new employees, the Office of the Managing Director would receive 8 new employees and the Wireline Competition Bureau would receive 6 new employees, all dedicated for the purpose of Universal Service Fund oversight.

The FCC’s budget requests also highlights that as of May 2005, the FCC still had 350 E-rate appeals pending more than 90 days and their goal was to resolve them by the end of the calendar year. Since June 2005 the FCC released approximately one dozen appeal decisions and the backlog of appeals still exists with more E-rate appeals filed every week.

The Complete FCC Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Submission can be viewed on the FCC’s website.

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