Annual Duplication & Cost Savings Report
On April 26, 2018, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued an annual report that identified areas where the Federal Government can better achieve efficiency, effectiveness or cost savings or revenue tied to various Federal programs. One of the areas highlighted was the recent FCC decision to move USF monies from a private bank to the U.S. General Treasury. According to the GAO report, “…moving the USF funds from a private bank to the U.S. Treasury could eliminate at least $1 million in annual fees paid to a private bank to manage investments…”
The GAO report further clarified additional benefits of moving USF to the General Treasury. The GAO explained that “….if the FCC determines that some technology revenues, such as text messaging revenues, require USF fees, the FCC could additionally increase collections for universal service programs by millions of dollars per year. Or conversely, if FCC determines these revenues are not subject to fees, USF contribution requirements typically passed through to customers could be reduced..”
On May 3, the House Energy Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone and Rep Peter Welch issued a joint statement expressing their continued concern with the FCC’s decision to transfer the USF monies to the U.S. Treasury. FCC Chairman Pai recently sent a letter to Members of Congress about this particular issue as many USF stakeholders had concerns that Congress could then take USF monies for other purposes than to support the Universal Service Programs. FCC Chairman Pai in his letter stated that “…despite any suggestion to the contrary, moving the accounts to the U.S. Treasury will not allow fund monies to be used for any other purpose other than supporting the universal deployment of voice and broadband services.”
The full April Government Accounting Office report can be viewed here.