Congress Concerned Over Master Cap
On July 9, 2019, 14 Members of the House of Representatives sent the FCC a letter opposing the idea of imposing a Universal Service Fund Master Cap. On May 31, 2019, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on creating a budget cap on the overall Universal Service Fund. The FCC "…seeks comment on combining the E-Rate and Rural Healthcare Program caps. Schools, libraries, and healthcare facilities increasingly offer important community resources over their broadband networks. Combining the program caps may be justifiable given that both programs promote the use of advanced services to anchor institutions that have similar needs for high-quality broadband services…"
The Members of Congress argue that “…imposing an overall cap on USF would unnecessarily cut funding to USF programs. As you acknowledge in your Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the programs currently operate with caps or targeted budgets. Furthermore, USF funds are collected based on demand, meaning when demand declines, a program may come in under its cap or budget. Imposing a cap would restrict access to these funds when demand increases, undermining the purpose of USF…..Furthermore, we believe it is detrimental to the goal of universal service to put the various USF programs in direct competition for USF funds….”
The Congressional Opposition Letter can be found here.