The Universal Service Fund, originally intended to subsidize voice communications for rural and low-income consumers, is steadily transitioning to focus on broadband. In 2011, the High-Cost Fund became the “Connect America” Fund and began to subsidize rural broadband. This year, the White House announced the “ConnectED” program, which increased funding to the Schools and Libraries E-Rate program. And the FCC is currently considering how the Lifeline program can subsidize broadband, rather than voice, connections for low-income people and whether to make subsidies available to even more rural providers.
The Fund, which now collects from consumers and redistributes over $8 billion a year, has long been criticized as inefficient. Is there a way to meet the societal goal of providing some level of broadband service to everyone that is both equitable and efficient? Participants in the 2015 TPI Aspen Forum panel “Universal Service: Towards Broadband, Efficiency and Equity” will discuss strategies and policies to achieve those twin goals and barriers to success.
Speakers for the panel are:
- James Assey, Executive Vice President, National Cable & Telecommunications Association
- Honorable Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
- Thomas Hazlett, H.H. Macaulay Endowed Professor of Economics, Clemson University
- Blair Levin, Executive Director, Gig.U and Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution
- Bradley Wimmer, Professor of Economics, Lee Business School, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
- Scott Wallsten (moderator), Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Institute
The 2015 Forum will also include panels on such topics as: Fall and Rise of the Regulatory State; Whose Rules? Internet Regulations in a Global Economy; Congress and the FCC after Title II; Creative Destruction in the Creative Industries: How Technology is Changing Content Business Models; and Big Data, Privacy and the Internet of Things.
Register now to ensure your space at the conference. For additional information, please contact Jane Creel at [email protected]. Members of the press can contact Amy Smorodin at [email protected] for complimentary registration.
The Technology Policy Institute
The Technology Policy Institute is a non-profit research and educational organization that focuses on the economics of innovation, technological change, and related regulation in the United States and around the world. More information is available at https://techpolicyinstitute.org/.