A group of seven legislators on both sides of the aisle have pledged their support to a broadband provider-backed proposal to shift federal subsidies from wireline telephone service to providing broadband access. When the USF reform proposal was introduced in July 2011, many legislators, including Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Henry Waxman were critical of the fund, which often subsidizes multiple carriers to offer telephone service to the same area :
"Ultimately, the American consumer is paying for an inefficient and outdated Universal Service Program," Waxman said. "I am encouraged that the FCC is serious about implementing reforms and urge all stakeholders to work towards consensus. The survival of the program requires new thinking and compromise, and I hope the FCC will act quickly and boldly."
Six major telecom carriers (including AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink) announced the plan to overhaul the $4.5 billion fund to redirect the money to deploy broadband in rural areas where the business case to provide service currently does not exist. The proposal is named America's Broadband Connectivity (ABC) plan.
The seven legislator's commented on the plan:
"We support the efforts of the FCC to bring broadband service to communities across the United States, and we encourage the Commission to carefully consider industry proposals that accomplish the goals of reform and that lead to more fiscally responsible, sustainable, and effective programs"