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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ETEWS report, part 1

Just something to think about from the E-Rate Threat Early Warning System:

A group of telcos met with the FCC to push for adding broadband to the Lifeline and Link Up programs (aka the Low Income Program of the Universal Service Fund (USF)).

It sounds nice, but as I've been saying, the road leading to the death of the E-Rate is paved with good intentions. Adding this program to the USF means that the USF will grow, which means that the contribution will grow, which means we'll all see an increase in our phone bills, which will create pressure to cut USF costs elsewhere.

Of particular concern is the list of companies that visited the FCC: it's mostly cell phone companies. Do they envision the USF subsidizing Web-enabled cell phones for low-income people?

The first paving stone has been laid.

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