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Commission Document Attachment

FCC-14-116A2

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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER MICHAEL O'RIELLY

Re:

Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, CC Docket No. 96-45, Universal Service

Contribution Methodology, WC Docket No. 06-122, A National Broadband Plan for Our Future,

GN Docket No. 09-51.

Over the past few years, the Commission has undertaken significant reforms to how universal

service support is distributed, but has not addressed how such funding is collected from carriers and,

ultimately, from American ratepayers, who are already paying fees of approximately 16% on their phone

bills to sustain the current subsidy system. Moreover, because there is no overall cap on the universal

service fund, the spending reforms are putting increased pressure on an ailing contributions system.

Accordingly, I will support this referral.

As we start down this important path, however, I would caution that contributions reform should

not be seen as a backdoor way of increasing the size of the universal service fund or imposing new fees

on the Internet. For example, I would be concerned by any effort to assess IP addresses. I hope that the

Joint Board, and ultimately the Commission, will consider reforms that modernize contributions without

inhibiting broadband investment or imposing additional burdens on the consumers that pay to support

universal service.

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