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Pai Statement on Status of Universal Service Reform Implementation

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Released: November 14, 2013

STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

ON THE STATUS OF UNIVERSAL SERVICE REFORM IMPLEMENTATION

November 14, 2013

I would like to thank the staff of the Wireline Competition Bureau, the Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau, and the Office of Native Affairs and Policy for all of their hard work
implementing the historic Universal Service Transformation Order. That work has been plentiful. By
my count, the Transformation Order delegated decision-making authority over universal service issues to
the Bureaus 22 separate times. You’ve met the challenge by being prolific over the past two years—no
small feat given the complexity of these issues.
But it’s not just quantity. I’ve also been impressed by the quality of your efforts implementing
Phase II of the Connect America Fund. The high caliber of your work is much appreciated, and I am glad
the Commission recognizes it today.
Turning to reforms impacting rate-of-return carriers, I remain concerned about the impact of the
quantile regression analysis (QRA) benchmarks on broadband deployment. I am pleased both that the
Bureau has suspended the benchmarks for Alaskan carriers and that the Commission has made some
improvements to those benchmarks for other carriers over the course of the past year. But I continue to
believe that the QRA benchmarks are chilling the build-out of next-generation networks in rural America.
I hope that under Chairman Wheeler’s leadership, the Commission will take a fresh look at this problem
and adopt additional reforms to provide rural carriers with predicable universal service support in a
fiscally responsible manner.

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