Remarks by Acting Chairwoman Mignon L. Clyburn
Re: The Presentation on Universal Service Reform Implementation
June 27, 2013
I am grateful for your presentation on the implementation of reforms to the Universal Service
Fund. It is wonderful to see the many Bureaus and Offices working together to increase
broadband accessibility for the millions of Americans who still lack it.
Being from a rural state and witnessing first-hand the benefits of connecting remote
communities, as well as the enormous costs when communities are off-line, I know that getting
service to those areas that are lacking broadband should be a top priority. I've always said that
we should remain open to taking a hard look, and pursuing course corrections where necessary,
to ensure that our rules are working, to the benefit of rural America.
The sheer volume of work done to modernize USF for the digital age is astounding. Over the
past year, the staff prepared six Commission level orders and issued over 32 orders. They
awarded funding for Phase I of both the Connect America Fund and the Mobility Fund.
Staff also released over 35 public notices, including one addressing the tribal government
engagement obligation. In addition, they created a virtual workshop, where over 25 different
topics related to the Phase II cost model are being discussed. This work will help to bring
broadband wired and wireless to high-cost areas throughout the country.
Looking ahead, we recently announced a second round of funding for Phase I of Connect
America Fund, and later this summer, the carriers will identify the unserved areas that they will
connect with these funds.
I would especially like to recognize the Wireline Bureau for taking gigantic strides in
implementing the forward-looking cost model for Phase II of the Connect America Fund, as well
as staffs' hard work gathering and analyzing data to continue to implement the USF/ICC Reform
. Good information and public input are key to good decisions.
The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau did an outstanding job implementing the Mobility
Fund I, where the winners sought to provide advanced wireless services on up to 83,000 road
miles, in 31 states and one territory - enough coverage miles to travel between Washington, DC
and California more than 35 times. This fall we will conduct the Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I
auction, which will help provide 3G or better mobile voice and broadband services on those
Tribal lands lacking such advanced services.
I would also like to thank the Office of Native Affairs and Policy for their close coordination
with the Bureaus, and for their ongoing efforts to ensure that the voices of Tribal Nations and
Native communities are heard, and incorporated, in these critically important universal service
The work done over this past year by the Wireline Competition Bureau, Wireless
Telecommunication Bureau, and the Office of Native Affairs and Policy, with support from the
Managing Director's and General Counsel's offices, to implement the USF/ICC Reform
an example of the continuity and progress that I will strive to continue.