July 13, 2006 Bulletin # 105 www.troutmansanders.com
Troutman Sanders Telecommunications Practice Group
Team Leader Williams, Robert P. II
Benedict, Thane Hull, Gerit Kirsner, Matthew B. Kowalski, Raymond A. Lawhon, Joseph R. Ragsdale, Joy M. Schwalb, Eric J. Still, William R. Wilson, David K. Young, Benjamin L. Zdebski, Charles A.
In This Week's Issue:
DEBATE OVER NET NEUTRALITY AND UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND REFORM LINGERS IN THE SENATE
WIRELESS COMPANIES WIN THE FOURTH TIME AROUND
UPDATE: A LEGAL CLOUD ON THE FCC’S SPECTRUM AUCTION FOR ADVANCED WIRELESS SERVICES
AT&T PAYS $550,000 TO SETTLE FCC MATTERS
DEBATE OVER NET NEUTRALITY AND UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND REFORM LINGERS IN THE SENATE By Joy Ragsdale
Net neutrality, universal service fund (“USF”) reform and a national video franchise are three key issues shaping the fate of technological innovation and corporate investment in telecommunications. While these issues have taken center-stage in the debate on Capitol Hill between owners of the network infrastructure and Web-content providers, wireless preemption has crept into the fold pitting state regulators against wireless service providers.
There is less than one month on the congressional calendar to learn whether Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) can agree on federal USF reform. If a compromise can be reached between the two, time may permit Stevens’ bill, Communications, Consumer’s Choice and Broadband Deployment Act, (S. 2686) to reach the floor for vote by the full Senate. However according to recent news reports, Tad Furtado, a telecommunications adviser to Rep. Charles Bass (R-NH) said at a conference panel that a wide policy gulf existed between the two chairman on USF, and the two lawmakers were unlikely to reach a compromise.
Stevens wants to expand the contribution base of USF by assessing cable- modem revenue, as well as including $500 million in additional annual