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February 7, 2005

Members of the Keep USF Fair Coalition Submit 'Fair Share Plan' to the FCC

From: PR Newswire (press release) - Feb 7, 2005

Thirteen National Consumer, Senior, Disability and Minority Organizations Propose a 'Fair Share Plan' Outlining an Equitable and Non-Discriminatory Universal Service Fund Collection Methodology

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- On Monday, January 31, member organizations of the Keep USF Fair Coalition filed the "Fair Share Plan" for Universal Service Fund (USF) collection with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is considering changes to the way it collects money for the USF. Currently consumers pay a percentage of their long distance service bill each month. The FCC is considering switching to a monthly flat fee based on telephone numbers. Under the current revenue system, high volume long distance users pay the most, while those who use less pay less. The new system under consideration would shift the burden of paying for Universal Service to those who use the system the least.

Thirteen national organizations representing millions of residential consumers of all races, ethnicities, abilities and circumstances have expressed their strong opposition to proposals that would replace the current fair revenue-based USF collection system with one based on working telephone numbers. The group's filing proposes a consumer-friendly solution called the "Fair Share Plan," which achieves the goals of ensuring a sustainable and sufficient Universal Service Fund while minimizing the impact on low-volume, low income consumers. A copy of the filing is at

The "Fair Share Plan" proposes to expand the USF contribution base to include all revenues derived from telecommunications, including services using Voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. It proposes to establish a contribution factor cap to be applied to the revenue-based approach; carriers would still be assessed based on revenues up to that cap amount, and would still have the right to charge their end users a USF recovery charge not to exceed the percentage they are charged. The balance of the funds needed to support USF would come from a numbers-based charge. Another plan under consideration, the 50/50 Plan would use numbers to recover one-half of the total USF, while with the "Fair Share Plan's" numbers component would recover only the residual amount needed to meet the demands of the fund, ensuring that the funding burden is not placed on those least able to contribute at higher levels -- low-volume, elderly, rural, minority, disabled, and low-income residential consumers.

The Keep USF Fair Coalition Co-Chairs Gray Panthers and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) submitted the "Fair Share Plan". The following organizations signed on in support of the "Fair Share Plan": Alliance for Retired Americans, American Corn Growers Association, American Council of the Blind, Association of American People with Disabilities, Black Leadership Forum, Consumer Action, Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, Gray Panthers, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association of the Deaf, National Native American Chamber of Commerce, Telecommunications Research and Action Center, World Institute on Disability.

For more information on the "Fair Share Plan" and how the FCC changes will affect you, please visit

CONTACT: Susan Murany, +1-202-737-6637, or Gabriela Lemus, +1-202-833-6130, both of the Keep USF Fair Coalition.

SOURCE Keep USF Fair Coalition
Web Site:

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