Verizon Communications and T-Mobile USA have submitted proposals for the national broadband plan called for by Congress and President Barack Obama.
The comments are part of the FCC’s effort to meet its February 17, 2010, deadline to create the plan, which allocates $7.2 billion of the president’s $800 billion stimulus bill to extend broadband coverage to every U.S. resident, especially in underserved rural areas.
Verizon’s proposal includes recommendations to improve cybersecurity, encourage IP-based services and reform the universal service fund (USF).
“…much work remains to be done for broadband to achieve its full potential in the United States,” Verizon said in a statement. “Well over 90 percent of Americans have access to broadband, and most can choose from at least two wireline, three wireless and two satellite broadband providers. This is a level of facilities-based competition hardly seen in any other country in the world. But gaps in access remain in some hard-to-serve, rural areas.”
T-Mobile’s proposal states that mobile broadband should be an essential component of the national broadband plan and calls for additional spectrum that would be obtained by reallocating at least 200 MHz for commercial use.
“[Mobile broadband] builds on today’s successful terrestrial mobile wireless services to provide consumers and businesses with anywhere, anytime access to convenient and productivity enhancing applications,” T-Mobile said in a statement. “Mobile broadband also can support applications that directly benefit consumers, such as public safety and telemedicine, with greater flexibility than wired broadband.”
Separately, Verizon Wireless and CTIA voiced their support for the “Mobile Wireless Tax Fairness Act,” which calls for a five-year halt on new wireless-specific taxes by state and local authorities.
“Wireless customers should not be subject to unfair and discriminatory taxes. This legislation addresses that concern by providing for a ‘time out’ from allowing any more of these taxes from being added to our consumers’ bills,” said Steve Zipperstein, vice president and general counsel at Verizon Wireless, in a statement.
According to statistics compiled by CTIA, the typical consumer pays 15.2 percent of their total wireless bill in federal, state and local taxes, fees and surcharges. Other goods and services have an average tax rate of 7.07 percent.
The bill was introduced by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and is similar to the “Cell Tax Fairness Act,” which attracted bipartisan support in the U.S. House.
Filed Under: Industry regulations