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CONTACT: Patrick Ross
November 17, 2004
(202) 289-8928
Universal Service Seminar--December 3
Progress & Freedom Foundation Study Examines Need for Continued Subsidies

WASHINGTON D.C. - Subsidies designed to ensure the availability of telephone service for rural and low-income households, known as universal service, have existed for decades. But a lot has changed in those years, including the end of monopoly phone service, the spread of low-cost, high-speed Internet connections, and the rapid adoption of alternatives such as wireless. On December 3, three scholars in the field will offer Capitol Hill a preview of a new comprehensive study of universal service. The study examines the extent to which various communications services offered by companies other than traditional wireline phone companies are used by various population segments, including lower-income persons and those living in rural areas.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation Congressional Seminar, "The Myths and Realities of Universal Service: Revisiting the Justification for the Current Subsidies," will feature experts offering their feedback on the study’s findings. The discussion, and the paper's subsequent release, will come just weeks before the commencement of the 109th Congress, in which universal service reform is expected to be part of the discussion of a potential rewrite of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The program takes place Friday, December 3 from 12:00 - 2:00 pm, in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room B369.

"The Myths and Realities of Universal Service" is authored by Progress & Freedom Foundation Senior Fellow Randolph May, director of Communications Policy Studies, and two Foundation adjunct fellows, Joseph Kraemer and Richard Levine. The three previously authored "Trends in the Competitiveness of Telecommunications Markets: Implications for Deregulation of Retail Local Services."

Those interested in attending the PFF Congressional Seminar should register online. Lunch will be served. Questions should be directed to Patrick Ross at 202-289-8928 or

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation