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CONTACT: Patrick Ross or Amy Smorodin
December 7, 2005
(202) 289-8928

Forum Today on Universal Service Reform
DACA Working Group To Release Update of Preliminary Report

WASHINGTON D.C. - The Progress & Freedom Foundation will be hosting a public forum today to discuss communications law reform. Discussion will be focused on reforms to the universal service program and an updated preliminary report, including model legislative language, proposed by PFF's Digital Age Communications Act (DACA) Project. The keynote address at the event will be given by U.S. Senator John Sununu (R-New Hampshire), member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

At the event, the DACA Working Group on Universal Service will release an updated version of their preliminary report. Copies of release 2.0 are available on the PFF website and will be distributed at the forum. While the major policy recommendations of a funding cap, performance-based block grants, and numbers tax remain intact, there have been alterations made to the proposal since its initial release. These include:

•  A suggested re-examination of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) broadband program before any expansion of the USF to include broadband is considered

•  Strengthening of auditing requirements to better control how funds allocated for universal service are used

•  Proposals on how universal service should operate in a marketplace that is serviced predominantly by VoIP

Working group members Raymond Gifford (co-chair), PFF President; Michael Riordan (co-chair), Professor of Economics and Business at Columbia University; Adam Peters, Attorney, Kamlet Shepherd & Reichert, LLP; Jerry Ellig, Senior Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University; and Robert C. Atkinson, Executive Director of the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, will present a comprehensive summary of the preliminary report at the event.

Following the presentation, a panel of industry experts will discuss both the specific recommendations from the working group and the future of the universal service program. Panel members will include: Brian Adkins, Legislative Director, Telecom & Water, The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; Jonathan Askin, General Counsel,; Bob Blau, Vice President for Executive and Federal Regulatory Affairs, BellSouth; David Cohen, Vice President, Policy, US Telecom; Kathy Grillo, Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs, Verizon; Kathleen Ham, Managing Director, Regulatory Affairs, T-Mobile; Gary Lytle, Senior Vice President, Federal Relations, Qwest; John Nakahata, Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, LLP; and Nan Thompson, Vice President of Federal Policy at GCI.

The forum will be held in the Thornton Room at the Hyatt Regency, Capitol Hill from 4:00 - 7:00pm. To ensure a place, those wishing to attend should register online. A holiday reception will follow the event. Questions should be addressed to Eileen Goulding at 202-289-8928 or Media should direct queries to Patrick Ross or Amy Smorodin at 202-289-8928 or and, respectively.

The Digital Age Communication Act (DACA) Project was launched in early 2005 with the intent of providing guidance for regulators and legislators on how to address regulatory issues in an era of competing digital services and platforms. DACA consists of dozens of individuals, including PFF fellows, scholars at other think tanks and universities, and public policy officials from the last five presidential administrations. There are five working groups -- Regulatory Framework, Federal/State Framework, Universal Service, Spectrum Policy, and Institutional Reform.

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