The USF was mandated as part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to promote a number of agendas, including the availability of quality services at reasonable rates and promoting the availability of such services to low income and rural consumers.
In the filing the UTC states that while it “supports the Commission’s goal of reforming the (USF) to make it fair, efficient and sustainable, it opposes assessments on machine-to-machine communications, including smart meters/smart grid devices. UTC understands the financial pressures that the USF is facing, but machine-to-machine communications do not in any way contribute to the problem. The Commission’s focus should be on services that actually do compete with traditional interstate telecommunications, such as broadband internet access.”
In addition, the UTC believes that assessing machine-to-machine communications would impose undue economical and administrative burdens on multiple parties involved throughout the M2M chain. “Moreover, USF fees on machine-to-machine communications and smart grid devices, including smart meters, would be discriminatory… Finally, as a policy matter, the Commission should exclude machine-to-machine communications, including smart meters/smart grid devices, because assessing such services would stunt the growth of this nascent industry, which will promote various overriding national policy objectives.”
UTC is the international association for the telecommunications and information technology interests of electric, gas and water utilities. UTC’s members support the efficient delivery of essential electric, gas and water services to the public at large. These systems include wired and wireless communications networks that are utilized to support a variety of utility applications, such as smart grid.