Universal Service for Americans Act or USA Act - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to require each communications service provider to contribute to support universal service (the provision of communications service in rural, insular, and high-cost areas), subject to exemptions.
Modifies requirements regarding interconnection and rural telephone companies.
Imposes on facilities-based IP-enabled voice service providers the same rights, duties, and obligations as a requesting telecommunications carrier if the provider elects to assert those rights. Prohibits a carrier from refusing to transport or terminate IP-enabled voice traffic solely because it is IP-enabled and prohibits a provider originating, transmitting, or terminating IP-enabled voice traffic from being exempted from paying compensation for interstate traffic solely because the traffic is IP-enabled. Regulates IP-enabled voice service regarding: (1) accessibility for the disabled community; and (2) alarm or security systems or personal security or medical monitoring systems.
Applies universal service provisions to any services under FCC jurisdiction that can effectively substitute for interexchange telecommunications services, including any such substitute classified as an information service that uses telecommunications.
Establishes the Broadband for Unserved Areas Program to provide financial assistance for the deployment of broadband equipment and infrastructure to unserved areas throughout the United States.
Declares that universal service support mechanisms and rules should be competitively neutral.
Requires telecommunications and IP-enabled voice service providers to ensure, as technically possible, that all traffic contains or preserves identification information.
Status of the Legislation
Latest Major Action: 1/4/2007: Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Points in Favor
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Via Ars Technica, the Government Accountability Office recently issued a report entitled “Telecommunications: FCC Needs to Improve Performance Management and Strengthen Oversight of the High-Cost Program.” That’s a nice way of saying...