Davis Wright Tremaine hosted a half-day workshop during the COMPTEL PLUS Fall 2012 Convention & EXPO, Oct. 7-10, at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas. The workshop, on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 8:30 a.m., was entitled "A Three-Hour Tour of the New Universal Service Fund: Rough Seas or Smooth Sailing?"
"The Universal Service Fund is rapidly transforming before our eyes. Our workshop will give participants the critical and practical information they need to adapt and thrive in the new era, rather than being left behind and risking lost opportunities, lower revenues and compliance violations," said Davis Wright’s Jim Smith, a former president of COMPTEL and co-host of the workshop along with Davis Wright partners Randy Lowe, Chris Savage, Mark Trinchero and Danielle Frappier.
This workshop provided a nuts-and-bolts overview and progress report on all key aspects of this ongoing transformation, with an emphasis on how competitive providers can meet the new USF program requirements and find new opportunities and profitability in the next generation of the fund. Sessions included:
- Scouting Out the Island: The New Structure of the Universal Service Fund – This panel will provide an overview and status report on key elements of the FCC’s 750-page USF Transformation Order, with emphasis on how the transition from the telephone-centric High Cost Fund to the broadband-oriented Connect America Fund and Mobility Fund will impact carriers and the opportunities that competitive providers can find in the new environment.
- The New Low Income Program (or: Gilligan Needs a Lifeline): How to Cope With the New Requirements and Find New Opportunities in the Lifeline Program – Speakers will discuss the new, drastically altered Low Income Program and the Broadband Adoption Lifeline Pilot Program, and provide a practical primer on the pitfalls and opportunities presented by the new programs.
- Rural Health Care Rulemaking and the Way Forward – Much remains to be done to complete the new USF and achieve its goals: among many other ongoing developments, the FCC has revived its Rural Health Care Program Reform rulemaking and is aiming for a final order by year’s end. This session will provide a timely update with a focus on new opportunities for carriers, such as its proposed new health care connectivity program to expand investment in broadband services and fiber.
Speakers included subject-matter experts from DWT's team of attorneys, as well as representatives from service providers, the Federal Communications Commission and the Universal Service Administrative Company.
View the presentation slides.
Listen to audio from the presentation.