WHEREAS, the Universal Service Fund ("USF") was established by the federal government to subsidize telephone service in low income communities, as well as rural and inner-city areas of the country where the cost of providing basic telephone service is high and was expanded by Congress in 1996 to provide support for rural health care providers, schools and libraries; and
WHEREAS, this USF should also be used to enhance services to rural and inner-city healthcare, rural and inner-city schools and rural and inner-city libraries; and
WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") is currently considering changing the way the Universal Service Fund is funded from the current funding mechanism which charges on a usage basis (revenue), and long distance users are charged by their carriers based on the minutes of long distance they use while the proposed new funding mechanism would charge by subscriber (connection), and each long distance customer would pay their long distance carrier the same amount regardless of minutes used; and
WHEREAS, a drastic shift in USF funding support would hardest hit low-income, residential and low-volume long distance users, a disproportionate number of whom are minorities represented by the NAACP; and
WHEREAS, a drastic shift in USF funding support from a usage basis to a subscriber base would mean that residential customers would pay the same as business customers and low volume callers:
- limited use for emergency or security purposes (traveling, coming/going, late at night, etc.);
- children who are away (at college, on a trip, etc.);
- elderly parents who may live alone or travel; and
WHEREAS, the current revenue-based funding methodology provides a very equitable, non-discriminatory and competitively neutral approach to funding the USF fund and the proposed alternative connection based methodology does not.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP oppose any efforts to change the Universal Service Funding methodology; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP encourage its units to communicate with local, state and federal government to encourage them to increase funding from this Universal Services Fund and to enhance services to rural and inner-city health care, rural and inner-city schools and rural and inner-city libraries; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP encourage its units to communicate to the African American community and to the federal, state and local elected officials the importance of maintaining a USF funding methodology that will not harm the very people that the USF was created to protect.