Telecom companies push USF proposal

At the press conference Thursday, the groups called on the FCC to act quickly and adopt their proposal.

"The time to act is now," said Michael Rhoda, vice president of government affairs for Windstream Communications, an Internet and phone service provider.

"If reform doesn't happen now, my concern is it might not happen for several years," said Derrick Owens, director of government affairs for the Western Telecommunications Alliance.

The groups described broadband as an essential service that can support advancements in education and medical care. Massive broadband deployment to rural areas would create thousands of jobs, they said. 

When asked about complaints from state regulators that the telecom plan would remove their authority, Rhoda said the complaint is really with the idea of reforming the USF and not with the detailed industry proposal.

"The truth of the matter is, the world is changing," he said. "We need to change with it."

Rhoda said he hopes the FCC will adopt the coalition's proposal in its entirety, but acknowledged it is unlikely the FCC would enact the plan without any changes.

"Hopefully those changes won't be disruptive to the framework," he said.