AT&T agrees to USF condition

AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing Wednesday that he would accept a condition on his proposed merger with T-Mobile preventing his company from using Universal Service Fund (USF) money to pay for a major broadband goal. 

Asked by Antitrust subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) if he would accept such a condition, Stephenson said yes. AT&T had previously said that it did not require USF money to meet a pledge to expand advanced wireless access to 97 percent of the population, but had yet to agree to a condition. 

USF is a fund collected by a surcharge on consumer telephone bills, and much of it will be diverted to broadband over the next several years. Background here