The Universal Service Fund, a $4.5 billion annual pool of money that is intended to ensure nationwide phone service in high-cost areas and also funds the e-Rate, is outdated and promotes inefficiency, U.S. phone companies told federal lawmakers on March 12 -- but the companies largely disagreed over how to fix it, Reuters reports. In a hearing before the House Commerce Committee's subcommittee on telecommunications, AT&T and Verizon called for competitive bidding to set fund awards. Some also want its annual total capped. Rural carriers, though, said funding should stay based on actual costs, and they said a cap would...

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