Public Knowledge Applauds Fifth U.S. Circuit Court Decision Affirming Constitutionality of FCC’s Universal Service Fund

Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirms universal service fund and the FCC's actions to connect us all are constitutional. 

Today, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that the universal service fund and that the Federal Communications Commission’s actions in advancing our nation’s universal service goals are constitutional. 

Public Knowledge filed an amicus brief in the case, Consumers’ Research v. FCC, identifying the flaws in the petitioners arguments, arguing that, in fact, Congress had offered the FCC “intelligible principles” for advancing the universal service objectives and that the FCC’s agent, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), was properly delegated authority to oversee the ministerial responsibilities of administering the USF programs. We commend the court for recognizing the crucial role the universal service fund plays in connecting everyone to the essential communications service of our time and the FCC’s authority to advance that mission. 

The following can be attributed to Greg Guice, Director of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:

“Today, the Fifth Circuit denied the petition filed by Consumers’ Research that challenged the constitutionality of the universal service fund. In rejecting the petitioner’s specious arguments, the Fifth Circuit has once again affirmed the importance of our nation’s universal service mission and the FCC’s obligation to ensure it is achieved by placing the program on a sound financial footing. 

“We are pleased that the Fifth Circuit has agreed with our and others’ briefs of the important role of this critical program to advance access to broadband for all people. We hope the Sixth and Eleventh Circuit take notice of this opinion and rule consistently. We look forward to continuing to work with the Commission to preserve and advance universal service.”

You may view our amicus brief for our full arguments in this case.