Telecommunications: Survey of State Regulatory Commissions (GAO-08-662SP, June 2008), an E-supplement to GAO-08-633

Read the Full Report: Telecommunications: FCC Needs to Improve Performance Management and Strengthen Oversight of the High-Cost Program (GAO-08-633)


Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, state regulatory commissions were given primary responsibility for determining whether a telecommunications carrier is eligible to participate in and receive support from the federal Universal Service Fund’s High-Cost Program. We conducted an Internet-based survey of state regulatory commissions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia to better understand the similarities and differences in states’ roles in the high-cost program, including questions about the state’s process to determine carrier eligibility to participate in the program and annually certify carriers use of program funds, the state’s internal control procedures for ensuring funds are being used appropriately, and the state’s universal service fund, if any. This document presents the results of GAO’s survey of the staff of state regulatory commissions that oversee telecommunications carriers. The responses are presented in aggregate, and do not represent specific state responses.

To help ensure that the survey questions were clear and understandable to respondents, and that we gathered the information that we desired, we conducted pre-tests with relevant officials in five states. The survey was available online to officials in the 50 states and the District of Columbia on a secure Web site. We received complete responses from 50 of the 51 commissions we surveyed, for an overall response rate of 98 percent.

A more detailed discussion of our scope and methodology is contained in our report: “Telecommunications: FCC Needs to Improve Performance Management and Strengthen Oversight of the High-Cost Program” GAO-08-633. We conducted our survey work from December 12, 2007, to February 8, 2008, in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

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