Google joined with Skype, Vonage, Sprint Nextel and the Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee in urging the FCC to abandon the legacy universal service fund (USF) system in favor of a new broadband fund that provides support for IP-based networks. The proposal is an alternative to a plan for USF and intercarrier compensation reform agreed to by the United States Telecom Association (USTA) and other groups connected to the wireline carrier industry. The Google group outlined its proposals in comments that respond to the USTA plan and that were due to be filed with the FCC on Wednesday. Among other things, the framework agreement signed by USTA and nine other groups that include AT&T, Verizon, OPASTCO, and the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association calls for (1) a high-cost USF budget period that would run between 2012 and 2017 and provide a maximum $4.5 billion in annual funding, (2) an annual funding target of $300 million to achieve the FCC’s mobility objectives, (3) annual funding targets for rate-of-return and price-cap carriers, and (4) phased-in reductions of terminating switched access and reciprocal compensation rates to $0.00007 per minute over an eight-year period. Declaring, “the FCC must ensure that USF and intercarrier compensation charges are in keeping with the goals of the National Broadband Plan” (NBP), the Google group advised the FCC that, in accordance with the tenets of the Connect America Fund (CAF) that were outlined in the NBP, “the most logical and helpful step is for the FCC to shift all subsidies to support broadband deployment and operations over a phase-in period, while at the same time eliminating the implicit subsidies that continue to distort user and network provider decisions.” Asserting that a full transition from legacy wireline to IP-based networks “is in our country’s best interest,” the Google group recommends a target date of 2016 for the transition of funding support to IP networks. The Google group further advised that any funds geared toward broadband deployment should be “technologically neutral.”