On behalf of its members, wireless association CTIA told the FCC late last week that proposed cuts in universal service fund (USF) support for wireless competitive eligible telecommunications carriers (CETCs) could undermine the deployment of rural wireless broadband networks as envisioned by the FCC in the National Broadband Plan (NBP). CTIA’s remarks are included in reply comments that respond to the FCC’s proposal to replace the USF high-cost system with a “Connect America” fund that would provide USF support for broadband networks as recommended by the NBP. Although the NBP also recommends the establishment of a “Mobility Fund” that would provide “one-time support for deployment of [third-generation] networks, to bring all states to a minimum level of 3G (or better) mobile service availability,” the FCC’s notice contemplates the reduction of USF support to CETCs that, on a year-to-year basis, have accounted for ever-expanding proportions of the total USF outlay. In its filing, CTIA called on the FCC to “resist unjustified invitations to slash support for wireless services prematurely,” as wireless CETCs “are using USF support to deploy wireless networks in rural America.” Adding, “there is no evidence that current CETC support levels are unreasonable,” the group argued that, “given the tectonic shift in consumer preference toward mobile services, it is not surprising that support to [CETCs] has grown.” While applauding the FCC’s goal “that the United States must lead the world in broadband,” CTIA said the agency “has yet to clarify its long-term vision for how the reforms proposed in this proceeding will advance those goals,” as “the proposed Mobility Fund appears far too limited to assure the availability of mobile services everywhere people live, work and travel, and it is unclear whether the Connect America Fund will support mobile services.” Voicing support for CTIA’s filing, a spokesman for the Rural Cellular Association declared, “I’m not saying all of our [members] are saints, but most of our [members] use USF to do exactly what it was intended to do and that is to . . . provide coverage and new innovative services to those areas that they could not otherwise economically justify.”