|Will the FCC Impose Fees on Smart Grid Connections?|
by Michael H. Pryor | EL&P | Aug 2012
Smart grid connections are proliferating, with some 36 million smart meters' having been deployed in the United States, according to a May study. The Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE) estimates this number will nearly double to 65 million smart meters deployed in nearly half of all households by 2015. Smart grid connections are one example of the burgeoning machine-to-machine (m2M) services market, which will create a mammoth "Internet of Things" in coming years.
This proliferation of connected devices has caught the attention of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is looking for new revenue sources to pay for the federal Universal Service program. The FCC is assessing whether to broaden the base of entities and services that would be required to contribute to the program, as well as the mechanism for assessing such fees. Among the many proposals under FCC consideration is fees on smart grid connections.
The Federal Universal Service Program
fac: the proposed USF fee would be in addition to its utility industry kin, the SBC fee, standing for service benefit charge, which every subscriber pays already?]