FCC Wants to use Universal Service Fund for Broadband Expansion in America

October 7, 2011 -

The Federal Communications Commission has been eyeballing a fund traditionally earmarked for rural phone service as a way to fund rural broadband. Most Americans that have a phone pay to fund this rural telephone program through the Universal Service Fund, or USF. When you pay your bill you pay a small stipend into this fund, which the government then uses (or is at least supposed to) towards building phone systems in wildly rural areas.

A new plan announced by the FCC yesterday would refocus the fund towards building rural broadband Internet access instead. Besides connecting these citizens to the rest of the world, the FCC thinks this would also give them opportunities to find jobs, and communicate using modern technologies such as Skype or other web-based VOIP technology.

"We have a system that's broken, frankly and if we don't do this job right, we could end up -- even though we have this wonderful new technology -- with a greater gap than we have right now," said FCC commissioner Michael Copps. "We could put the affluent urban neighborhoods farther ahead and the rural isolated communities farther behind than they are now and that would be a real tragedy when you have this technology that can create opportunity and bridge gaps and bring people together and allow it not to serve those noble purposes."

Copps thinks doing this will be a benefit to everyone because "you get a country that's better informed, better connected, better educated, more competitive, creating jobs, needing less in the way of subsidy or help from the rest of America."

"There's an aspect of this broadband that doesn't get talked about enough but it has to do with our civic dialogue, our media and news and information. Broadband has a tremendous capacity to inform and to enlighten. If we go about our job right, maybe we can pave the next town square of democracy with broadband bricks, but that's going to take a lot of work."

Of course the real benefit to doing this isn't even mentioned by Copps; we don't waste our money on old technology. Why provide just phone infrastructure when we can provide technology that can be used to provide, phone, internet, and entertainment services? We're going to end up spending money on broadband anyway, so why not just do it right the first time?

Source: Marketplace

Image provided by Shutterstock.com Copyright GTibbetts. All Rights Reserved.


Comments

Re: FCC Wants to use Universal Service Fund for Broadband ...

I can back this as long as there is an oversight committee in place to MAKE SURE the funds are used for this express purpose.

Re: FCC Wants to use Universal Service Fund for Broadband ...

As someone currently spending time in a rural area, I wholeheartedly agree. The research station I'm working at uses a 1mb connection to service offer 25 business computers. Supposedly the ISP is bring a 10mb line out here next year.

Also, there needs to be a news source with a bigger view than who fell down a well this week, thank you internet.

-Austin from Oregon

Feel free to check out my blog.

Re: FCC Wants to use Universal Service Fund for Broadband ...

Given how often broadband providers have sued (successfully) to stop rural areas from building their own.. there would be some justice in this.

Re: FCC Wants to use Universal Service Fund for Broadband ...

I'm actually in favor of this. I have lived in rural areas most of my entire life (the parts that I remember anyway) and we had 56k dialup for a long‚Äč time. Our only options at the time were to keep our dialup or go with the unreliable and pricey satellite connections. I know we're not going to beat Korea in any sort of connectivity race, but this seems like a step in the right direction.

 

Managing Editor at The Best Game Site Ever

Re: FCC Wants to use Universal Service Fund for Broadband ...

It would need to keep going that way if the USA ever wants to reclaim that title.

Re: FCC Wants to use Universal Service Fund for Broadband ...

Is there an echo in here?

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: FCC Wants to use Universal Service Fund for Broadband ...

Is there an echo in here?

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

 

 
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Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
Matthew WilsonSF have to build upwards they have natural growth limits. they can not grow outwards. ps growing outwards is terable just look at Orlando or Austin for that.04/16/2014 - 4:15pm
ZippyDSMleeIf they built upward then it would becoem like every other place making it worthless, if they don't build upward they will price people out making it worthless, what they need to do is a mix of things not just one exstreme or another.04/16/2014 - 4:00pm
Matthew Wilsonyou know the problem in SF was not the free market going wrong right? it was government distortion. by not allowing tall buildings to be build they limited supply. that is not free market.04/16/2014 - 3:48pm
ZippyDSMleeOh gaaa the free market is a lie as its currently leading them to no one living there becuse they can not afford it makign it worthless.04/16/2014 - 3:24pm
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Matthew Wilsonthe issue is when is doesn't work it can screw over millions in new york city's case. more often than not it is better to let the free market run its course without market distortion.04/16/2014 - 9:36am
NeenekoTrue, and overdone stagnation is a problem. It is a tricky balance. It does not help that when it does work, no one notices. Most people here have benifited from rent controls and not even realized it.04/16/2014 - 9:23am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/04/15/riaa_files_civil_suit_against_megaupload04/16/2014 - 8:48am
ZippyDSMleeEither way you get stagnation as people can not afford the prices they set.04/16/2014 - 8:47am
Neenekowell, specifically it helps people already living there and hurts people who want to live there instead. As for 'way more hurt', majorities generally need less legal protection. yes it hurt more people then it helped, it was written for a minority04/16/2014 - 8:30am
MaskedPixelantehttp://torrentfreak.com/square-enix-drm-boosts-profits-and-its-here-to-stay-140415/ Square proves how incredibly out of touch they are by saying that DRM is the way of the future, and is here to stay.04/16/2014 - 8:29am
james_fudgeUnwinnable Weekly Telethon playing Metal Gear http://www.twitch.tv/rainydayletsplay04/16/2014 - 8:06am
ConsterTo be fair, there's so little left of the middle class that those numbers are skewing.04/16/2014 - 7:42am
Matthew Wilsonyes it help a sub section of the poor, but hurt both the middle and upper class. in the end way more people were hurt than helped. also, it hurt most poor people as well.04/16/2014 - 12:13am
SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
 

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