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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Matthew Wilsonthe lose of nn would not be good for us, but it will not be good for verizion/comcast/att in the long run ether.04/24/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonsadly yes. it would take another sopa day to achieve it.04/24/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI am also confused. Are you saying NN would only become law if Google/Netflix pushed the issue (against their own interests)?04/24/2014 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, you are saying a lot of things but I am still unclear on your point. Are you saying that the loss of Net Neutrality will be good in the long run?04/24/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew WilsonOfcourse it does I never said it did not.though over time the death of NN will make backbone providers like Google, level3 and others stronger becouse most isps including the big ones can not provid internet without them. they can peer with smaller isps04/24/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, and that still plays in Google's favor over their smaller rivals who don't have the muscle to stand up to ISPs.04/24/2014 - 1:45pm
Matthew Wilsongoogle wont pay becouse they control a large part of the backbone that all isps depend on. if verizon blocks their data, google does the same. the effect is Verizon loses access to 40% of the internet, and can not serve some areas at all.04/24/2014 - 1:14pm
Neenekolack of NN is in google and netflix interest. It is another tool for squeezing out smaller companies since they can afford to 'play'04/24/2014 - 12:57pm
Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
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InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
 

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