The FCC will propose creating a $4.6 billion fund to support the penetration of high-speed Internet service into underserved areas. The initiative would replace a similar program that currently falls underneath the $8 billion federal Universal Service Fund. This fund was originally designed to reduce the costs of phone service for certain eligible citizens and help fund high-speed infrastructure for schools, libraries and rural hospitals according to an article in NextGov.
FCC officials outlined a plan to move the USF away from traditional telephone subsidies and toward exclusive support of broadband. The proposal will be a key component of the agency’s national broadband plan due out March 16, 2010. The FCC said these changes can be accomplished without Congressional intervention, but the broadband plan will nevertheless recommend Congress approve a $9 billion appropriation (over three years) that would enable the FCC to accelerate the fund’s shift in focus.
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