(The Hosting News) – In the past, the U.S. government has invested in telephone subsidization, helping spread communication in the area throughout the country. Now it appears it’s past that time. On Thursday, the FCC approved a plan to shift the funds towards broadband investment.
How exactly are the funds raised? According to the Wall Street Journal, the money is from a smaller fee charged within phone bills, all going to the Universal Service Fund.
With the FCC’s goal, doing this can get four and a half billion dollars annually – all aimed at providing broadband to 18 million U.S. homes that don’t currently have it.
Outlining the plan on their official website, the FCC stated, “Broadband has gone from being a luxury to a necessity for full participation in our economy and society – for all Americans. For that reason, the FCC has adopted comprehensive reforms of its Universal Service Fund (USF) and Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) systems to accelerate broadband build-out to the 18 million Americans living in rural areas who currently have no access to robust broadband infrastructure.”
In comments provided by Business Week, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski stated, “We are taking a system designed for the Alexander Graham Bell era of rotary telephones and modernizing it for the era of Steve Jobs and the Internet future he imagined.”
Despite the good efforts, the initiative (called Connecting America) isn’t without controversy. The Wall Street Journal reported that consumer advocacy group Consumer Union argued against the move, saying it would hurt consumers.
In August, the FCC released a report on broadband in the U.S., indicating that broadband providers have been more accurately advertising prices as compared to just a couple years ago. To view more on the FCC’s plan, visit: http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/connecting-america