Print 30 comment(s) - last by Lerianis.. on Dec 5 at 11:30 AM

Universal Service fund pays for rural telephone service today

One of the best ways to get broadband service into the homes in rural areas is by using wireless airwaves. The problem for wireless broadband providers is that the airwaves used for wireless services don’t travel as far and are not as strong as those used by TV broadcasters.

The FCC is looking at many different methods of getting wireless broadband into the homes of rural Americans. One of the methods being considered is taking some of the airwaves currently allocated to TV broadcasters and giving them to wireless broadband providers. The term give is too strong, the airwaves are worth billions of dollars, and auctions would be held to sell the airwaves if they were taken from broadcasters and used for wireless broadband services.

The FCC is also looking at reallocating  the federal phone-subsidy program to allow some of the funds in the program to be used to support wireless broadband services in rural areas according to the Wall Street Journal. The fund in question is the Universal Service Fund (USF), which is a federal program funded by consumers though a charge on each phone bill. The funds are currently used to subsidize phone service in rural areas and to provide service to low income homes. Plans to revamp the USF in the past have been met with staunch resistance by broadcasters and their supporters in Washington.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said, "USF is a multibillion dollar annual fund that continues to support yesterday's communications infrastructure. We need to reorient the fund to support broadband communications." The FCC is already working to identify airwaves that could be reclaimed from broadcasters.

If the FCC moved forward with the plan to take airwaves back from broadcasters, estimates peg the cost of buying the airwaves back at $12 billion. The estimated value of the airwaves when auctioned off to wireless providers is estimated to be $64 billion.

Genachowski said, "Much of what we see suggests that mobile broadband can be the pre-eminent platform for innovation in the next decade. To be the global leader in innovation 10 years from now, we need to lead the world in wireless broadband. We will need to find ways to free up new spectrum to mobile broadband. This will require examining old allocation decisions."

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

The USF is in serious trouble
By OUits on 12/2/2009 3:30:16 PM , Rating: 1
From what I remember from my telecom regulations class, the USF receives funding in a roundabout way. Something like every telco pays X% of their interstate revenue (Long distance charges) into the USF. As long distance rates decrease, total interstate revenue decreases, and the X% must go up to maintain the level of funding. Now that most phone companies offer free long distance, interstate revenue is almost completely nonexistant. This trend will continue until the USF is entirely dysfunctional.

Telco's, regulators, and legislators know this. Add in the fact that Vonage and other VoIP providers are regulated as ISP's and don't pay USF, E911, Access charges, etc, the funding model that has helped make nationwide communications possible is quickly breaking down. Basically, the FCC is fucking CRAZY if they think they can accomplish more things with an ever-shrinking pool of money.

By wetwareinterface on 12/3/2009 8:52:41 AM , Rating: 2
the usf is also collected under the universal lifeline fee on everyone's bill that doesn't recieve universal lifeline subsidization.

and the whole stupid debate is just that, stupid. the FCC is trying to take some money that is collected to do a task that is no longer required and re-allocate it towards something more useful. also in their plan they are realizing that they allocated too much frequency spectrum to television and wish to buy some of that back and re-apply to a different function that will benefit from the spectrum.

no one is going to go without phone service or television because of this proposal. quite the opposite as some people may be able to do voip calling and ip t.v. more under this proposal and save money doing it than using cable/sattelite t.v. or land lines.

RE: The USF is in serious trouble
By Lerianis on 12/5/2009 11:30:09 AM , Rating: 2
Easy answer to that problem... simply add the USF to broadband in this country as well! Add it to wireless communications as well!

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
Related Articles

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki