backtop


Print 63 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Feb 14 at 6:36 AM


FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski  (Source: LA Times)
Funding redirection could bring high-speed access to new areas of the country

The Universal Services Fund (USF) was an initiative put in place by former U.S. President Bill Clinton's Federal Communication Commission in 1997.  The USF takes a large cut out of consumer phone bills -- approximately 15 percent out of a long-distance bill, for example -- and redirects that money to funding landline telephone service to low-income rural areas, and providing broadband at public institutions.

Over time the usefulness of landline phones has faded, but the FCC continues to pour money into that aspect of the effort.  In his bid to beef up our nation's broadband, U.S. President Barack Obama's appointed FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, is looking to scrap that funding and redirect it to promoting broadband in rural areas.

He proposed the change during a speech [PDF] at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.  He stated:

In the 21st century, high-speed Internet, not telephone, is our essential communications platform, and Americans are using wired and wireless networks to access it. But while the world has changed around it, USF -- in too many ways -- has stood still, and even moved backwards.

Currently the landline fund eats up $4.3B USD a year, while the broadband fund only gets a chunk of the remaining money.  Chairman Genachowski suggests a gradual fadeout of the telephone funding, transitioning that money to a new broadband deployment and support fund designed to push broadband into rural areas.

The new fund, formally titled the Connect America Fund, would aim to cover 24 million Americans with broadband.  Chairman Genachoski complains that the USF is becoming outdated and needs the changes.  He states, "The fund pays almost $2,000 per month -- more than $20,000 a year -- for some households to have phone service. And in many places, the existing system funds four or more phone companies to serve the same area."

The speech came with the filing of a "Notice For Proposed Rule-Making" (NFPRM).  This is the FCC's way of giving the public chance to comment.

Wireless service providers like Verizon and rural broadband providers have expressed enthusiasm about the shift.  Thus far rural landline operators have kept quiet, but they're unlikely to appreciate the measure.



Comments     Threshold


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

RE: another option
By tastyratz on 2/8/2011 12:26:33 PM , Rating: 5
everyone in a rural area can *not* get satellite. Satellite is expensive, slow, and requires property owner consent to install a big dish on top of your house. Renters, historic housing, and low income markets all are not ideal.

Dial up is no longer just an inconvenience, the web has evolved beyond it and it can be compared to walking to work vs driving to work. Anything is possible in time but the benefit is just not there anymore.

Development of these rural areas will require utilities - and the internet is just as much of a utility as electricity/water/phone/etc. now. Without them our cities get denser and more widely spaced.

The USA is behind because our (self allowed) monopolizing internet providers only deploy and upgrade in the most profitable of markets. That means unless you live in a fairly populated area you will NEVER get service.

That being said I think it is a good concept where execution is clearly poor. It would be nice if this money really went towards the goals and ideas it was collected for - instead of say... padding the pockets of large phone companies that never deliver promised infrastructure.


RE: another option
By tastyratz on 2/8/2011 12:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
I forgot to mention members of homeowners associations, and people with homes that have no clear sky direct view (like having a tree... or another house for example in the way of the direct path.

I myself do not live in a rural area and have my choices, but I can see a problem with the "move somewhere else" view the privileged seem to have.


RE: another option
By StevoLincolnite on 2/8/2011 12:39:53 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
But I can see a problem with the "move somewhere else" view the privileged seem to have.


Not only that, but allot of people who live in remote areas are also farmers.

Would be interesting to see how city-elitists would feel/act if the farmers were not farming to provide food on their plates because they were forced to live in a city.


RE: another option
By mcnabney on 2/8/2011 1:44:10 PM , Rating: 5
When I went to bed last night broadband internet was not a right. What changed?


RE: another option
By tastyratz on 2/8/11, Rating: 0
RE: another option
By Taft12 on 2/8/2011 3:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
I think the demonstrations that happened recently in Egypt, mostly organized through the internet (and the government's move to shut down the internet as a result) makes it abundantly clear that it might be the most important tool we citizens have in the 21st century.


RE: another option
By ebakke on 2/8/2011 11:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
Americans became greedy, selfish brats that feel entitled to everything and have no problem stealing from someone else to pay for those entitlements. "You have fast internet, and I want fast internet!! So I'll vote for someone who will forcibly take your money and build me some high speed internet infrastructure!"


RE: another option
By wookie1 on 2/8/2011 2:05:39 PM , Rating: 2
Farmers don't produce food as a public service. They do it to sustain themselves and hopefully have a little extra at the end of the day. Somehow I think that the farmers are still going to produce even if they aren't subsidized with broadband. Some may choose to get service, others may not care one way or the other. Farmers have produced food for thousands of years without broadband, but all of a sudden now they won't because the city slickers have broadband and they don't?


RE: another option
By tastyratz on 2/8/2011 2:42:12 PM , Rating: 2
Depends. Farmers in Florida grew oranges and sold them to people in Florida. Now they ship Florida oranges around the country if not world DRASTICALLY increasing their sales revenue. "thousands" of years ago your market was as far as you could wheel your goods and pitch them. Try to do that these days and remain competitive with those which are connected and you will realize your at a great disadvantage.

The old fashioned way worked fine when it was the only way to do it. Now it means you might have 10% the sales 300% the overhead and may never survive in your target market as a result. "Thousands" of years ago if your competition had better tools you were not as competitive, and the same applies today.


RE: another option
By wookie1 on 2/9/2011 10:57:30 AM , Rating: 2
Why is it my responsibility (and all of the other taxpayers) to offset these competitive disadvantages? I agree that if I were running a business and didn't use the internet, that I may be at a disadvantage to other businesses that did outfit themselves with broadband. So I would then outfit myself with broadband. I wouldn't demand that all of the taxpaying citizens of the country outfit me with it.


RE: another option
By delphinus100 on 2/8/2011 10:34:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Farmers don't produce food as a public service. They do it to sustain themselves and hopefully have a little extra at the end of the day.


quote:
Farmers have produced food for thousands of years without broadband, but all of a sudden now they won't because the city slickers have broadband and they don't?


We're not talking about subsistence farmers who grow just enough to feed themselves. A family farm is, at the very least, a small business that has to make a profit.

Could you run a small business (and one that's inherently some distance from an urban area) without at least telephone service, in the 21st Century? I'm thinking not.

Now, broadband Internet access is not as utterly necessary to that end, it's true. But increasingly desirable? Yes.


RE: another option
By wookie1 on 2/9/2011 11:00:16 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not talking about subsistence farmers, either. I don't think that the traditional family farmer pulls in a big truckload of cash, though.

I probably couldn't run a small business without a telephone, or electricity, or water, so I would definitely plan on budgeting for those necessary inputs. Hey, it's cool if I can get the taxpaying public to cover my operational costs, but should I reasonably expect that?


RE: another option
By spamreader1 on 2/10/2011 2:11:44 PM , Rating: 2
Most family farmers, even larger ones, don't get to set thier own prices on most products (milk and eggs, largest example). Everythings regulated at state and federal levels. Where you can budget the necessary inputs, farmers have to sacrifice as it is for telco service, many areas are cooperatives that aren't even being fed these funds mentioned in the article, and are paid by the members of the cooperatives. (rural electric is the same in most cases, especially since electric deregulation, I personally pay 33 cents per kw/h now...)

I live on a hobby farm, meaning I don't expect to make a profit, and as such make my money in the IT sector. I use cdma broadband (att aircard) due to the 1500ms lag time of satalite is prohibitive to do any remote access (300ms is doable). There are options available in may locations that are covered by wireless carriers as well as dish for those who don't have access to wireless carrier networks. In areas that have wireless coverage for cell phones I think it would be great to stop supporting the rural telephone network, most of us can't justify the $80+/mo to have a land line anyway, when cell phones are 1/2 the cost. I'd be really interested to see where these funds go, I've lived in rural areas of Texas for most of my life, and to my knownledge the only subsidy employed for telco was the initial investment made when they inacted the rural electric stuff anyway.


RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/8/11, Rating: 0
RE: another option
By monitorjbl on 2/8/2011 1:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, we "industrialized" like, 150 years ago. Why would the requirements of our citizens have stayed the same? The fact is, we're way past "industrialized" now. Also, towns are created under the authority of the state in which they reside. As such, its not just "their" decision to live there, it's the entire state's.


RE: another option
By DanNeely on 2/8/2011 1:21:42 PM , Rating: 5
You don't have a right to be provided with meat, or fruits, or vegetables, much less grains. Those are the luxiries of an agrarian economy.

If you choose to live in the middle of an area incapable of supporting agriculture (cities, towns, suburbs with HOAs), that's your choice. You have to accept the consequences of the decision. Why should the rest of us have to work for minimum wage to feed you to exercise your choice to live in there?

We're not talking about small towns. We're talking about enormous cities of millions of people who can't begin to feed even 1% of their population.

/retroll


RE: another option
By mcnabney on 2/8/2011 1:47:55 PM , Rating: 1
You do understand that there is very little local variety in agriculture outside of California and Florida.

Go up to Iowa and Nebraska. Agricultural powerhouses. Nothing but miles and miles of corn and soybeans. Probably not the best diet available. The folks that live there get their produce from California, cheese from Wisconsin, and beef from Texas just like everyone else.

Food is a portable commodity.
Broadband is a service.


RE: another option
By swampthing1117 on 2/8/2011 2:07:42 PM , Rating: 4
ok i live in iowa, you have no clue of what you speak. Corn and soybeans are major crops here, yes. Now think what that corn and soy is used for, the multitude of products you wouldn't have without especially soy. You really think the rest of the country doesn't depend on that soy heavily?

We don't get beef from texas in iowa, are you nuts? Iowa corn fed beef is some of the best in the US. Pork is also a HUGE export and industry in iowa, i mean HUGE. Iowa is biggest pork producing state in the country.

Cheese from wisconsin? are you serious? Not much cheese here is from wisconsin. There's some but it's not like wisconsin is the only place that makes cheese, there's actually tons of cheese plants in iowa.

For that matter, agriculture is not even iowa's biggest industry. Manufacturing is, it's 23% of the economy here. Agriculture which includes, fishing and hunting and forestry is only 3.5% of the economy. Retail actually doubles agriculture here.

next time actually know what you speak of as you seemingly know nothing at all about iowa. All you did was list a bunch of regional stereotypes, almost none of which are true. Iowa an agricultural powerhouse?

No, not even close, more like a manufacturing powerhouse.


RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 1:46:41 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
You don't have a right to be provided with meat, or fruits, or vegetables, much less grains. Those are the luxiries of an agrarian economy.


Absolutely right.

No one has the right to anything anyone else does. You have food, water, electricity, etc because people chose to start a business to provide you with it. And if you want the fruits of their businesses, you are supposed to earn a living in order to purchase those things. You're not just given them.

And internet is even less of a necessity. No one dies from not having the internet. It is not a right. It is a luxury. If you want to live in the country, you have to accept that you're not going to have all the luxuries of someone living in a big city. And you accept that life for your children as well.


RE: another option
By silverblue on 2/8/2011 1:57:48 PM , Rating: 1
If you want to live in the city, you have to accept that you're not going to have all the luxuries of someone living in the country. Fresh air springs to mind.

I reckon, to balance this out, rural homeowners should pay less for their food as it costs less to transport it to them. People living near refineries should pay less to fill their cars. Can you imagine the outcry that would result if absolutely everything was charged this way?

Telecomms companies wouldn't fall down overnight if they provided a basic broadband service to a rural town or two.


RE: another option
By Jaybus on 2/8/2011 4:16:50 PM , Rating: 2
It has nothing to do with rights, civil or otherwise. Do the inner-city poor have a right to free money? Are subsidies for inner-city business development a necessity? Electric vehicles are completely useless in rural areas, yet they are subsidized. I the government is going to subsidize things that are only useful in the cities, then it is certainly fair to subsidize a fiber build out in rural areas.


RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/9/2011 10:26:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do the inner-city poor have a right to free money?


No.

quote:
Are subsidies for inner-city business development a necessity?


No.

quote:
Electric vehicles are completely useless in rural areas, yet they are subsidized.


And they shouldn't be.

A bunch of wrongs don't make a right.


RE: another option
By theapparition on 2/8/2011 1:56:43 PM , Rating: 3
While I somewhat disagree with the OPs view, your reply was beyond stupidity.

Those who farm for a living only make money by selling thier harvest. Without those ridiculous city people, the famers wouldn't have enough money to continue farming.

With that said, Internet access is not a right for anyone. The US is blessed with lots of land mass, so a comparison to a tiny European or Asian country is ridiculous. About the only fair comparison would be to Australia. And ask some there what they pay for internet access?

My concern is that the government has been taking my telecom tax money and "giving" it right back to the same companies whom then aren't using it towards the intended goal. Much better that the government then either loan that money, and collects interest (which lowers tax burdens) or creates the infrastructure themselves and sells it to the free market. But that last idea is somewhat hard to swallow as some will say that's the beginning of state run utilites. I'm not quite that cynical, but I do have a hard time believing that the government can manage anything efficiently.


RE: another option
By monitorjbl on 2/8/2011 3:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Those who farm for a living only make money by selling thier harvest. Without those ridiculous city people, the famers wouldn't have enough money to continue farming.


The rest of your post is opinion and that's fine with me even if I happen to disagree with it, but this is just flat-out wrong and for one reason or another it irks me. Maybe it's because I know a few farmers, and I bet it would outright piss them off. Cities DO depend on farmers, not the other way around; farmers have been farming for thousands of years, before big cities even existed. They sold and ate their crop just the same in smaller communities, its just that their farms were correspondingly smaller since there were less people. Cities on the other hand can't grow their own food in quantities large enough to support their populations, they absolutely depend on farms outside their borders to supply their citizens with food.


RE: another option
By theapparition on 2/8/2011 4:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
But you hit the nail on the head. Most "farms" have become big scale operations that are unsustainable without massive sales of thier harvest.

The smaller ones might grow enough to sustain themselves. But the roadside stand doesn't pay the mortgage, taxes, farm equipment, feed, fertilizer, etc. Not to mention electricity, gas, diesel, and of course the most important thing.....internet access.

Again, I'm not dismissing farming. It's a nobel occupation, one where people work very hard. But today's farming is not like 2000 years ago. Cities do depend on farming, and farming just as much on cities. And trust me, not one farmer wants to go back to the old days of struggling to pull a plow behind an ox.

It's utterly stupid to argue that it's anything but a benificial symbiotic relationship.


RE: another option
By monitorjbl on 2/8/2011 5:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
It's symbiotic now, but it's only necessary for the farms to be this way because of how important the relationship between cities and farms is today. They essentially depend on each other in their current states but if you took the farms right now, the cities would starve, crumble, and die. If you were to do the opposite and take away the city, the farms would just shrink until they could sustain themselves. It's a symbiotic relationship, but the cities can't live on their own while the farms can.

Of course, I'm disregarding any kind of economic factors, since there's really no telling what would happen if cities suddenly went away and the population stayed the same. Anyway, what is happening now is extremely beneficial to both parties and I think we both agree on that. So, why do the people that grow the food to sustain urban life get passed over for services that most other people have? I live in a city so I'm not arguing for myself, I just don't really see the fairness in keeping these people out in the technological equivalent of the mid-90's. The government spends money on far sillier things, this one doesn't seem so bad to me.


RE: another option
By 0ldman on 2/9/2011 8:43:43 AM , Rating: 2
Uh, if you don't have electricity and water try raising a family.

DHR can and will take people's children because they don't have electricity.

How's that for a luxury...


RE: another option
By smackababy on 2/9/2011 9:22:22 AM , Rating: 2
Children are now considered a luxury.


RE: another option
By kattanna on 2/8/2011 1:08:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
everyone in a rural area can *not* get satellite. Satellite is expensive, slow, and requires property owner consent to install a big dish on top of your house. Renters, historic housing, and low income markets all are not ideal.


nice set of excuses there. i see lots of apartments and homes for rent with sat dishes now. also any usable wireless setups now require some sort of antennae to work, so you stil have that issue.

historic housing? thats a world of pain you should have known full well ahead of time that you cant make any changes what so ever, regardless of internet needs.

low income? if they are soo poor that they are having to live in a rural setting and cannot afford monthly internet, then they most likely cannot afford the computers to use it either. and will have instead already been using their phones for such things, IF cell service is even available in their rural area.

quote:
That means unless you live in a fairly populated area you will NEVER get service.


and do tell me why i should be forced to pay for some ISP to run a cable many miles at massive cost to provide you with internet because you dont want to move to where it is?

how about you pay for it yourself? just like if you moved to somewhere they isnt a power line already, the power company would make you pay for the line extension. but you want ME to pay for your cable company to run a line to your house?

whats next, I have to pay walmarts costs to put a super center store where its convenient for you to shop at?

quote:
internet providers only deploy and upgrade in the most profitable of markets


those bastards! how dare a business run with the idea of making a profit for itself and its shareholders

listen.. i have lived for years numerous times in barely to very rural areas. living outside of major city areas has its bonuses and negatives. quit trying to get others to pay the costs to remove the negatives out of your life and do it yourself.


RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 1:49:48 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair there are plenty of places you cannot get satellite. If you live on the wrong side of an apartment complex, you can't get signal from a dish mounted off your porch or out a window necessarily. And few places will let you put a dish out in the lawn area in front of your apartment to clear the trees. Granted most apartment complexes also offer cable services too. So while maybe you are locked into one particular service, you had the choice on whether to live there in the first place.


RE: another option
By tastyratz on 2/8/2011 2:24:32 PM , Rating: 1
And what about paving roads in rural areas? Should those perhaps stop receiving states subsidies? How dare they connect larger cities! Its only convenience, they clearly have the option to walk!

Holds Just as much water. We are not putting the "every American's right to porn" act in the forefront, it's basic commercialization and communication rights in the 21st century.
Just as you pay taxes to help keep roads other than the ones you drive on paved, you put a 15% portion of (what may have gotten you that phone line in the first place) your phone bill towards infrastructure development. Hell, this isn't even an income tax! It is a tax that you elect to pay with your so called "luxury". If you so despise to pay it, perhaps you should choose to boycott by canceling your internet?

The time for rural connectivity now is fairly critical if we want to keep our jobs in the usa... we have to be able to market them to the residents.

Also as to the basis of your entire argument about "me" trying to get you to pay for "my" internet... if you read my statement you would realize I explicitly stated I am not impacted by this. That is right - I am a city boy but I support developing our country. I might even like those rural areas to have other luxuries like public education and emergency services!


RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 2:41:35 PM , Rating: 1
Most roads through rural areas are spawned off the interstate system. The interstates were formed as part of the national defense during World War 2.

If a state wants to subsidize roads in a rural area, that's the states choice. The federal government doesn't have that power. Or it shouldn't. The same should be for telephones, broadband, etc. States have any power not explicitly given to the federal government. The federal government only has the powers granted to it by the constitution.

Regardless of what liberal Democrats want people to believe, a lack of commerce does not fall under the commerce clause. The commerce clause was put in the constitution to prevent states for setting up barriers that would prevent commerce between the states. Not to give the federal government the power to regulate all commerce.


RE: another option
By smackababy on 2/8/2011 3:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly, cities cannot subsidize internet for its citizens. A city tired this and was sued by the cable companies because they were granted a monopoly for that area.


RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 6:21:45 PM , Rating: 1
Another issue caused by the federal government.


RE: another option
By wookie1 on 2/8/2011 2:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
"Satellite is expensive..."

Does it cost less than $2000 per month? It appears that landlines are expensive. I guess landlines are cheap when everyone else is paying for them.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki