FCC to move toward overhaul of $8 billion phone fund for Internet
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to move forward Tuesday on a long-fought plan to convert federal phone subsidies for rural areas into funding for high-speed Internet connections.
The five commissioners are expected to approve a proposal by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that allows the public to comment on his plan to overhaul the $8 billion subsidy program. All commissioners are expected to vote in favor of the proposal. A final order will be drafted and voted on in months, experts say.
The federal fund, known as the Universal Service Fund, comes from a line-item charge for phone customers, usually about $2 a month. That money goes toward building and maintaining copper-wire phone connections to remote areas that would be too costly to serve otherwise. The subsidy was created by the 1934 Communications Act, and regulators today say the fund needs to be used for high-speed Internet connections as people increasingly rely on the Web to gather information and communicate.
"It's grown to be an inefficient, and I hope as a 21st-century program, it would support only efficiencies of current technologies and deploy competitive pressures to bring about the best results for consumers," said Commissioner Robert McDowell, who will vote in favor of the reforms Tuesday.
| February 7, 2011; 2:51 PM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Google Egypt exec released, tweets his opposition of ruling party
Next: Oregon considers cellphone radiation label
Posted by: zenduane | February 7, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: diglife | February 7, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: cgallaway2000 | February 7, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: marcbdoran | February 7, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: diglife | February 7, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: fickstdu | February 7, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: diglife | February 8, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: spikey123bat | February 9, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse