FCC chairman wants USF to apply to broadband

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wants to apply a reworking of the $7 billion Universal Service Fund (USF), currently used to subsidize phone service in rural areas and for low-income families, and apply it toward bringing broadband into hard-to-serve areas.

Bringing that plan from paper to action, however, won't be easy as rural phone companies have long opposed any changes to the USF.  

"USF is a multi-billion dollar annual fund that continues to support yesterday's communications infrastructure," Genachowski said in a Wall Street Journal article. "We need to reorient the fund to support broadband communications."

Additionally, Genachowski said established spectrum allocations could be re-evaluated as part of a plan to free up more airwaves for mobile broadband. The FCC is considering taking spectrum from broadcasters and using it for mobile broadband--much to the dismay of broadcasters

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)

Related articles:
Spain, Finland develop universal broadband plans
Congress targets VoIP again in USF bill
VoIP wins exemption from USF in Nebraska
Another USF option for VoIP carriers

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