Back in 2011
, the FCC
put forth a plan that would convert some of the subsidies that bring telephone service to rural areas to Internet access. The idea is simple: Years ago, it was decided that rural areas needed the same access to current communications technology that more populated areas enjoy. Back then it was telephone service, and now it’s Internet
A court has approved the FCC’s plan, which had been challenged extensively by various phone companies who were concerned about losing subsidies, reports the NYT
. However, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the challenges as unpersuasive (or “barred from judicial review”).
“After years of good faith efforts faltered, voting to approve the comprehensive reform of universal service and intercarrier compensation continues to be one of my proudest moments at the FCC,” wrote
commissioner Mignon Clyburn. “The reforms are changing the lives of millions of Americans who will receive broadband for the first time.”
Hear, hear. And hopefully tech companies will continue to develop ways to get that broadband pipe to those far-flung communities so that we can connect the country without spending $4.5 billion to do so.