FCC's "Connect America Fund" Aims To Spread The Internet Love - HotHardware
FCC's "Connect America Fund" Aims To Spread The Internet Love

FCC's "Connect America Fund" Aims To Spread The Internet Love

The government's still trying to figure this whole "jobs" thing out, but the FCC is making moves on something, anyway. It's being called (by the FCC) the "most significant policy step ever taken to connect all Americans to high-speed Internet, wherever they live." It's the Connect America Fund, which aims to reform the Universal Service Fund and intercarrier compensation systems. According to the FCC, those systems have been widely viewed as broken, and long overdue for reform. Efforts to expand high-speed Internet to rural America over the next six years will increase economic growth by $50 billion over that period, the FCC estimates.

Details? "These reforms create a new Connect America Fund with an annual budget of no more than $4.5 billion, which will extend broadband infrastructure to the millions of Americans who currently have no access to broadband. As a result, today's action has the potential to be one of the biggest job creators in rural America in decades. The FCC estimates that approximately 500,000 jobs will be created over the next six years by expanding high-speed Internet access to over 7 million Americans living in rural areas. And by increasing the overall size of the U.S. marketplace, small Main Street businesses across the country will benefit from the opportunity to sell to new customers."

As with many government plans, this one also sounds pretty good in theory, but only time will tell if it's a plan that'll work as well as it sounds.

FCC CREATES 'CONNECT AMERICA FUND' TO HELP EXTEND HIGH-SPEED INTERNET TO 18 MILLION UNSERVED AMERICANS; CREATING JOBS & INCREASED CONSUMER BENEFITS

Agency delivers bipartisan vote to modernize America's communications infrastructure and expand broadband throughout the nation

Washington, D.C. – In the most significant policy step ever taken to connect all Americans to high-speed Internet, wherever they live, the FCC voted unanimously to comprehensively reform its Universal Service Fund and intercarrier compensation systems. Those systems have been widely viewed as broken, and long overdue for reform. Efforts to expand high-speed Internet to rural America over the next six years will increase economic growth by $50 billion over that period, the FCC estimates.

These reforms create a new Connect America Fund with an annual budget of no more than $4.5 billion, which will extend broadband infrastructure to the millions of Americans who currently have no access to broadband. As a result, today's action has the potential to be one of the biggest job creators in rural America in decades. The FCC estimates that approximately 500,000 jobs will be created over the next six years by expanding high-speed Internet access to over 7 million Americans living in rural areas. And by increasing the overall size of the U.S. marketplace, small Main Street businesses across the country will benefit from the opportunity to sell to new customers.

As part of this reform, the FCC recognizes the growing importance of mobile broadband and makes it an independent universal service objective for the first time in history. Dedicated support to expand mobile broadband nationwide will be provided through a new Mobility Fund.

The Connect America Fund will put America on the path to universal broadband and advanced mobile coverage without increasing costs to consumers. By eliminating waste and targeting support where it is most needed, these reforms put universal service funding on a firm budget, and they will impose strict new accountability on fund recipients.

The Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking reflect broad input received by the FCC in over 2,700 comments from a diverse array of stakeholders. Further details are provided in the attached Executive Summary. The outlines of this comprehensive reform are as follows:

• INCREASED CONSUMER BENEFITS: The FCC estimates that, over the next six years, the Connect America Fund will expand broadband access to over 7 million residents of rural areas who are currently unserved, and will put the country on the path to universal broadband within a decade. The Mobility Fund will expand advanced mobile broadband access to tens of thousands of road miles, where millions of people work, live, and travel, and will include dedicated support for Tribal areas. Intercarrier compensation reform will eliminate hidden costs in consumer bills, providing economic benefits to long distance and wireless consumers across the nation of $2.2 billion annually in the form of lower prices, better value for the money, or both. Expanded broadband access will generate approximately 500,000 jobs over the next six years. As part of this reform, some consumers may pay, on average, an additional 10 to 15 cents a month on their bills; but for every dollar in cost, reform will provide $3 in benefits for consumers. And no additional charges can be imposed on consumer phone bills that are at or above $30 a month (inclusive of most fees consumers pay on their bills), nor can such charges be imposed on low-income consumers served by the FCC's Lifeline program. Any new charges will begin to decline after six years.

• COMMIT TO FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY: A firm annual budget set at current levels-$4.5 billion-will prevent growth in the Fund and help protect consumers from increased contribution fees. Programs that provide subsidies where they are not needed are eliminated, and compensation for corporate overhead expenses is reduced. Market-based mechanisms, including competitive bidding, will be used to distribute money more efficiently.

• DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY: In order to receive Connect America Fund support, carriers must demonstrate they are deploying broadband to their customers. These networks must meet performance criteria that enable the use of common applications such as distance learning, remote health monitoring, VoIP, two-way high quality video conferencing, Web browsing, and email.

• ENCOURAGE DEPLOYMENT OF MODERN NETWORKS: Intercarrier compensation distorts investment in technology and discourages investment in modern Internet Protocol networks. It is also unfair to consumers, forcing wireless and long distance customers to provide billions of dollars per year in hidden subsidies to phone companies. Reform will ensure fairness to consumers, promote competition, and foster innovation in communications services. In addition, the Order takes immediate action to end wasteful and costly gaming of the intercarrier system, including schemes such as phantom traffic and traffic pumping.

Action by the Commission, October 27, 2011, by Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 11-161). Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners Copps and Clyburn, with Commissioner McDowell approving in part and concurring in part. Separate statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners Copps, McDowell, and Clyburn.

Docket Nos.: 10-90, 09-51, 07-135, 05-337, 01-92, 96-45, 03-109, 10-208
Wireline Competition Bureau Staff Contacts: Amy Bender, at 202-418-7400, and Victoria Goldberg at 202-418-1540

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Staff Contact: Margaret Wiener at 202-418-2176

-FCC-
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I've never considered highspeed a necessity, to me it's still very much a luxury. and I think it's ridiculous that consumers are expected to pay for the 'expansion' when they are already paying quite a bit for their own usages. Sure it may only be 10-15 cents each bill for the next 6 yrs.... If you believe that. In my opinion that's just where it starts. 10-15 cents could soon become a dollar, or 5 dollars, Six yrs could easily become 10 or 15yrs. You do the math. (Ontario, Canada is going through something similar with a Hydro Debt Reduction Charge on our electricity bills, a debt in which us consumers didn't create but are forced to pay- still paying 2yrs past the so called end date and it's approx $5-$10/bill)

Also.....

" and will include dedicated support for Tribal areas "

Is this really what U.S. Native "Tribal areas" are concerned about? 4-5 billion dollars on getting them highspeed Internet? Most here in Canada are concerned with clean drinking water. But hey to each their own.

But I guess this goes back to a previous article stating something about accessible Internet should be considered a human right!?!? I didn't agree with that one either LoL I think there are more pressing issues and 'human rights' that need to be dealt with before accessible Internet gets on the list.

Ok I'm don't with my silly rant. :)

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Honestly I do think there does need to be something in the USA I personally have been affected every day by this crap. The market is cornered and monopolized prices are jacked to double the price for half the service that you can get in any country outside the USA.

Besides being toyed with prices and offered subpar services. We have been bounced from almost every major provider cause of going over usage caps. I and friends had to start living in different apartments cause we were about to get kicked from last major provider in area. And with all of us in the apartment there was no way we could stay under usage.

Considering the USA has higher priced internet with lower speeds than most 3rd world countrys yes the government needed to step in. It will force the company monopolizing the market to actually be competitive and upgrade networks.

Its been far to long of internet companys inflating prices then when they hit max capacity instead of upgrading network the put harsher caps on internet. I mean seriously when internet was less common more expensive to have get it was 15 dollars for the best service money could buy anywhere. Now its 120-160 for the best money can buy in the USA but subpar compared to the rest of the worlds internet.

As for Canada having infrastructure worrys its part of being a country with such large mass with such a small total population. You have a country approx same size of usa with 1/10th the population.

As for the more pressing human rights it depends are you talking about own country or about world wide. Cause 4-5billion for quality of life here is not that much. Considering that we have sent over 500 billion dollars to Africa with little or no affect. All of the work is undone by there leaders and own people who find it easyier to subjugate people who are desperate and uneducated.

People hear billions and immediately assume its a big piece of the pie. When in reality a country with 350 million people should be pulling in 2-3 trillion dollars of tax revenue.

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Well... This'll make sure people forget about that nasty E-PARASITE act rather quickly... I mean cheap internet provided by the US government, who could argue for that (except for Manduh and me.)

Those that do praise it because of the internet companies charging a lot for their internet access will surely not realize that there are possible compromises such as your history possibly being tracked, your download history being tracked... Well they don't want you to download illegal stuff do they? Personally I think the thought of the US government tracking us if we use the free internet is very scary but for those criticizing the internet companies for charging a lot, I think it's actually not as bad, now Canada... That's bad...

Over there, every internet and phone service is owned by a cable company... And it's not just that, these companies also own Radio Stations, TV networks and even some newspapers. Not since Comcast have I seen such a blatant abuse of corporate multimedia concentration. I mean the only TV network not owned by a for-profit telecommunications is the CBC, and that's owned by the government! This combination of concentration can allow them to force anything down their throats from high-prices to the TV programs that we watch and well, it's just deplorable.

At least the FCC has the decency to restrict the Comcast-NBC marriage so that it doesn't seem as domineering as it was back then (even though the merger is still a very bad idea and deferential to the idea of free speech and media concentration.) the CRTC just allows anybody to do anything they want and barely does anything to make sure stuff is fair... Barely anything!

So while it may seem worse, it's really not. And I'm not turned on to the idea of a US Government controlled internet, hell; I'm still worried that Google is tracking my information when I use their DNS services but at least I'm not at the mercy of the US Government, yet... That high-speed internet comes at a price you know, and you'll know that price when you start using their services.

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Yeah; but Taylor the largest provider of internet in America is Comcast; is it not, and they own NBC among other things as far as it all goes everything any of us do can be monitored already because of the "Patriot Act", with it in the law books any form of communications, the wiring, the housing and transmission of information in the US is automatically under the federal governments jurisdiction. I also know this from a first hand perspective because I have worked in both the telecom and cable industry as an engineer.

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Everyones tracking you the second you go online. The big brother is watching argument only works when your the only one doing it. With piracy ect all my friends family do it in one form or another maybe not intentionally but posting a copyrighted picture on facebook or streaming a episode they missed. So yess they may give warnings ect but no way they could actually enforce it if they did more people would be in jail than out.

I think its a great thing I mean I pay 120 dollars a month for internet thats maybe 1/16th of as advertised speed. And have to plan how many things i can watch on netflix or what betas i can play so i dont hit my usage cap. When i was in Bulgaria I was paying 30 dollars a month for internet twice as fast. Most my other friends who have lived in europe experienced the same 30-50dollars would buy you 150 mbps service that actually performed at that speed. instead of 120 dollars advertised 120mbps service get 7-15mbs depending on the day.

I honestly think it a good way to keep companys and government honest. Is to have both doing same jobs private sector cant corner market or price play. But government has to provide a reasonable service for a reasonable price. Best example is postal service we have both private and government. Guess what we are one of the most affordable countrys to ship and mail in. Cause private cant corner market and raise prices or work with postal office to screw people cause post office prices are controlled by congress. And post office has to be semi competitive cause they are not only one doing it. Hence postal service being the only profit turning part of government.

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