US Regulator to Fund Improvements to Rural Broadband Services
Published on: 23rd Apr 2014
By: Ian Mansfield
The US telecoms regulator the FCC has taken steps toward implementing the next phase of its program for expanding broadband internet access in rural parts of the USA the Connect America Fund.
Phase I of the Connect America Fund has already invested over $438 million to deploy broadband service to 1.6 million previously unserved Americans. Phase I also invested $300 million to expand advanced mobile wireless service and nearly $50 million for better mobile voice and broadband on Tribal lands.
Phase II the Connect America Fund will result in a nearly 70% increase in annual support for broadband and voice service in areas served by the nation's largest traditional local providers - known as "price cap" carriers.
The effort will expand broadband access to an additional 5 million Americans, and over five years, will provide nearly $9 billion to expand broadband in rural areas.
In addition, because there has been rapid private sector expansion of 4G LTE mobile broadband service since 2011, the Commission is exploring whether to retarget Mobility Fund Phase II support to ensure the continued deployment and preservation of LTE mobile broadband service and preservation of mobile voice and broadband service in areas that otherwise would not have such service through marketplace forces.