Young works to secure USF dollars for rural Alaska

I haven’t written about Rep. Don Young for a while, and don’t have much of an idea what he’s up to. He did send a press release out today about meeting with the FCC chairman. The meeting, according to a press release issued by his office, “focused around finding new ways to serve rural and tribal areas across the country. The conversation included discussions on how to maintain a strong and robust Universal Service Fund (USF) and how to uphold the federal mandate of universal service,” the release said.

The Universal Service Fund is a charge on every phone bill that helps subsidize costs of telecommunications in rural America. It should be noted that the FCC classifies all of Alaska, with the exception of Anchorage, as rural. Therefore, the USF fund is more important to Alaska than to any other state in the country.

Recently, with the help of Sen. Mark Begich, Alaska based GCI and Copper Valley received $41 million as part of the fund to increase cell phone and broadband access to tribal areas in the state.

Meantime, according to Newsweek, other telecom giants are scaling back on promises to connect rural America:

After making a big, bold promise to wire every corner of America, the telecom giants are running away from their vow to provide nationwide broadband service by 2020. For almost 20 years, AT&T, Verizon and the other big players have collected hundreds of billions of dollars through rate increases and surcharges to finance that ambitious plan, but after wiring the high-density big cities, they now say it’s too expensive to connect the rest of the country. But they’d like to keep all that money they banked for the project.

Read more here.

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3 thoughts on “Young works to secure USF dollars for rural Alaska

  1. bytes&bits

    In perspective, broadband connectivity is something that all of us in urban areas take for granted. We live off of our smart phones; yet, in many parts of rural Alaska, there isn’t even cell phone coverage let alone smart phone capability. Iiphones didn’t work as smart phones in Bethel until just last year. Broadband infrastructure is extremely important to commerce, education, medical care and everyday conveniences. I applaud Representative Young for taking the initiative to keep the FCC focused on the benefits of the the Universal Service Fund and for extracting the commitment he did.

  2. Lynn Willis

    Don Young is the kind of old school Republican as was Ted Stevens . These Republicans see the value of Government unlike the self delusional narcissists, like Ms. Palin, who now control the party and pledge themselves more to a national agenda then to policy that benefits Alaskans.
    . For exactly the same reasons the telecom industry is hesitant to expand service to low density markets in the lower 48 here in Alaska private enterprise will not provide affordable sustained energy to all Alaskans. There simply is no profit motive to do. Therefore the government either operates public utilities, or inefficiently regulates utilities under a politically structured bureaucracy, or pays cash directly or indirectly to consumers to control consumer cost. Otherwise we force most of the population to either leave Alaska or move into the railbelt region surrounding Anchorage. As you concentrate population in Alaska you concentrate legislative representation in both the House and Senate with perhaps consequences the drafters of the State Constitution did not intended. Good to still have Don Young’s kind of thinking in Washington.

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