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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