The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will convene a hearing Oct. 12 to look at the Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Service Fund, which offsets the costs of bringing phone networks to rural areas.
The hearing will provide a forum to discuss efforts to reform the high cost of USF. The programs supports basic phone service, and the FCC wants to redirect the program’s money toward building new high-speed and wireless Internet networks across the country.
“Industry and government have worked together over many years to help provide phone service in rural areas of the country so that Americans and West Virginians and other rural states can get access to phone service at an affordable price,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. “But it’s time to bring this program into the digital age and refocus it toward bringing high-speed and wireless services to people across the country. We have a real opportunity to close the digital divide in rural America if we get this right.”
In addition to USF, Rockefeller has also worked to develop the $4.7 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program in the Recovery Act, which is designed to improve high-speed Internet access in unserved and underserved areas, expand public computer center capacity and encourage the adoption of high-speed Internet service. Nearly $180 million in federal funding for high-speed Internet services has been awarded to West Virginia.
Comment: We are going to spend taxpayers money to do what private industry should be doing? It's no wonder we are in the middle of depression and being run to the ground by crony capitalists.The senators have their head so far up their collective asses it's amazing.