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FCC rural broadband plan gets court approval

2014-05-27 09:57 by
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A federal appeals court has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission has rights to change funding criteria of the Connect America Fund from voice to Internet access. The program is the largest portion of the $8 billion Universal Service Fund that target schools, low-income families and others. The aim is to deliver telecommunication links to people who may never experience it due their location.

Creation of the Connect America Fund was challenged by rural telephone companies that believe they will suffer financially if the funding criteria shift from support for voice calls to funding for high-speed Internet access.

The new rules still require that carriers receiving the subsidies provide voice service, but the Connect America Fund support now is provided specifically to support high speed access. The Connect America Fund ultimately will replace all existing high-cost support mechanisms, as well.

"Congress has directed the commission to ensure that all Americans receive the benefit of 21st-century communications," Kim Hart, an F.C.C. spokeswoman, said in a statement. "With today's across-the-board affirmance of our landmark 2011 reforms, the commission has tools in hand to accomplish that critical goal."

Read more -here-


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