ACA wants USF funds to enhance broadband deployments

The American Cable Association (ACA), a group that represents independent cable operators, has made a call to redirect the Universal Service Fund to enhancing the build out of broadband network services.

Right now, service providers put money into the USF to subsidize the delivery of phone service to low-income households and hard to reach rural markets.  

Under its proposed plan, the ACA would cap the fund and "limit or deny" funding to phone companies that already face strong competition. In doing so, ACA said the FCC would be able to free $1-$2 billion from the USF to expand broadband availability. However, ACA said that smaller telcos, some of which also own cable companies, should still be able to get USF funding.

ACA's call for action follows the lead of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who earlier this month said a realignment of the USF will be included in the national broadband plan the agency submits to Congress in February. Similar to the steps being taken by Spain and Finland, the FCC and other lawmakers think that broadband should be part of a USF lifeline service mandate.

For more:
- Multichannel News has this article

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