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FCC Chair Ajit Pai's latest proposal could provide $500 million in additional funding...

By Polycount ยท 22 replies
Jan 16, 2018
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  1. Access to high-speed internet is something many of us tend to take for granted. However, according to 2016 reports, a significant one third of America's rural population does not have access to this near-essential tool. While efforts have been made on the part of the government, tech companies, and internet providers to expand network opportunities in these areas, little overall progress has been achieved thus far.

    Following his role in the controversial vote to roll back Title II net neutrality protections last December, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is likely the last person most people would expect to come up with a solution to the issue. Yet that's precisely what he seems interested in doing, if a recent statement issued by his office is anything to go by.

    "Closing the digital divide is the FCC's top priority..."

    The statement alludes to a proposed order that could "provide over $500 million in additional funding for cooperatives and small rural carriers" while also putting in place "strong new rules" to prevent abuse of this program. Furthermore, it claims that Pai's order will "[propose] several reforms to the FCC's high-cost program to improve its effectiveness" throughout Tribal lands.

    The statement includes a direct quote from Pai regarding his proposal:

    "Closing the digital divide is the FCC’s top priority. A key way to reach this goal in rural America is updating the FCC’s high-cost universal service program to encourage cooperatives and other small, rural carriers to build more online infrastructure. We need more deployment in sparsely populated rural areas if we’re going to extend digital opportunity to all Americans.

    But I’ve heard from community leaders, Congress, and carriers that insufficient, unpredictable funding has kept them from reaching this goal. With the $500 million in new funding provided by this order, we’ll boost broadband deployment in rural America and put our high-cost system on a more efficient path, helping to ensure that every American can benefit from the digital revolution."

    While the proposal sounds like a step in the right direction, Pai's office has not yet offered details regarding how the plan will work in practice.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,417   +2,693

    "provide over $500 million in additional funding for cooperatives and small rural carriers"

    Carriers seems to imply this will be for phone carriers and not ISPs. If it is for ISPs then...

    It's funny how Pai is happy to throw money away here but not so when providing internet to low income Americans when he cut the life line program. The government has been collecting taxes to extend network access to rural areas for a long time now Pai, maybe you should ask them to use some of that 3.4 billion they've collected for what it was actually meant to do.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,458   +2,146

    No surprise at all..a couple industry watchers warned about this possibility. The big IPS are fairly confident they can eliminate net neutrality this year so their positioning themselves to once again receive a wad of taxpayer money to build out their suburban infrastructures. Their boy Pai will funnel those tax dollars to smaller companies who, like the major players before them did, will use it to do everything BUT extend broadband to rural customers. The big ISPs will then proceed to buy out those small fry (or just their valuable second zone assets) and be hailed as heroes in state capitols, and almost nobody will recall how the AT&Ts and Verizons abandoned those rural markets in the previous decade.
    Khanonate and Avenger001 like this.
  4. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,123   +1,394

    I hear ya - I hate it when the govt spends money to help those at the bottom catch up to the norm.... We don't want EVERYONE to have fast internet... how are we going to complain that the US is behind in the world in those comparison charts?

    Speaking of the govt giving away money to those evil corporations... Did you see what they did to the tax code?! All those minimum wages going up at Wal-mart and Wells Fargo... and bonuses ... and benefits like parental leave. Geez... what kind of world will it be when everyone can afford a big 4K TV and have fast enough internet to use it?
    ANTEATER and Nero7 like this.
  5. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,417   +2,693

    I've seen far more layoffs than bonuses lol. AT&T, Walmart, and Carrier all layed employees off. All companies that Trump touted for making jobs ironically. In addition, yeah good for the walmart employees who are actually still employed but still won't be able to cash in because the bonus requires 20+ years at the company. I'm sure that helps the average american /s.

    Also, walmart had a wage raise in the works before the tax bill was even passed in order to compete with an even earlier costco minimum wage raise. It's funny how people will always correlate data in a manner that is convenient to their political views without looking at the facts.

    Even if we did assume that Walmart's bonus did go to every minimum wage employee (which it most certainly does not) it would still not even equal 3% of the money Walmart is saving in taxes thanks to the new tax bill. So congrats on the tax bill with a 3% efficiency rate. You literally cannot do worse and the amount that "trickles down" to the average man will most certainly be overshadowed by the massive cuts that are coming in other programs. You can't fund corporate welfare for free!
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  6. turismozilla

    turismozilla TS Addict Posts: 174   +55

    Concesions, concesions!
  7. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,208   +1,648

    "broadband deployment" - based on what definition? is it just mobile? and wasn't this "funding" already in the works regardless of title 2 or not? The ISPs already got concessions/tax cuts/government funding for rural areas and should have already finished this kind of investments.
    I can only see this as him trying to divert attention from everything else. A feeble attempt to buy support by saying: look at this "money" ISPs will invest.
    Khanonate likes this.
  8. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 319   +315

    You seem to presume that the money will actually be used for the stated purpose. Years back Frontier was given money for broadband in rural areas. They told small businesses that finer will be coming. That was about five years ago and about the time Frontier expanded their business, but not in rural areas. There is no guarantee that the funds will be used for rural broadband, only that money will be handed out. Fool me once....
  9. alabama man

    alabama man TS Guru Posts: 563   +355

    "While the proposal sounds like a step in the right direction, Pai's office has not yet offered details regarding how the plan will work in practice."

    You take the 500 million and give it to him and his rich buddies, they won't release the details until they get it trough and even then it will be all lies and loop holes. They just try to look like the good guy for a while so it seems that they could regulate them selves. Self regulation just never works, just look at games industry and lootboxes.
    Khanonate likes this.
  10. He knows his behind is on the griddle, he's possibly being investigated for too close ties to private business, his overturn of Net Neutrality is 1 vote away from being overturned, he has to do something to sound like a nice guy, working for the people. Probably been working with his lawyers on this during this recent period where he was a no show for several appearances.
  11. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,762   +3,182

    Tennessee just did that last year and the jury is still out on how much good it did. There was a great deal of activity around cities like Clarksville, that hardly counts as rural so unless they can positively insure and verify this is the case, he's simply throwing away tax dollars ... OUR tax dollars. Time to send him packing!
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,339   +1,756

    Yes, this is what we need. Yet another give away to big companies! I bet they will enjoy being able to abuse rural customers just as much and maybe more than they enjoy abusing their other customers.

    Pai - another shining example of a stable genius personified in government.
  13. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,339   +1,756

    Yes, that was another brain-dead move since there was already a publicly funded and publicly run ISP in the area that offered to do it for free - with fiber that was laid with public money. Yes - get government out of things - and waste even more taxpayer money. Brilliant move!
  14. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 843   +344

    Guess it depends on how well the strong new rules are, I have a few ISP's that would prob see some cash. Last time this got handed out one did nothing other than buy new service vehicles and hire more service people, basically no expansion or service upgrade until 3 years later, they are a wimaxx provider. The other expanded to another 450 customers, which sounds small but they laid like 118 miles of line to get to them, and they laid fiber to improve overall rural speeds, most people got boosted from 512Kb/s to 1-4Mb/s because of it.
  15. Polycount

    Polycount TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,403   +324

    Just curious, what was the latter ISP, if you don't mind sharing? I'd like to look into that for myself.
  16. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 843   +344

    Montana Sky, going off what they told me there expansion was last time they got funding in the 2010-2011 period. I don't remember if it was state or federal funding, they also expanded there wimaxx coverage to have another tower, but there wimaxx coverage doesn't cover a lot of rural area, it's situated to cover Kalispell and the other tower covers Columbia Falls. Again this was me talking with one of the guys I met that works there. The company laying line like a mad man now is centurylink, in our area they had plans for hundreds of miles of fiber over the next 5 years. I used to make copies of the map printouts for them at my old job, that guy was in there with 20 sheets every 4 days, each sheet was 2-5 miles of area. This was something they needed to do 8 years ago though, there line quality and speeds are terrible in the city and absolutely garbage outside of it.
  17. mattsie

    mattsie TS Enthusiast Posts: 48   +18

    He is doing it for some good rep. I would not want to be represented by a person that does something completely 180 basically over night and seem as a good person / politician. A politician, that barely cares for the common man.
  18. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,123   +1,394

    We can 'assume' Walmart's (and JetBlue, and Wells Fargo, and Waste Management... )raises were related to the tax bill because a) that's what they said on their own webpage and b) that's what every major news organization reported.

    And they don't require 20 years service... they pro-rated the bonus based on years of service and the max was for people with 20 years.

    It's funny how people will always correlate data in a manner that is convenient to their political views without looking at the facts.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  19. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,417   +2,693

    Hmm, I seem to remember a certain someone saying that a majority of the news outlets are "fake". Are they not fake anymore? But let's disprove your point anyways...

    "But economists and professors cast doubt on whether tax policy changes were the driving force behind the move by a retailing giant that for years has stood as a lightning rod for criticism over low worker pay."


    Seems like your assumption was wrong. Then again, it was based on "but walmart said so!". Yes, because we all know that companies like Walmart are so trustworthy.

    Also, put quotes around my words next time you decide to shamelessly plagiarize them.

    In your own words "Do you even read the news you argue against?".
  20. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,123   +1,394

    So I'm wrong because the news is fake and Walmart are liars? You realize you shouldn't call the news fake and then link a story from the news as evidence to the point you're trying to make...

    It also gives you free reign to believe anything you like and tell everyone else they're wrong. Anyone who disagrees is a liar and any supporting evidence to prove otherwise is fake news. We could have the same argument about all the money coming back to the US because of the lower tax rate they can pay... Apple is bringing billions back and spending a ton of money and adding new jobs! Even the Washington Post says so!

    Probably not true though... ;)
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  21. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,417   +2,693

    Thank you for pointing out what I was pointing out. You just proved my point against yourself.
  22. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,123   +1,394

    I honestly have no idea what that means... Although if you wanted to ignore people being helped out by the tax law - that' fine... it'll still help people get jobs and increase wages.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  23. No, thanks. Don't waste taxpayer dollars on this. Broadband is a want. A luxury. Not a need.

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