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March 12, 2009


"The USF is a subsidy to construct and maintain networks in “high cost” areas such as rural regions where population density wouldn’t otherwise justify construction. "


"Better networks are good and all, but that's not what the USF is for."


Are you suggesting there should be a subjective rule "build it where you ordinarily wouldn't" rather than an objective rule "build it within these physical boundaries"?

d'd'd'dave, are you suggesting that the U.S. should, or ever should have, subsidize[d] rural mail delivery, where the market made it unprofitable?

Rural Utilities Service mean it's not Rodents of Unusual Size?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but eons ago when the concept of the USF was introduced, it was to be a surcharge on the providers of telecom services within high density service areas so that providers in rural markets could make those same services available to its customers at a reasonable price. (Think the explosion of dial-up internet services and the birth of AOL.)

Instead, the providers quickly got permission to pass this fee along directly to the consumer and began pocketing the increases in rates local urban PUC's approved for the recapture. So rather than uban providers subsidizing rural providers, its consumers subsidizing providers.

//d'd'd'dave, are you suggesting that the U.S. should, or ever should have, subsidize[d] rural mail delivery, where the market made it unprofitable?//

I didn't suggest anything. I asked a question.


//its consumers subsidizing providers.//

Isn't that the nature of all business enterprises?

A "freeway" isn't necessarily an interstate highway -- it can be any multi-lane, limited-access divided highway which doesn't charge a toll. (As opposed to a "tollway" which has occasional toll booths, or a "turnpike," where you get a ticket when you enter and pay the total toll when you leave...)

[/guy not from Texas who calls it a freeway]

What publius said. Why bother, if it got the taxpayer nothing the first time? Of course, another problem is that, of course, grants go to the companies with the best lobbyists, NOT those with best service (lookin at YOU, AT&T).

And, I went to low-density broadband conference here in Austin a few years ago, and was utterly, completely stonkered. Here in Texas, vast proportions of the huge, mostly-rural state were in fact already covered, and the proportions were rising quickly. That completely contradicted my assumptions going in, which were that digging ditches is way, way, expensive, and having read about tons of federal $$ going to rural electrification.

The deal is that wireless broadband, which had been having trouble in the cities against established wired ground networks, gets competitive in the sticks. SEe the mind-bending cost of digging ditches, above, plus you have fewer people toamortize costs. So, to my astonishment, the market's doing way better than the gummint at get broadband to most of the people.

Yeah, the rules should at least be rewritten, but then we'll have imposed big telcos on those poor rural customers, oh, boy; I'm pretty conflicted on this.

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