The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday launched an subsidy program that would help provide high-speed internet access to thousands living in rural communities.
The ‘Connect America Fund’ (CAF) was created as part of Universal Service Fund (USF) reform with the goal of connecting every American to high-speed Internet by the end of the decade, similar to the effort that brought telephone service in the 20th century.
The $300 Million savings from USF reform, will be used to target high-speed Internet extension to more than 400,000 previously underserved rural homes and businesses, the agency said.
This is the first phase of funding that would provide subsidies to carriers. Carriers have 90 days to accept the funding, as well as the aggressive build out requirements that must begin in the coming months.
The Commission expects that carriers will likely supplement the CAF funding with private investment. While carriers are not required to participate, the agency estimates that hundreds of thousands of Americans will gain access to broadband even if carriers only accept a portion of the money.