As reported in Ars Technica and elsewhere, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) panel is proposing the creation of state funds to pay for universal broadband deployment in rural areas.
The FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) was formed in early 2017 by FCC Chair Ajit Pai, and immediately came under attack as serving primarily the interests of large broadband providers such as AT&T. Despite the criticism, the panel has been meeting and has proposed a “State Model Code for Accelerating Broadband Infrastructure Deployment and Investment” that would, among other things, allow states to implement a tax on subscription-based retail services that require Internet access, such as Netflix, and to advertising-supported services that use the Internet, such as Google and Facebook. The taxes collected would essentially create a state universal service fund similar to the federal Connect America Fund.
It's an idea that makes some sense, but the devil will definitely be in the details.
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June 16, 2021
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