‘Like Taxing Horseshoes’: Landlines Wane, Sap U.S. Broadband Aid

June 14, 2021, 6:09 AM

As more Americans cut the cord on traditional landline phones, a government program that subsidizes internet service to poor communities is in danger of collapsing because it relies on taxes from dwindling long-distance calling fees.

That’s prompting calls to shore up the more than 20-year-old Universal Service Fund by tapping technology companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. that profit from the growing use of broadband.

“We’re taxing the telephone networks to pay for the broadband network,” said Brendan Carr, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission. “That’s like taxing horseshoes to pay for highways.”

The ...

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