Bloomberg Law
Feb. 2, 2021, 11:01 AM

Momentum Grows to Shore Up FCC Subsidy Programs, But Deal Elusive

Jon Reid
Jon Reid

Pressure is rising on the Federal Communications Commission and Congress to rethink an $8 billion fund that subsidizes phone and broadband service, as it teeters on a shrinking budget base.

Telecom companies, industry trade groups, and former government officials are ramping up warnings about the FCC’s Universal Service Fund, enabled by surcharges on monthly telephone bills. As subscribers steadily forsake traditional phone service for internet-based communications, revenue has plummeted by nearly 40% over the last decade.

The program funds four FCC programs that subsidize broadband for rural and low-income households, schools and libraries, and telehealth services.

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