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FCC Gets Go-Ahead For Plan To Expand Rural Internet Access 156

Posted by timothy
from the we-call-them-the-hinterlands dept.
The FCC's plan to use fees collected from big telecom companies to expand Internet infrastructure in rural parts of the U.S. was given a green light yesterday in Denver, by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Those telecoms maintained that the FCC's mandate did not extend to using the money to pay for Internet service, but a three-judge panel dismissed their challenge. From The Verge: "The FCC originally pitched the program as part of the Universal Service Fund in 2011, noting in a report a year earlier that approximately 14 million people did not have access to broadband. The Connect America Fund aimed to use a portion of customer bills in other areas of the country to build out broadband infrastructure, including cellular data networks in those areas. That would begin with $300 million at the start, and up to $500 million as part of an annual budget."
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FCC Gets Go-Ahead For Plan To Expand Rural Internet Access

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  • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @08:52PM (#47085215)

    Because property taxes on rural land doesn't subsidize services for people that live in the city, amirite?

    I work for a local government and am heavily involved in the property tax process. I'm sure like all things it varies by state, but here (South Carolina) I'd say that the urban subsidizes the rural even on property taxes.

    For one, there's the plain and simple situation that large tracts of rural land are worth much less per acre than land in the cities. A 0.25 acre lot in town might be $30k whilst land out in the woods is less than $10k per acre.

    Secondly, large tracts of agricultural land used for crops or timber are given an EXTREME tax break. Most of them pay taxes on less than 5% of the actual value of the land.

    And last, serious tax breaks are given to "owner occupied" residential properties. Owner occupied properties are far more common in rural areas. Its not uncommon in the urban/suburban areas, but there are far more rental properties and such that end up paying nearly twice as much in property taxes.

    I know in our specific locale its been an area of concern lately that a small urban area that is less than 10% of the size of the county generates more than 25% of the property tax revenue.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @08:52PM (#47085217) Journal

    we got very good service as a whole, with reasonable rates

    How old are you? Are you old enough to remember the concept of "long distance"? Of paying $0.10/min - $0.25/min for the privilege of calling your friends and family across the country? Rounded up of course. Don't tell me Ma Bell had "reasonable rates". Their rates were highway robbery even with the technological limitations of those days.

    Innovation and regulated monopolies don't go hand in hand either. The theoretical underpinnings of what we now call DSL were well known in the 50s and workable technology was field tested by the 80s. It went nowhere because AT&T saw it as a threat, we can't sell dedicated data lines if we bring data and voice in on the same pair. That technology was left to collect dust on the shelf until DOCSIS was on the horizon and they realized they had a competitor.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @08:56PM (#47085229) Journal

    When our telecommunications WERE "nationalized" (i.e., when Ma Bell was a regulated "natural monopoly"), we got very good service as a whole, with reasonable rates. When it was all land lines, that is.

    Memory is often viewed through rose-tinted spectacles. Do you remember that SNL sketch, with the line "We're the phone company and we don't care"? Today, we have crony-capitalism, which isn't any better than fully regulated. The FCC rolled over when incumbents made it impossible for CLECs to compete. If the FCC had had some backbone then, there might be a competitive landscape now.

    On a related note, I don't understand why the broadcasters (NBC excepted, of course) are not up in arms about the proposed Comcast/Time Warner merger. The merger will give the combined entity more negotiation power against the broadcasters.

  • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjames (1099) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:13PM (#47085293) Homepage

    Probably because people actually can dig a well and a septic tank on their own and it works fine while internet is all or nothing unless you expect each individual to run a separate fiber to the nearest city.

  • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:45PM (#47085427)

    Oh horseshit. Do your research. 97 percent of farms in the US are family owned and operated. 2.2 million of them. Average farm family income is about 70K

    http://www.fb.org/index.php?fu... [fb.org]

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