Last week I noted that the FCC is officially moving ahead with its new subsidy program. The administration will convert the Universal Service Fund – currently taxing the public and handing it out to rural telephone carriers – into a grab bag of Internet subsidies. The rural phone companies are unhappy, and everyone else is racing to get a cut. C Spire, apparently serving many rural southern customers, says the order “runs counter to the administration’s goal of promoting broadband deployment.” The Tech/Users Coalition, a group that includes Obama allies Google and Sprint, calls the USF “antiquated” and cheers the reform effort, while pressing for as much subsidy of Internet connectivity as possible. IIA also supports the effort.
Look, I don’t blame any business for looking to get a cut here. The money’s there, it’s perfectly legal, and that’s the way it is. Nobody squawked at the rural carriers collecting checks all these years. But that said, I hope Republicans will look to repeal all of this in 2013.
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