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Federal and Regional Issues

Federal Universal Service and the Connect America Fund

Universal service is the idea that all Americans should have access to communications services. It is also the name of a fund and a group of programs operated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Federal universal service policies have helped make telephone service available everywhere in the United States, even in remote rural areas.

The FCC has recently recognized that high-speed internet is also an essential communications technology. The Connect America Fund and the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund are significant FCC efforts to make broadband more available to more Americans. In December of 2014, the FCC issued an order adopting comprehensive reforms to accelerate a broadband build-out to approximately 23 million Americans who lack access to infrastructure capable of providing 10/1 Mbps fixed broadband.