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Your phone bill may soon pay for someone else's broadband

Telephone bills, which contain information for an AT&T customer, lie in a pile May 12, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois.

It's a very small charge on your phone; you might not have even noticed it was there. It's marked USF for Universal Service Fund and it's been on your bill in some form since the 1930s. Genachowski's plan would be driven by the Obama administration's stated goal of getting broadband Internet coverage to a much larger number of American households.

We talk to Blair Levin. He's with the Aspen Institute now, but during his time with the Obama administration, he crafted the National Broadband Plan. He says that by concentrating on spreading broadband instead of just phone line, we would be setting up the networks that will handle all of our communications. Phone calls are available through broadband, as well as web services and video.

Christian Sandvig from the University of Illinois also joins us. He says the USF fund has had a rocky history. He also points out that the last time it was addressed in Congress, back in 1996, provisions were made for accommodating the next wave of communications.

Also in this program, it's another tech vocabulary word: "dot eco." Coming soon to a web address near you.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.
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