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.
As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.
Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.
Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.