Broadband grumbles

John Moe Sep 15, 2011

Sure, everyone likes the IDEA of improved rural broadband. How to roll it out and pay for it? Well that’s a bit of a sticky issue. Politico is reporting some states have a problem with the way the Federal Communications Commission wants to implement high speed internet in outlying areas.

At issue are the complex rules that govern how phone carriers pay each other to exchange traffic on their networks – a system known as intercarrier compensation. As consumers continue to ditch their traditional landline services for broadband-based communications, the FCC wants to streamline the rates carriers pay each other to incentivize them to expand their broadband facilities.

Six of the big wireless carriers who would be hooking up rural households have banded together to present a plan to the FCC on how to handle all this. But the individual states are not very happy that such a plan between the corporations and the feds cuts the states out of what’s happening in their own jurisdictions. So the whole mess will likely head to court amid a bunch of suits.

Upshot: it’s going to take a while for broadband to get to your house, country folk.

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.