FCC aims to offer high-speed internet to rural America

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The Federal Communications Commission announced May 22 it would work in a public-private effort to bring high-speed broadband internet service to rural America.

FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn announced the effort was a result of the second release of Phase I funds of the Connect America Fund. The fund will offer up to $485 million to expand fixed broadband in rural America. The additional investment will leverage millions in additional private investment to quickly serve rural areas currently lacking access to high-speed broadband.

Approximately 15 million Americans, most of them living in rural areas, lack broadband and the access it provides to jobs, education, and opportunities. Without broadband, consumers and small businesses are cut off from the $8 trillion global Internet economy, severely limiting opportunities for jobs and economic prosperity.

This additional investment comes as the FCC moves into Phase II of the Connect America Fund, created in the historic overhaul and reform of the FCC’s traditional universal service program for rural voice service. Phase II will provide ongoing annual support of $1.8 billion for both voice and broadband service, all without increasing growth in the fund. Any funding not accepted in Phase 1 will be used to connect unserved communities in Phase II. Total FCC investment in expansion and support of rural fixed and mobile broadband and voice through universal service is budgeted at $4.5 billion.

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perry township, richland county, ohio  |  June, 18, 2013 at 07:32 PM

More money being gave away while big internet providers still refuse to expand internet 1 or 2 miles down the road. While in areas who already have great internet, they are getting upgraded to even faster service. Who governs where all this money is being spent? Because I can tell everyone it's not offer access to rural America!

June, 20, 2013 at 02:23 PM

Isn't that the truth. Only a 1/3 of a mile and they want $18,000 to connect. Yet they give money to provide better service to those who already have it. Or to benefit large land developers who are probably providing campaign funding!

Rural NC  |  June, 27, 2013 at 07:09 AM

Seriously... I've been hearing this same lip service for 5 years. Meanwhile, I am getting less than dial up speeds via an aircard and paying $60.00 a month for it. Sorry, I no longer believe a word of it.

Virginia  |  July, 01, 2013 at 08:41 AM

Could not agree more, as someone who is attempting to get cable extended from the next door neighbor (approximately 500') in order to get high speed internet, I either have to pay thousands, or go without. Well, by go without I can get 1.5MB DSL, or pay heavily for Satellite that goes out anytime it gets cloudy. Incredibly frustrating, I am going to contact my Senator over the issue.

Central North Carolina  |  July, 03, 2013 at 08:11 PM

Some of us are are not served with broadband because our phone provider has reported us as served with DSL when they do not serve us. I am one of the uncounted when it comes to lack of broadband. There needs to be a way to at least get the funds that are out there for satellite connections when the phone company does this to us. Our phone companies report us as served and "hold us hostage", collect the Universal Service Fee from us and continue seeking more gov't funding. Meanwhile, we lack all of the above mentioned benefits of broadband service, and while we pay taxes at the same rate as connected households, our homes and property are worth little on the resale market without access to broadband.

Jewel Sutphen    
Hallsville, TX  |  July, 09, 2013 at 07:20 AM

2 1/2 miles up the road they have cable and decent internet. Here, the cable company says it isn't worth running out from town even though there are several subdivisions going in. I pay almost $100 a month and get less than 1.2 MBPS when I am paying for "faster internet" of 3 MBPS. Trying to Skype is a mess, can't view live web cams at that speed and the providers say it is getting to your antenna but won't do anything about the cable part of the system to the house or their power box. Why dod we always get the short stick? I don't believe the Govt. are doing anything to help us out. Just adding to the problem, as usual.

Upstate South Carolina  |  July, 24, 2013 at 01:13 PM

We have tried all of the so called fast internet providers and doesn't do anything for us. Loading a Youtube video is a joke, and you can forget online schooling. Just as everyone has said, real high speed internet is offered not even five minutes from where we live, and we live right by I-85, literally. Whoever is first to provide internet to rural areas will make a fortune, so I don't see what the issue is.

Leon MV    
Delavan,WI  |  July, 24, 2013 at 05:32 PM

Acting ChairWoman Mignon C.; we rural residents ask you to prove this effort. I live less than 10 miles from three towns that have fast speed internet ,and have been in an ATT 'waiting list' for fast speed internet for more 20 years!.

ryan b    
n.j.  |  August, 15, 2013 at 01:31 AM

Complete B.S. a prison 5 miles further out has H.S. INTERNET FOR ITS CONS. I AM 4 MILES CLOSER BUT A MILE IN THE OTHER DERECTION AND I AM S.O.L. ??? I guess being in jail gets you more rights than paying taxes.

August, 15, 2013 at 01:39 AM

I am 1 mile away from a Comcast line ran 6 miles farther down the road than my 1 mile left tern run. Guess what the 7 mile run was just maid for a prison so Con's could have cable. Really?? The price I got was $40,000.00 to run cable for that mile.

Williamsburg, IN  |  August, 21, 2013 at 09:33 AM

As a software engineer living (and working) in a rural area, I can feel everyone's frustration. I am fortunate to be living in an area served by a wireless internet company. We have an antenna mounted on a tower at our house and I routinely get between 2 and 4 MBps (download). I just read where Exede claims to offer 12 MBps (download) for $49.99, but there is a limit of 10 GB/month (it is satellite internet, hence the limit). This limit is unworkable for me, but I thought I would mention it.

NJ  |  August, 24, 2013 at 05:08 PM

Where exactly in NJ are you located? I will find you a solution for high speed.

NJ  |  August, 24, 2013 at 05:10 PM

Let me know your location and I will let you know what kind of speeds you can get and with which provider.

Gilbert MN  |  August, 28, 2013 at 07:29 AM

Yep, same problem as everyone else on this comment board. Not even two miles away, everything is offered. And whats worse is that I have a son with autism who learns visually, and I have no way to help him with videos because it takes three years to download anything. Its not fair.

MN  |  September, 02, 2013 at 07:29 PM

Kirsten, are you in zip code 55741?

Dr. Ricks Pluenneke    
76140  |  September, 12, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Please don't make it TOO rural! I have waited on AT&T DSL for over five years and am just outside of Fort Worth. If I was further out, I could subscribe to a tower service. Need high speed Internet badly! Limits my work as a professional. Thanks.

Lohman, Missouri  |  September, 24, 2013 at 03:04 PM

Our local company ended the high speed line 150 feet from our house. They want $60,000 to finish the run. However, they have us listed as "serviced" so they can charge us a higher communications tax.

West Houston  |  September, 30, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Hi Jewel Have you tried Internet America.. We serve the Hallasville area. If you have and had a problem, please email me so i can check why you had a problem.. We have been in your area for a number of years already. Based in Houston, we have markets in Victoria, San Antonio, Houston , Dallas, and Missouri. Thks

08088  |  October, 07, 2013 at 08:18 PM

Hi, The house is 67 Moores Meadow R.D. 08088. I have been looking for a year to find a connection that has low latency and that can handle my house hold volume of an average 60 gig a month. Sat is an issue because of latency and information cap. Ryan

Kilgore, TX  |  October, 08, 2013 at 12:38 AM

I am so sick of HughesNet and their limited data. The speed is okay, but when they advertise you are getting 40 GB a month, it is a freaking lie...unless you are a night owl and do most of your internet activity between 2am and 6am! They advertise it as "bonus." If I am paying over $100/month, let me use my 40 GB whenever I want! Here I am with 8 days left before my data restarts...and I have less than 1 GB to last! I have a teenager with homework that needs to be done...I have online classes that I am going to be unable to submit my assignments on time unless I set my alarm for 2 am to send it! To make matters worse, I have a friend that lives 2 miles further out of town, and the local cable company now provides high speed internet out to their subdivision of about 8 houses! There are about 15-20 houses in my subdivision...with cable already ran from the cable company, but they "quit servicing our area about 5 years ago!" It is ridiculous! I am willing to pay an early termination fee if I could get something at a comparable speed with no data limit!

Hanover ,VA  |  October, 10, 2013 at 03:43 PM

I feel all of your pain i have to use a mobile hotspot that is hit or miss most of the time and i has hughesnet and it was a joke . A mile away from my house they have Comcast internet i just dont get why i cant get good internet its been 10 years waiting

SW VA  |  November, 30, 2013 at 07:42 PM

Not only do we need the high speed internet but, we need a watch dog to watch the providers from abusing the customers as has been in the past with inflated prices, very poor service, and adding more charges that were not told up front.

N.J.  |  December, 30, 2013 at 12:19 AM

Comcast has now reported 2x it income in 2013 than 2012. Come on Comcast Run some more coax and step up to 2014 and the ethics your so well paid executives Brag about over the Holladay's. Service homes that need the boost the internet will give. Take the reasonability that goes with the profit from being the monopoly you are in so many rural community's.

Upper Fairmount MD  |  January, 24, 2014 at 08:55 PM

We just got LTE service here with AT&T and so the speed is great - usally around 14 MBPS and as high as the low 20s MBPS. I have been using a mobile hotspot as my only means of Internet for over 2 years now. Tried satellite but hotspot is much more reliable and cheaper. The biggest problem is the data limit and cost. Higher data limits are available but unaffordable. I must always be thinking about how much data I use and there's lots of things I can't do because of data limitations. I have even contacted AT&T and suggested they offer rural data plans with lower cost and higher limits for those without broadband service available. I have been here 3 years and see no evidence of any effort to bring broadband to this area. Two years ago I read about a project to put wifi broadband in this area and even saw where the towers were supposed to be installed but nothing has happened. I feel as if our community has been totally forgotten in regards to broadband anf I too don't believe areas like where I live will benefit from this latest announcement. Very sad.

Indiana  |  January, 30, 2014 at 02:20 PM

It's refreshing and frustrating to read these comments. Glad to know I'm not the only one having problems and frustrating to see the same BS is being given to others as well. I'm in what we call the "Bermuda Triangle" for internet service. I'm within 5 miles of 3 different towns that have high speed. Comcast brings service within 2 miles of our home and then stop. Centurylink brings service to within less than 1 mile from our house and stops. Frontier is within 1-2 miles as well. Nobody will bring service to the 30+ homes that are in our area. It's maddening. Here's the best part. I went in and talked with the head of the Centurylink office closest to us and was told that Centurylink found a "loop hole" and used the $$$ from the FCC to upgrade service in the larger cities to increase their footprint! It's time the FED's stepped up and did something about this.

Oxford, MS  |  March, 27, 2014 at 05:58 PM

Our local internet provider said that we are 3 miles outside of their service area. The line runs all the way down the highway to the next town. I was quoted $20,000 per mile to lay the line to my house. What is it going to take to get these ISPs to start servicing those that don't live directly in the cities?!?

Quincy, MS  |  April, 23, 2014 at 05:10 PM

here's one....Wait for the response you feel when the telephone tech tells you that the only way your internet will be more reliable is if you figure out how to pick your house up and move it a mile down the road. We live in an area where the phone company is the only "fixed" provider and they refuse to improve the service. They serve an area containing approximately 500 homes from one location and have said that they will not improve the service. They built a new RT (terminal) closer in the other direction but never hooked anyone to it. It's just sitting there leaving the whole area without fixed service at all. I think if they are going to accept the money then there should be a minimum standard of service they have to provide and if they don't want to, lets go back to the time of co-location where someone else can come in offer it without all the "whining and complaining" they want to do about "We built the network!!".....

Texas  |  June, 04, 2014 at 12:20 PM

There is now a solution for the issue of "long drops". Our company - 4Cable TV - makes a product we sell to the cable companies - called the RF2F. It takes RF signals in at the end of a cable companies line and changes them back to a fiber optic signal. This fiber can be run all the way to your home, where it is converted back to RF. Fully two-way capable. Data, video, even voice if you want (well, if the cable company provides all three. Video and data for sure). You can run 5,000 to 10,000 feet easily, and we have a new model coming in the next 2 months that should be able to double that. Very affordable for the cable companies to buy and deploy. Check it out here: http://www.4cable.tv/products/rf2f/ If you like what you see we ask that you send the link to your local CATV provider and ask them to contact us.

Susan Davis    
Valley Mills TX  |  June, 05, 2014 at 03:34 PM

I would love to pay into my own industry again. Unfortunately the cable System that used to serve Valley Mills TX has abandoned our town last year...that company was called Reach BB...I am a Direct TV and Clear Subscriber....

Heather Thomas    
Nebraska  |  August, 12, 2014 at 01:54 PM

In the past, I found it difficult to find good internet connectivity in rural areas but Ive found that blue fire broadband is reliable and affordable - I hope this helps some folks looking for service outside the city: http://www.bluefirebroadband.com/

North Dakota  |  September, 12, 2014 at 01:38 PM

"I am going to contact my Senator over the issue." I did this because I have been so frustrated I and it got me nowhere. I was told to contact companies to let them know grant money is available. The Government does not care

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