In 2010, the Universal Service Fund (USF) provided communities with close to $8 billion in telecommunications funding. Since 1999, the fund has distributed $71.7 billion dollars. The importance of USF in providing crucial communications services in high cost and low income areas, as well as rural health care facilities, schools and libraries, cannot be understated.
The Federal Communications Commission is planning to transition the USF program to support broadband, rather than voice. The transition plan will phase out today’s inter-carrier compensation system that includes subsidies to support telecom service in high-cost areas.
A fund of this staggering magnitude warrants further investigation. We recently visited the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) website to do just that. USAC is an independent corporation that administers and collects data for the Fund. The USAC website offers static reports and downloadable datasets by funding area and year.
View an overview of USF funding by program here: High Cost Dashboard