Propping Up the Universal Service Fund

Senators back new broadband taxes

At a Tuesday hearing convened by the Senate Commerce Committee, several senators from largely rural states called for expansion of the Universal Service Fund (USF), a multibillion-dollar pool of money that’s currently used to subsidize telecommunications services in rural and other high-cost areas, schools and libraries.

Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican who counts himself among the fund’s staunch supporters, said Tuesday that “without Universal Service, just having a dial tone would average about $200 per month” for many residents in his home state.