FCC Funds 25Mbps, Data-Capped Satellite In Rural Areas
fcc funds 25mbps datacapped in rural
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Federal Communications Commission is giving $87.1 million in rural-broadband funding to satellite operator Viasat to help the company lower prices and raise data caps. The FCC’s Connect America Fund generally pays ISPs to expand their networks into rural areas that lack decent home Internet access. Viasat’s satellite service already provides coverage of 98 percent of the US population in 50 states, so it doesn’t need government funding to expand its network the same way that wireline operators do. But Viasat will use the money to offer Internet service “at lower cost to consumers, while also permitting higher usage allowances, than it typically provides in areas where it is not receiving Connect America Fund support,” the FCC said in its announcement yesterday. Viasat’s $87.1 million is to be used over the next 10 years “to offer service to more than 121,700 remote and rural homes and businesses in 17 states.” Viasat must provide speeds of at least 25Mbps for downloads and 3Mbps for uploads. While the funding for Viasat could certainly improve access for some people, the project helps illustrate how dire the broadband shortage is in rural parts of many states. Viasat’s service is generally a last-ditch option for people in areas where there’s no fiber or cable and where DSL isn’t good enough to provide a reasonably fast and stable connection. Viasat customers have to pay high prices for slow speeds and onerous data limits. A Viasat spokesperson wouldn’t comment on what prices and data caps will be applied to the company’s FCC-subsidized plans. Viasat said it will provide the required 25Mbps service “along with an evolving usage allowance, and at FCC-defined prices, to certain areas, where we will be subject to a new range of federal and state regulations.”Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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