Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

53 Federal Communications Law Journal 117 (2000)


Universal service is a public policy initiative designed to ensure that all United States citizens receive widespread access to affordable telecommunications services. Customers in high-cost service regions such as rural and insular areas are typically excluded from the latest telecommunications technology. Most large carriers serving these regions prefer to implement technological updates in urban areas where profit margins are higher while allowing the rural infrastructure to deteriorate. The Federal Universal Service Fund currently offers subsidies to telecommunications providers serving high-cost regions, but the FCC has announced efforts to reform the subsidy allocation system that could potentially impede technological advancement in these areas. As telecommunications services become more advanced, the difference in the quality and cost of service provided to customers in high- and low-cost regions will become further polarized. This Note argues that the FCC should consider developing specialized universal service funding that subsidizes technological improvements in high-cost regions in an effort to ensure that technological advancements such as cable-telephony reach rural customers.