The FCC collects a charge on all internet, tv, and phone bills called Universal Service Fee. The fees ranges from pennies to over $5 per month for almost everyone.

Congress tells the FCC what it can spend this on, and it can do as it wishes within the broad guidelines set by congress.

Today, the FCC issued another round of funding with the ultimate goal of reaching 700,000 rural homes without high speed internet today. Likely about 100,000 of these homes will be on tribal lands.

The really good news for the recipients of these funds, is their broadband provider will be expected to build out fiber to the door gigabit speed internet at reasonable prices.

Theoretically the extra 700,000 internet homes paying back into the universal service fund monthly ongoing would reimburse the fund completely over a few decades.

Obviously 700k homes isn’t enough to reach all of rural America, but the hope is it will bring profitable internet closer to millions more homes that may finally get internet thanks to this through the free market.