Ajit Pai works to cap funding for rural and poor people, gets GOP backing

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The Federal Communications Commission has preliminarily voted to cap spending on the FCC’s Universal Service programs, which deploy broadband to poor people and to rural and other underserved areas.

The party-line vote was criticized by the FCC’s two Democrats, with Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel saying the Republican plan “is fundamentally inconsistent with this agency’s high-minded rhetoric about closing the digital divide” and “at odds with our most basic statutory duty to promote and advance universal service.”

Last week’s approval of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is a preliminary step—the FCC will take public comment on Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan for three months before moving to a final vote. The FCC technically won’t begin the public-comment period until after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register, but the FCC proceeding’s docket is online at this page.

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