ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Federal broadband officials spent time in Alaska this week as big decisions loom regarding the $65 billion in infrastructure funding for nationwide broadband expansion.
Commissioner Brendan Carr of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission was among those visiting and said the trip was a chance to see the challenges of bringing high-speed connectivity to Alaska.
“I wanted to get up here and see firsthand the experience Alaska providers are having dealing with the FCC map,” Carr said.
According to Carr, the communications commission is updating its national broadband map, and the number of underserved locations will decide how much federal funding will come to Alaska.
“What we’re hearing from Alaskan providers is that the current iteration of the FCC map, which isn’t public, but carriers have access to it,” Carr said. “Is orders of magnitude wrong when it comes to identifying the locations that need internet service here in Alaska, and so that falls on us back at the FCC to get these maps right.”
During his trip, Carr spent time on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and said he saw communities paying millions of dollars for little to no internet connection.
“As a federal official that works on the internet, that is completely unacceptable,” Carr said. “This $40 million from DC can make a difference in this state.”
Federal funding from the FCC for high-speed broadband caught headlines this week when the communications commission rejected SpaceX’s application for nearly $900 million dollars in internet subsidies.
“I don’t stand with the FCC decision on that,” Carr said. “I was surprised myself; I found out through a press release that the FCC put out while I was uo in the YK Delta.”
According to Carr, the subsidies would have served particular rural communities in 35 states.
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