Satellite cost/speed offerings currently available do not meet the broadband needs of rural communities. Satellite is still the most cost effective way to reach areas of extremely low population density. Identifying those for whom Satellite is the most effective means of providing broadband (with a reasonable 5m/1m speed and subsidizing it through a revamped Universal Service Fund is one solution. The subsidies would have to assist those in need and restrict those who would like broadband satellite for convenience.
Policy should also make a distinction between those who live in extremely low population density areas for pleasure and those who live in low density areas out of necessity. Farmers, loggers, miners, forestry service employees and the like should be helped.
Working for a company who is actively engaged in selling off rural customers but is also at the forefront of providing cutting edge technology where population densities make economic sense has given me an inside look at the effects subsidizing rural telecommunications have on companies who have to compete against cable companies who only provide service where they want to.
Efforts at blocking the sale of these rural assets have failed in every case and they should. I work in buildings that used to have floors you could eat off of and now they have not been mopped in 10 years. I cannot get a soap dispenser for a restroom and the bushes don’t get trimmed until the local government issues citations for being a public nuisance. Expecting what is left of the Bell Operating Companies to continue doing what they did when there was a monopoly in this competitive environment is an expectation that will never be realized.
A Universal Service Fund that is funded by all of the telecommunication providers (telecommunication providers needs to be redefined to include all entities engaged in selling services to transfer data, regardless of content, for profit) is the only fair way to continue providing universal service.