A Federal Communications Commission task force says expanding broadband usage throughout the United States will require subsidies and investment in infrastructure upgrades of as much as $350 billion, Reuters reports. The FCC is crafting a national broadband plan aimed at increasing usage in rural and urban areas. In a mid-course status report, an FCC task force said preliminary estimates suggest that investments in the range of $20 billion to $350 billion might be needed for wireless and landline infrastructure, depending on the speed of service. The potential costs for investment dwarf the $7.2 billion set aside in President Obama’s economic stimulus package. The panel said transferring the universal services fund collected for traditional phone calls for broadband usage will not suffice. Though a majority of Americans have internet service at home, one-third have access to broadband but have not subscribed, and another 4 percent have no access, the panel said. And those who have broadband are receiving slower speeds than what is being advertised, with actual speeds lagging by as much as 50 to 80 percent…

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