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‘Like Taxing Horseshoes’: Landlines Wane, Sap U.S. Broadband Aid

  • FCC’s Carr says Google, Facebook don’t contribute to network
  • Proposal stirs interest as U.S. broadband subsidy struggles
Close abstract view of a silver cordless household telephone

Photographer: Cynthia Shirk/Getty Images

As more Americans cut the cord on traditional landline phones, a government program that subsidizes internet service to poor communities is in danger of collapsing because it relies on taxes from dwindling long-distance calling fees.

That’s prompting calls to shore up the more than 20-year-old Universal Service Fund by tapping technology companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. that profit from the growing use of broadband.