The Connect America Fund (CAF) from the federal government has been both praised and criticized as a mechanism to expand rural broadband deployment. In this episode of the podcast, Principal of Mattey Consulting Carol Mattey talks in depth with Christopher about the program. Carol was a Deputy Bureau Chief in the Wireline Competition Bureau at the FCC to help develop the program and has worked on the National Broadband Plan.
In addition to offering a primer on CAF for those of us who aren’t familiar with its inception or purpose, Carol offers a historical perspective that includes the broad goals of the program. She looks back and offers her opinions on the aspects of the program she considers successful and those that need improvement. Carol and Christopher consider the challenges of creating such a program, including political pressures and the difficulty of navigating unchartered waters.
They compare the different phases of the CAF program and how large national ISPs and smaller entities have used the awards. Christopher and Carol also discuss possible changes in benchmarks that could make the resulting infrastructure more future proof and useful to rural communities.
For more conversations about CAF with other guests that we’ve had on the show, check out:
- Episode 268 with Jon Chambers, "Rethinking the Rules on the Connect America Fund"
- Episode 318 with Bill Coleman, "Are CAF II Investments Helping Rural Minnesota? Blandin Report Looks at the Data...