With subsidies in sight, telcos reduce investment. There's no firm data, but the net result of the $7B broadband stimulus may have been fewer unserved homes connected. Since 2009, carrier investment in broadband in rural areas has gone down drastically. Ajit Pai is moving forcefully on his plan to promote rural broadband, for which I applaud him.
Takeaway: Pai wants to spend $billions to bring broadband to the unserved. Under current plans, most of the money is likely to go where telcos would build without a subsidy, buy obsolete technology, or give the telcos two or three times what the job should cost. Any spending on wireless except where towers or backhaul is unavailable should be assumed wasteful until proven otherwise. Realistic costs need to be developed and subsidies allocated on that basis.
Pai is putting $4.5B on the table this week to bring 4G wireless to those they project won't be served without it. I believe Pai is honorable but is being misled by staffers and lobbyists. He proudly signed his name to a statement below that the $200M he approved for New York State would go to "the deployment of broadband infrastructure to unserved areas of rural New York." (Emphasis added.) Most of that money will not go to unserved areas.