ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The chair of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska was named to the federal state Joint Board on Universal Service by the Federal Communications Commission.
Nanette Thompson will serve on the board, which makes funding recommendations to make telecommunications service more affordable nationwide.
Alaska communities have benefited from the board's recommendations. Alaska schools, libraries and rural health care institutions have received more than $20 million through the agency. The money helped pay for high speed Internet connections and other telecommunciations services.
In addition, Alaska's telephone companies serving rural areas will receive $70 million this year to reduce local rates in high cost service areas.
''Having an Alaska representative on this board is crucial to making sure rural Alaska interests are represented,'' said Deborah Sedwick, commissioner of the Department of Community and Economic Development.
The universal services board is expected to address several issues of importance to Alaska this year, including proposed changes in allocating cash to high cost areas and whether high speed Internet connections should be paid for with universal service funds.
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