Alaska considering early close for telephone, internet fund

Alaska regulators are considering whether the state should continue replenishing a rural telephone and internet service fund or shut it down.

The Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday that the Alaska Universal Service Fund is losing money and has already been scheduled for closure in 2023.

A Regulatory Commission of Alaska meeting Wednesday included discussion of possible early closure.

The fund was established in 1998 to distribute fees levied on phone service to companies across the state.

The fund is expected to collect about $1.25 million per month, but this year has paid out almost $2 million monthly.

Officials say the fund could reduce payouts through regulation, but they suspect reductions in corporate fee payments are possible.

Officials say that without changes, the fund could run dry by November.