On the WISPA list we were talking about the blog from Alex Goldman at ISP-Planet about the USDA announcement that it has awarded $342 Million to 18 companies. (PDF is here). Of course, this resulted in outrage from the WISP's. When TD complained that the government should help boot-strapped (and cash strapped) ISP's, I responded:
It is not about the Providers per se. It is about getting a reliable Utility service to consumers at an affordable rate. That is what the USF is for.
Government's job is NOT to prop up businesses (even though we are seeing that now with yet another bailout). (Government agencies like the F guys (FTC, FCC, FDA) were established by law with a mandate to protect Consumers. Some of the agency chairs seem to interpret that as give everything to the big guy, but that's a different rant.)
The sooner folks get it in their heads it is ALL about the Customers (not the technology, not your company, not your people, not even your Price), the better off you will all be.
And if this subsidy bothers you so much, please contact your Congress Critter and comment on the open docket at the FCC to revamp the USF.
Or GO GET a grant yourself! It doesn't knock on your door, ya know? You have to go find it. Do some research. Talk to some people. Outreach to your community leaders. Then jump through the paperwork hoops to get it. It has already been done by quite a few companies that I know or work with (as we discussed Friday in Atlanta at FISPA).