The offer to the rural operations of the largest telecom providers - known as price cap carriers - would provide ongoing support for networks that can deliver broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps uploads to nearly 9 million rural residents nationwide. Carriers have 120 days to determine whether or not to accept the funding on a state-by-state basis. In states where carriers decline the offer, the subsidies will be offered to providers on a competitive basis.
The CAF is an adaptation of the old Universal Service Fund, which was originally set up for telephone service. In 2011, the FCC changed the program to support broadband as well as voice services.