The goal of the new Connect America Fund is to provide Internet service to 19 million homes and businesses by 2020.
Expanding broadband Internet access has been one of the FCC's top priorities under Chairman Julius Genachowski.
"Today’s action is just the beginning of our efforts to unleash the benefits of broadband for millions of homes and small businesses in unserved rural communities across the U.S," Genachowsi said in a statement. "In today’s economy, broadband is a vital platform for innovation and opportunity, including jobs, education and healthcare.”
–Updated at 1:17 p.m.