Universal Service Fund
The Universal Service Fund, or USF, funds telecom service (mobile, wireline phone and broadband) for rural areas that are very expensive to serve, due to low subscriber density, as well as schools and universities.
It is funded by a surcharge (tax) on telephone bills in the 10% range, so that's a HUGE pool of money. It is doled out back to the Telcos to provide these services once approved.
Like all big pools of government money, this gives them a level of control much more than what they are allowed to prohibit or require through laws.