Coalition Spotlights Potential Threat To Rural America's Broadband Access
(PRNewswire) The newly-formed Small Company Coalition is spreading information in hopes of raising awareness regarding equal broadband for everyone. The Coalition is made up of small independent telecom carriers that serve rural America, including tribal lands and the heartlands of America.
According to SCC, as part of the FCC's Universal Service/Intercarrier Compensation Reform Order, the FCC has put in place new regulations that change the way access charges and USF funding (the fund that keeps the costs of high-speed Internet, voice and other fiber-optic driven services comparable and affordable for all Americans) is administered and paid for, resulting in the transfer of approximately $8.8 billion over the next five years from small rural companies to the largest telephone companies using those networks.
"This new FCC funding plan means rural broadband users will likely be paying the differences to make up big revenue losses," said James Kail, Executive Committee member of the SCC and President and CEO of Laurel Highland Total Communications, Inc. "It is unreasonable to ask rural customers to pay significantly more than broadband users pay in urban areas. Broadband is the universal supply chain that keeps America going. We believe the FCC has exercised authority that is illegal," Kail continued.
"The FCC is willing to take broadband away from rural America. They think if they force our independent networks to charge rates customers will not pay, then some other company or type of technology will deliver broadband to rural America," said Godfrey Enjady, Executive Committee member of the SCC and General Manager of Mescalero Apache Telecom, Inc. "The FCC has not demonstrated a commitment to keep broadband lines open at prices and a quality level required for growth and sustainability in rural America today. It is also the backbone transport for wireless carriers," Enjady said.
According to SCC, the FCC's action opposes the goals and promises of the President's American Recovery Act, The Rural Utility Service's programs and other programs also in place. "What is amazing is that just a year after President Barrack Obama established the White House Rural Council to address economic challenges, now rural America is in broadband crisis," Kail said.
The SCC has placed a petition on its website, www.smallcompanycoalition.com that allows all Americans to speak out before the FCC order is implemented in July.