Rural Associations Applaud Senate for Temporary Exemption of USF From ADA Provisions

September 15, 2005, Washington, D.C. - The Independent Telephone & Telecommunications Alliance (ITTA), National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA), Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO) and the Western Telecommunications Alliance (WTA) today applauded the Senate`s inclusion in the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations bill of language providing an additional 12-month exemption of the Universal Service Fund from Anti-Deficiency Act provisions.

Jay Driscoll, Legislative Director at ITTA speaking on behalf of the groups, said: "We are grateful that the Senate passed this important piece of legislation today.  We are particularly grateful for the efforts of Senators Stevens, Inouye, Snowe and Rockefeller.  This bill allows telecommunications companies across America to continue investing in their networks and bringing affordable, modern technologies to consumers, no matter where they live. "

Contact Caitlin Colligan at 703-351-2086

"While this is a first step in the process, we look forward to working with members from the House of Representatives to create a permanent fix that ensures future investment in the lives and communities of Americans across the country." 

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About ITTA:
The Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance is an alliance of nine midsize telephone companies formed in 1994 to represent its members before federal telecommunications policymakers. ITTA members currently operate in 43 states and serve approximately seven million local customers.  Visit us at www.itta.us

About NTCA:
NTCA is the premier association representing nearly 560 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and small-town America.  NTCA provides its members with legislative, regulatory and industry representation; meetings; publications and educational programs; and an array of employee benefit programs.  Visit us at www.ntca.org.

About OPASTCO:
The Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO) represents more than 560 small, independently owned, local telecommunications companies serving primarily rural areas of the United States and Canada. OPASTCO`s membership includes both commercial companies and cooperatives, which range in size from fewer than 100 to 100,000 access lines, and collectively serve more than 3.5 million customers. OPASTCO represents rural telecommunications interests before federal regulatory bodies and Congress, provides publications, and holds two conventions annually in January and July of each year, addressing the needs of the small telecommunications industry. The association has an affiliate 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Foundation for Rural Education and Development (FRED). Visit the OPASTCO Web site at www.opastco.org.

About WTA:
The Western Telecommunications Alliance represents more than 250 rural telephone companies in 24 states west of the Mississippi. Most members serve less than 3,000 customers overall, and less than 500 customers per exchange. The Western Telecommunications Alliance aims to unite a diverse industry to deliver influence in the western states and in Washington, D.C., that reflects our member importance in providing high quality telecommunications services for rural Americans.  Visit the WTA website at www.w-t-a.org.