NTCA Member Brings Communications to Unserved Arizona Territory

Zona Communications RUS loan helps connect rural residents via telephone, broadband

November 7, 2007, Arlington, Va. - In a move that demonstrates the ongoing need for programs that support rural Americas communications infrastructure, National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) member Zona Communications today delivered telephone service to a previously-unserved rural area in west-central Arizona.

Zonas initiative highlights two federal programs essential to financing continued network deployment in remote and rural areas: the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) telecommunications loan program, and the high-cost universal service fund (USF)-a cost-recovery program that helps telcos recoup some of the large capital expenditure required to build and maintain networks in rural areas.

To finance the costly project of connecting the citizens of Whispering Ranch, the remote area state regulators assigned to Zona as part of its service territory in 2006,  Zona turned to the RUS.  Their traditional loan financed the build-out of its network, bringing the previously isolated community not only voice service, but broadband Internet as well. 

It is difficult for most Americans to comprehend that there are still pockets of our country that are without access to the basic communicationsContact Caitlin Colligan at 703-351-2086 services the majority of us take for granted said NTCA Vice President of Government Affairs Tom Wacker.  Thankfully, rural carriers like Zona are committed to these communities and-with the help of RUS and USF -can deliver communications services despite the associated risks and costs.

To commemorate the event, Zona Communications held a ceremonial first call from one of its newly-served customers to Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), whose district covers much of Zonas 1,100 square mile service territory.  RUS Assistant Administrator Curtis Anderson and local Arizona government representatives also participated on the call.

The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 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.