November 6, 2009 - NTCA Reacts to Boucher/Terry USF Reform Legislation

Bill recognizes critical need for solid cost recovery foundation for era ahead


Arlington, Va., November 6, 2009 - National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) CEO Michael E. Brunner issued the following statement in response to the release of universal service reform legislation by Congressmen Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.):

"Today the universal service system is more critical than ever as the nation continues its pursuit of ubiquitous advanced communications systems that are crucial to our economic and national security.  While rural carriers have led the way in communications infrastructure deployment, there is much more to be done to ensure we meet the increased bandwidth needs that accompany technological advances-it is truly an ongoing and infinite endeavor.

"With this in mind, NTCA commends Representatives Boucher and Terry for their tireless efforts to focus attention on the critical nature of and need for the universal service program, when few others in the policymaking arena are willing to do so.  With the FCC hard at work developing a national broadband plan that will be provided to Congress in February of 2010, now is the time for the public and private sectors to work together to set the stage for programs such as this to remain viable so that they can aid in the development of the communications era ahead.

"The Boucher/Terry proposal gives appropriate recognition to this reality by calling for major program modifications which have been sought by the industry for years, while acknowledging the concerns of those who have not always understood or appreciated the program's value. 

"We hope the introduction of this compromise legislation will serve as the starting point that leads to a future marked by a national commitment to not just talking about the promise of broadband, but a guarantee that this promise is met, by ensuring the availability of appropriate and fully operational cost recovery mechanisms, as is envisioned by this legislative initiative." 

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The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than Contact Caitlin Colligan at 703-351-2086560 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.