NTCA Responds to Small Business Administration Broadband Survey
NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield issued the following statement in response to the Small Business Administration's release of its report, "The Impact of Broadband Speed and Price on Small Business":
"NTCA is pleased that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has lent its resources to exploring the importance of broadband to America's small business entrepreneurs and at the same time raising the visibility of this critical issue. To remain viable and competitive for the businesses that drive economic development, rural communities must have access to sufficient and affordable broadband. As small businesses themselves, NTCA members serving rural America recognize the important role broadband plays in attracting new businesses and maintain existing ones.
"The SBA report highlights the need for policies that will help ensure access in rural areas to the broadband networks that will drive future business applications and services. However, we are concerned that the SBA report fails to differentiate between rural areas served by small, community-based providers and those served by larger providers. Small rural providers are actively deploying broadband in their service territories. On the other hand, many of the areas where consumers and businesses face access issues are in fact served by large providers who neglect them in favor of more profitable areas.
"We support the FCC's efforts to addresses broadband availability and adoption challenges via the national broadband plan. But we believe that, rather than follow the SBA's policy recommendation to "stay the course" on the plan, the commission should in fact alter the course of the plan to prevent the wholesale dismantling of the cost recovery structure that has yielded considerable rural broadband deployment success and will be critical to broadband access for small businesses and consumers going forward."
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.