NTCA: Long-Term Broadband Success Requires Recognition of Why Broadband Exists in the First Place and the Need to Upgrade Networks Over Time
Arlington, Va. (August 21, 2012) – The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) today issued the following statement from NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield regarding the release by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of its “Broadband Progress Report” (706 Report) on the state of broadband deployment to all Americans.
“The FCC’s report highlights the challenge in reaching millions of Americans who still lack access to broadband. This is a significant public policy issue, but it’s equally important that our nation realizes sustainable broadband deployment. It can’t be just about ensuring that unserved households become served near-term – the real payback to the American economy comes in making sure that broadband gets out to all of America, that it stays there, that it stays affordable, and that it keeps pace with consumer and business demand over time.
“Small rural providers have already shown tremendous commitment and made great strides in deploying broadband-capable networks in the hardest-to-serve reaches of America. Universal service and intercarrier compensation policies have been critical to these efforts, and they remain essential to the sustainability of and ability to upgrade rural networks. But most of the networks deployed by small rural providers are still below the new 4/1 Mbps target speed set by the FCC and will require upgrades to keep pace. This report makes clear that, as speeds progress over time, we run the risk of leaving behind substantial swaths of America served by these small rural companies unless universal service support is put on a more sufficient and predictable course.”
The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 570 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.