FCC, FTC Commissioners Address NTCA Telecom Executive Policy Summit

For Immediate Release
Contact: Hillary Crowder, 703-351-2086, hcrowder@ntca.org

Arlington, Va. (October 27, 2014)
—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association kicked off its first Telecom
Executive Policy Summit today in Washington, D.C. Over 100 association members traveled to the nation’s capital to discuss issues critical to rural telecom providers with industry leaders, advocates and policymakers.

The conference kicked off with NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield delivering an update on policy initiatives and advocacy efforts at the state and national levels. 

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly shared ideas and provided an outlook on U.S. communications policy in the coming years. He noted that broadband is the future of universal service, and that realizing this objective will require change and action by the commission for the benefit of consumers in high-cost and extremely high-cost areas.

“In the face of change and challenge, some may be tempted to throw up their hands. But I think it is critical to move forward with our reforms,” he said. “That doesn't mean that I've come here today with a magic solution or the answers to all of your questions. I recognize that every major reform that has worked has succeeded in part because you all [NTCA members] helped shape it.”

Maureen Ohlhausen, a commissioner for the Federal Trade Commission, also gave an overview of her agency’s top priorities. She talked about the importance and challenges of providing telemedicine to rural patients. She also discussed the potential consumer implications of net neutrality rules.

“NTCA is pleased for the opportunity for members to engage more directly with Commissioners O’Rielly and Ohlhausen,” said Bloomfield. “It is crucial for our members to hear first-hand from federal policy-makers when it comes to the issues affecting the industry and the ability of community-based operators to deliver robust and affordable advanced services to rural America.”

In addition, legal advisers to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Ajit Pai spoke about key Universal Service Fund issues at the summit. The event also featured breakout sessions on E-Rate modernization, technology trials, rural broadband experiments and cost models used to calculate high-cost loop support. 

The conference will wrap up tomorrow when participants head to Capitol Hill to meet with representatives from the offices of their respective elected officials.

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at www.ntca.org.