NTCA Member Lang Zimmerman Testifies on Rural Broadband Before House Agriculture Subcommittee

For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Withers, 703-351-2087, lwithers@ntca.org

Arlington, Va., (July 29, 2014) – Lang Zimmerman, vice president of Yelcot Telephone Co. (Mountain Home, Ark.), a member company of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, testified today before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit during the hearing “Coordinating Future Investments in Broadband.”

The following is excerpted from Zimmerman’s written testimony:

“USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) plays a crucial role in rural broadband deployment through its telecom loan portfolio that finances network upgrades and deployments in rural areas. RUS programs have helped rural providers deploy modern networks in many rural areas where the market would otherwise not support investment. Reliable access to capital helps rural carriers meet the broadband needs of rural consumers at affordable rates. Unfortunately, the success, momentum and economic development achieved from the RUS’s telecommunication programs were put at risk as a result of the regulatory uncertainty arising out of USF reforms. … It will be all the more important to continue providing RUS with the resources it needs to lend to the rural telecom industry as demand for financing will inevitably increase when reforms are improved and small carriers are given certainty, hopefully through a program like the Connect America Fund that is designed to promote broadband investment. As Congress continues to grapple with where to best direct scarce resources, it’s important to note that the RUS Broadband Loan Program and the traditional Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan programs are funded with loans that must be paid back with interest—creating a win/win situation for rural broadband consumers and taxpayers. Rural providers look forward to building on an already successful partnership with RUS.”

The full text of the submitted written testimony is available online.

An archive of the hearing is available on the subcommittee's website.

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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.