NTCA Statements on FCC Freeze of Rural Phone Rate Floor, Net Neutrality Proposal

 

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

Arlington, Va. (May 18, 2017)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today issued the following statements regarding the FCC order to freeze the rate floor imposed on rural telephone companies and proposals to eliminate the rate floor and roll back certain net neutrality rules.

Regarding the rural rate floor:

“On behalf of consumers across rural America, NTCA appreciates today’s vote to put a halt to a rule that has resulted in increased basic phone rates year after year,” said NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield. “This ill-designed regulation has harmed consumers in current form, and a pause and thoughtful fresh look at how this policy is working has long been needed. We are grateful to Chairman Pai for his long-standing leadership on tackling this issue, and to Commissioner O’Rielly for his sustained commitment to exploring how to make the universal service mechanisms more predictable and effective. While the high-cost USF program has recently undergone substantial reforms and already contains significant measures that demand accountability, NTCA remains eager to continue working with all of the commissioners in pursuit of further improvements to the rules and systems that enable universal service.”

Regarding the treatment of broadband services under net neutrality regulations:

“Today’s vote represents an important and useful chance for a ‘reset’ in the debate over how best to ensure that consumers’ expectations of their Internet services are met,” Bloomfield said. “The key question now is where this reset will lead. NTCA has long emphasized the need for reasonable ‘rules of the road’ that will promote universal service and ensure the seamless transmission of data across networks and between enterprises of all kinds, independent of the separate but important question of the legal framework upon which such rules will rest. Given the last attempt at this resulted in a number of heavy-handed regulations, we hope that the door opened today will lead to a more reasonable ‘regulatory backstop’ without going too far and leading to an absence of any rules of the road.”

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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 850 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.