July 29, 2010 - Bloomfield Named to "Top 10 Women in Wireline"
Arlington, Va., (July 29, 2010) - NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield was honored this week as one of Fierce Telecom’s “2010 Top 10 Women in Wireline.” According to Fierce Telecom Editor Sean Buckley, the leaders are being recognized for “their accomplishments inside and outside of their companies, knowledge, innovative spirit, and the influence they have on the overall wireline industry segment.”
View the Fierce Telecom “Top 10 Women in Wireline” profile online.
Last week, Fierce Telecom profiled Bloomfield and her vision for how NTCA will continue to help rural telecom providers best serve the consumers and communities throughout rural America. In addition, Connected Planet recently featured Bloomfield in an article about the challenges ahead for rural providers, and the importance of universal service in enabling continued broadband deployment in rural America.
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.
July 23, 2010 - NTCA Endorses Universal Service Legislation
Arlington, Va., July 23, 2010 - The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) has endorsed legislation proposed by Representatives Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Lee Terry (R-NE).
NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield sent a letter of support to Congressman Boucher stating "We firmly believe that the Universal Reform Act of 2010 will not only help to redirect the implementation of the ill-considered universal service provisions of the [national broadband plan], but will likewise serve to transform, strengthen, and preserve the cornerstone of our national communications policy."
View Bloomfield's letter to Rep. Boucher here.
July 14, 2010 - Consumer Groups, Video Distributors, Independent Programmers Form Alliance
ATVA Luanches New Website and Ad Campaign to Highlight Consumer Harms Caused by Broadcasters and the Need to Change Outdated Rules to Protect Consumer Access to TV Viewing
Washington D.C. (July 14) - Alarmed by broadcasters’ increasing use of showdown tactics and brinksmanship that cause disruption, uncertainty and even television blackouts, the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) joined an unprecedented coalition of consumer groups, cable operators, satellite providers, telcos, and independent programmers to form the American Television Alliance (ATVA) to give voice to consumers’ interests. The mission of the new coalition, which officially launched today, is to ensure consumers are not harmed – or their favorite shows held hostage – in negotiations for carriage of broadcast programming.
The 31-member ATVA coalition will focus on preventing consumer confusion, disruption and ever increasing rates that result from outdated rules governing these carriage negotiations. Under the current law, broadcasters may cut off their television signals and shows from video service providers and consumers if they do not receive the compensation they demand.
In the nearly 20 years since retransmission consent was created, the television market has evolved dramatically. While consumers have more choices for video programming than they did in 1992, broadcasters benefit from several outdated rules that give them the incentive and ability to withhold programming – using consumers as pawns in retransmission consent negotiations.
In addition to NTCA, the coalition includes AT&T, the American Cable Association, Cablevision, DIRECTV, DISH Network, the New America Foundation, Public Knowledge, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and other groups. The breadth and diversity of this new coalition demonstrate the urgent need for change. As evidenced by recent showdown negotiation tactics on the part of broadcasters, consumers are caught in the middle and face uncertainty, service disruptions, and constantly increasing fees.
As part of today’s official launch, The American Television Alliance will also be creating a new website, www.AmericanTelevisionAlliance.org, which will become a place where consumers can visit to learn more about the issue, sign up for updates, and take steps to ensure that broadcasters don’t prevent them from being able to view their favorite programs. The group’s creation is also highlighted in a new ad campaign (attached) which highlights a core message of the group that the time has come to give viewers a voice.
July 20, 2010 NBP Threatens RUS Lending Programs, House Ag Committee Told
Plan abandons policies that have connected rural communities and jeopardizes future broadband deployment
Arlington, Va., (July 20, 2010) - Rural communities and Rural Utilities Service (RUS) telecom lending programs are already feeling a ripple effect from the National Broadband Plan, which may ultimately lead to the inability of rural telcos to repay RUS loans, according to testimony by Mark Bahnson, general manager of Bloomingdale Communications (Bloomingdale, Mich.). Bahnson's comments came at a House Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development, Biotechnology, Specialty Crops and Foreign Agriculture hearing to review rural development programs in advance of the 2012 Farm Bill.
Bahnson cited the mutual recognition by RUS and telecom providers that without adequate financing, rural America would likely not have the communications services that are available in urban areas. He noted that RUS telecom lending has stimulated billions of dollars in private capital investment in rural communications infrastructure, a model that should be continued or emulated-not placed at risk.
July 12, 2010 - Rural Associations File Comments on FCC's Broadband USF Reform Proceeding
Rural consumers’ existing broadband networks and Administration’s goal of delivering affordable, robust broadband to Rural America at risk
Recommended actions include not imposing a cap, freeze or move to incentive regulation, immediately reforming and expanding USF contribution system, focusing on actual costs for support, and moving quickly to address intercarrier compensation issues
The National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA), the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA), the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO), the Western Telecommunications Alliance (WTA) and the Rural Alliance, along with 38 concurring state associations and other groups, today filed joint comments in the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Notice of Inquiry (NOI), which seek comment on proposals regarding Broadband Universal Service Fund (USF) reform.