NTCA Statement on FCC Open Meeting Call Completion, Supply Chain Security, and Business Data Services Actions

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Kelly Wismer, 703-351-2015, kwismer@ntca.org

Arlington, Va. (April 17, 2018)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association issued the following statements from Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield in responses to several actions taken at today’s FCC open commission meeting.

Rural Call Completion

“For years, consumers and businesses in rural America have experienced challenges in receiving calls placed by family, friends, and business partners in urban areas. NTCA has advocated consistently for right-sized rules intended to address these concerns, and the FCC has helped to tackle the crisis through enforcement actions and reporting and record-keeping requirements that have shed greater transparency and promoted better incentives in this marketplace. But as yesterday’s consent decree highlights, problems persist and a regulatory backstop remains essential to promote transparency and ensure that providers have proper incentives to complete calls to high-cost rural areas.

“NTCA generally supports attempts to streamline unnecessary or burdensome regulations and was not wedded to the specific kinds of call completion reports being filed currently, but we have also remained concerned that repeal of the reporting requirements without reasonable replacement could have negative ramifications for the quality of life of those people living in small towns across America. We hope the FCC will remain vigilant on these issues under its revised regime as promised, and that the agency will be responsive should it turn out that the actions taken today result in any backsliding in call completion practices.” 

Protecting National Security Through FCC Programs

“NTCA continues to evaluate the extent to which proposals and questions in the notice might affect member operations. NTCA is hopeful that this process will identify with precision any concerns about security of the nation’s networks and seek to address them thoughtfully and appropriately.”

Business Data Services

“NTCA welcomes the formal kick-off today of a much-needed, further conversation regarding how to provide smaller rural providers with additional options in the offering of regulated services. The wide diversity of challenges presented in high-cost rural areas makes it such that no one regulatory regime–whether price cap or rate-of-return regulation–can logically be viewed as the right answer across the board. But rural operators and the consumers they serve can benefit from greater flexibility in structuring service offerings and in voluntarily migrating to less burdensome regulatory structures. We therefore applaud today’s vote and look forward to the conversation to come.”

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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 transformative technological advancements, regulatory challenges and marketplace competition, NTCA members are leading the technological evolution for rural consumers, delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks 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, e-commerce, health care, agriculture and education, and it contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year.