NTCA Testimony on Broadband Infrastructure Solutions

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

 

 Arlington, Va. (January 30, 2018)— Shirley Bloomfield, chief executive officer of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, testified today before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology during the hearing, “Closing the Digital Divide: Broadband Infrastructure Solutions.” The following is excerpted from Bloomfield’s written testimony: 

“In the first instance, the economics of rural broadband are difficult, if not impossible, in many rural markets.  The rates that rural consumers pay are rarely sufficient to cover even the costs of operating in rural areas, much less the enormous capital expenditure required in the first instance to deploy reliable, high-speed broadband in rural America.  While obtaining permits to build new infrastructure and navigating complex bureaucratic application processes can be difficult for many of the small businesses in NTCA’s membership, the single biggest challenge in rural America is simply making the business case to build any broadband at all.  

“After the initial business case can be made for rural broadband, we come to the next significant challenge – the barriers to deployment itself. This is where the questions and legislation presented in today’s hearing then become so important, helping to reduce the costs and time associated with deployment and allowing providers to get back to the business of building broadband networks in rural America. 

“With millions of rural Americans still without access to robust, high-speed broadband, and millions more only receiving affordable access now through the help of [universal service support] programs, we must continue working diligently to ensure no child is left without Internet access for homework, no rural area is left without life-saving access to telehealth capabilities, and no Main Street business is prevented from utilizing e-commerce to compete in a global economy.  To realize these goals, it is essential that Congress not only look at new ideas for building out rural broadband, but also focus on ways to leverage those programs that have already been successful in the past.” 

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

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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.