Broadband Access and Telehealth Work Together to Influence Rural Prosperity

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

Arlington, Va. (July 31, 2018)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association released the following statement from Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield in advance of NTCA’s participation today in a Health IT Now 5G and Telehealth briefing and a vote later this week by the FCC on a new Connected Care Pilot Program.

“NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association has long recognized the significance of telehealth for rural communities, and the importance of robust and affordable fixed and mobile broadband networks in making telehealth a reality in rural America. This is why in the past few years, among other things, we’ve published a white paper assessing the economic returns of telehealth, hosted a telehealth summit attended by key policymakers and rural caregivers, and assumed an active role in the Rebuild Rural coalition focused on broadband and telehealth infrastructure needs.

“It’s why we’re also excited that NTCA has been invited to participate today in a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss how 5G and other advanced broadband networks can enhance connected care—and why the association looks forward to a vote by the FCC later this week on concepts first articulated by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr to establish a Connected Care Pilot Program that would leverage the FCC’s universal service program to promote telehealth access for veterans, lower-income Americans and those living in rural areas. By carefully coordinating such an innovative new program with existing universal service initiatives that already promote deployment and operation of broadband networks in rural America, NTCA believes our nation can make great progress in enabling better, more affordable connections that benefit patients specifically as well as the rural communities in which they live more broadly.”

A sample of telehealth initiatives undertaken by NTCA members 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.