Wilson Communications was founded in the early 1900s and we’ve been known for helping to connect our small section of Kansas to the rest of the country and the world for more than a century. Yet, recent decisions made in Washington are threatening to take Kansas — and other states with rural communities like ours — back to the last century of connectivity and communications.
Rural telecoms are pushing forward on their effort to derail reforms to the Universal Service Fund by the Federal Communcations Commission, but their chances of success may be greater in the courts than in Congress. The FCC's changes are part of a broad plan to support the government’s goal of universal broadband availability. They include capping the annual budget for underwriting universal service at $4.5 billion and making payments to telecoms based on a model that weighs the size and scope of the service provided by rural telecoms. This is measured by a complicated regression formula that critics say has a high rate of inaccuracy. Prior to the change, the FCC did not set limits on subsidies for servicing remote telephone customers. Under the new rules, there is a cap of $250 per line per month. The USF is funded by consumers, through fees that appear on telephone bills.
Wisconsin is on the receiving end of a lot of attention lately from President Obama and Governor Romney due to its status as a swing state. During appearances in Wisconsin, both candidates have discussed the need to strengthen the economy and create jobs. These are important goals, particularly in Wisconsin’s many rural communities. Yet the federal government is proposing a change that would hamper economic development throughout rural Wisconsin.
U.S. Representative Jeff Landry (R-La.) has introduced legislation aimed at curtailing FCC efforts to cut back on payments to rural rate-of-return telcos through the Universal Service program. The official name of the bill is the “Restore Effective Statistics to the Calculation of USF Expenditures (RESCUE) Act of 2012.”
Why is the Federal Communications Commission stifling the growth of rural broadband in rural Kansas? As strange as it may seem, the same government agency that is tasked with ensuring that all Americans can connect to the world is pushing forward with a reform program that is having the exact opposite effect in many parts of rural America, including right here in western Kansas.
As President Barack Obama visited our state, I'm sure he took time to see the great resources available through Iowa's rural landscape. Additionally, I hope he recognizes the conflicting policy being created in Washington that threatens a key economic growth engine - broadband deployment in rural America.
As President Barack Obama visited our state, I’m sure he took time to see the great resources available through Iowa’s rural landscape. Additionally, I hope he recognizes the conflicting policy being created in Washington that threatens a key economic growth engine - broadband deployment in rural America. The president has acknowledged the need to strengthen our rural communities and encourage economic development through greater access to broadband. Yet at the same time decisions are being made by the Federal Communications Commission that threaten to undermine progress by leaving many small communities without adequate access to broadband. Here in Dysart, our company, Farmer’s Cooperative Telephone, has delayed deployment of fiber optic network services because of the uncertainty created by these new rules.
Most of us never think twice before making a call, sending an email or browsing the web. These are easy conveniences to take for granted. But for rural Americans, the ability to engage in those tasks often involves many hidden challenges. Historically, because serving rural customers entailed higher costs, larger communications providers and manufacturers focused on urban centers, relegating rural markets to the bottom of their to-do lists.
When Evertek invested in a fiber network to provide broadband Internet to 520 rural subscribers, the Everly-based company was counting on a "three legged stool" of funding. That stool consists of payments from customers, a national surcharge known as the Universal Service Fund and InterCarrier Compensation from large carriers that utilize smaller, local networks.
High-speed Internet service has changed the way we live and work, particularly in small, rural communities. The deployment of high-speed Internet and other advanced telecommunications services has helped spur growth throughout North Dakota and Greater Minnesota.
What do border security efforts in Texas, health care in Kansas and economic development on an Indian reservation in New Mexico have in common? All three rely on high-speed Internet services provided by small, independent rural telecommunications companies. And the success of all three will depend on the Federal Communications Commission making the right decisions in Washington.
Most Americans never think twice before picking up the phone to make a call or firing up their computer to get on the Internet. It's an easy convenience to take for granted. But for rural Americans, the ability to engage in such seemingly simple tasks rests upon a more challenging foundation. That's because rural areas are much more sparsely populated than urban areas, making it more expensive to build and maintain the telecommunications infrastructure necessary to connect households and businesses to the wider world.
As you tap on your mobile phone, watch a video on your tablet or you telecommute to your place of work from home using Wi-Fi, it's all possible through a wireline network.
Broadband Internet access should start reaching more rural parts of the country after the Federal Communication Commission retooled a fund that has traditionally subsidized rural phone service, the agency's chairman says.
It may sound like someone has their signals crossed, but a panel of largely Tea Party-affiliated House Republicans grilled Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski about the tightening of subsides to rural telecommunications companies under the Universal Service Fund at a hearing of the Small Business Committee on Wednesday.
You may soon notice a new charge on your monthly phone bill. Many phone companies say they're being forced to hike rates because of a new FCC rule that revamps the Universal Service Fund, which accounts for up to 70 percent of their revenue.
A Federal Communications Commission policy change designed to provide broadband internet access to a few parts of the country that are not currently served could hurt the companies most capable of providing that service.
High-speed Internet across the nation is crucial to maintain America’s competitiveness. Both inner-city and rural America need fast, consistent Internet service to compete on a global scale.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski spent a lot of his time on the Hill Wednesday defending the agency's reform of the Universal Service Fund, specifically the decision to phase out support to areas with multiple subsidized carriers or where there is an unsubsidized competitor.
As the FCC transitions today’s voice-centric Universal Service program into a broadband program, the focus of those efforts is about to shift to the contribution side: How should money be collected from the telecom industry to fund the program?