Advanced telecommunications services such as broadband Internet are vital to the economic and social well-being of any community. We need your help to ensure we can continue extending these services throughout Tennessee.
Tennessee’s telecommunications providers are working hard to bring broadband and other advanced services to rural areas — communities where the cost of providing service is often much higher than in the larger cities.
These efforts are being threatened by changes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is making in the programs that rural telecommunications providers depend on to keep your costs low. These changes are expected to drive up the cost of delivering service to rural customers served by members of the Tennessee Telecommunications Association. The FCC’s reforms are also making it difficult for cooperatives and independent providers to predict how we will recover the cost of future investments in our networks.
TTA, NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association, other state telecommunication associations and hundreds of small rural telcos across the country are asking the federal government to study the impact of the FCC’s changes. Before we move forward, we as a country need to know what impact these reforms are having on 1) the availability and speed of broadband in rural areas, and 2) the level of broadband investment being made in rural areas.
Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Mark Begich, D–Alaska, have introduced bipartisan legislation seeking this type of analysis. The bill (S. 774) directs the U.S. Government Accountability Office to issue a report by year-end on the effectiveness of the FCC’s reforms, including any effects the changes have had on broadband rates and speeds.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Your telecommunications providers will continue to communicate with elected officials and regulators to make sure they understand something: a robust broadband network is vital to the economic well-being of rural America and the quality of life of its citizens. You can help us support that message by contacting your members of Congress.
- Visit www.senate.gov and www.house.gov to find contact information for your elected officials.
- Call, email or write them a letter and ask them to support Senate Bill 774 that calls for a report on how FCC measures are affecting rural broadband service.
- If your U.S. senator or representative holds a town hall meeting this summer, attend and ask them to support this bill.
Working together, we can protect the services that are connecting Tennessee and rural America. Thank you for your help.