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Rural Telecom Coops Request Lawmakers to Update USF

Dave Osborn, CEO of Valley Telephone Cooperative, Inc., explains why lawmakers need to update the USF to account for the services of rural telcoms.

Read the full article here.  Here is a short summary:

What began as a small cooperative with two exchanges has grown to 17 exchanges serving 4,400 member-owners across 7,300 square miles from the Rio Grande to 60 miles south of San Antonio. As we’ve grown, we’ve also evolved, becoming one of the first local carriers in the country to have 100 percent DSL coverage for its members. And, importantly, our industry is no longer focused on voice services but rather delivering high-speed broadband to rural consumers who are hungry for it.

The rules that govern our business, however, have not evolved — and when regulations written for the telephone era are governing a rapidly-evolving tech sector, it hinders progress.

The Universal Service Fund (USF), established in 1934 and updated in 1996, is a vital program based on the idea that affordable telecommunications services should be available to as many Americans as possible, regardless of their income or where they live. It’s important to build upon existing, proven mechanisms where we can, and the existing USF programs have done a good job in helping rural America get and stay connected. Now, however, we need to make sure that those rules stay current to ensure the timeless principles behind them will continue to be served as technology evolves.

Read the full article here.

Source: The Monitor, McAllen, TX.

Permission from Dave Osborn