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Senators Urge FCC to Use Caution on Reform

30 Senators sign letter to FCC Chairman

Recognizing the need for Americans living in rural areas to have access to affordable and reliable high speed broadband, Sens. Mark Begich (D - Alaska) and John Thune (R-South Dakota) sponsored a letter signed by 30 Senators to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Their message is a reminder for the FCC to respect the needs of rural Americans and the role private investment plays in rural broadband during reform of the Universal Service Fund.

Addressed to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the bipartisan letter references the positive investments that private communications carriers, universal service, federal telecommunications and broadband loan programs have made in rural broadband expansion efforts and encourages the FCC to "...strike a balance to protect the investments that have already occurred and the need to overhaul the process."

"We believe strongly robust broadband networks will lead to increased adoption, job creation and economic opportunity. However, as the regulatory reform efforts moves forward, we must also ensure new rules and regulations do not have unintended consequences and hamper our investment in our rural communities," the letter states.

"To make local businesses competitive in a global market place, deliver quality medical care and provide a 21st century education to rural Alaska, we must protect and promote private and public investments in rural broadband," Sen. Begich said. "The FCC needs to tread cautiously during reform efforts and ensure the multiple projects expanding service across the country will have the ability to be completed successfully."

"The Universal Service Fund helps ensure that people in rural states like South Dakota have access to telecommunication services," said Sen. Thune. "I support attempts by the Federal Communications Commission to modernize the Universal Service Fund, expand broadband access, and ensure that USF dollars are distributed in an efficient manner. However, it is critical that the FCC keep the concerns of rural carriers in mind as they proceed with this reform."

The letter is signed by:

Sen. Akaka (D-Hawaii)
Sen. Barrasso (R-Wyoming)
Sen. Baucus (D-Montana)
Sen. Begich (D-Alaska)
Sen. Blunt (R-Missouri)
Sen. Boozman (R-Arkansas)
Sen. Chambliss (R-Georgia)
Sen. Conrad (D-North Dakota)
Sen. Crapo (R-Idaho)
Sen. Enzi (R-Wyoming)
Sen. Franken (D-Minnesota)
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)
Sen. Harkin (D-Iowa)
Sen. Hatch (R-Utah)
Sen. Hoeven (R-North Dakota)
Sen. Johanns (R-Nebraska)
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota)
Sen. Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)
Sen. Levin (D-Michigan)
Sen. McCaskill (D-Missouri)
Sen. Merkley (D-Oregon)
Sen. Moran (R-Kansas)
Sen. Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska)
Sen. Pryor (D-Arkansas)
Sen. Risch (R-Idaho)
Sen. Roberts (R-Kansas)
Sen. Tester (D-Montana)
Sen. Thune (R-South Dakota)
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado)

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