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Rep. Young Stands Up for Rural Telecommunications


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, chaired by Alaskan Congressman Don Young, held an oversight hearing today on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rule on the Universal Service Fund and its impact on American Indians and Alaska Natives. The FCC estimates that roughly 19 million Americans (6.1% of the population) – including 1.1 million Native Americans – are without access to broadband service. In an attempt to improve the lack of broadband in rural America and in tribal communities, the FCC recently issued an order that revises the Universal Service Fund. 

“Americans living in rural and tribal communities cannot and should not be penalized because of the FCC’s failures,” said Rep. Young. “There’s a problem when I have Alaskan companies coming to me with giant reams of paper showing what the FCC is doing to put them out of business. Even worse, these same companies have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to prove to the FCC that they can’t continue serving rural Alaska. 

“Creating comparable access and cost for rural and urban areas can’t just be a goal – it must become a reality. This issue is far too important and with today’s hearing as evidence, it’s a bipartisan issue that impacts Americans from coast to coast.” 

To read Rep. Young’s opening statement from today's hearing in its entirety, click here.

Witnesses at today’s hearing: 

Panel I
Geoffrey Blackwell
Office of Native Affairs & Policy
Federal Communications Commission

The Honorable Jonathan Adelstein
Rural Utilities Service

Panel II
The Honorable Alfred LaPaz
Mescalero Apache Tribe

Nelson N. Angapak, Sr.
Senior Vice President
Alaska Federation of Natives

Bill Bryant
National Tribal Telecommunications Association

Shirley Bloomfield
Chief Executive Officer
National Telecommunications Cooperative Association

Steve Merriam
Chief Executive Officer and General Manager
Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative, Inc.

Albert Hee
Sandwich Isles Communications, Inc.

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