Under this new plan, there is no assurance that they’ll have the USF money to support their current system, let alone build new capacity for rural areas. That will dry up investment in new construction and system improvements in rural telecommunication services. And it means lost jobs and the failure of some small and rural telecom companies under this plan.
It’s not too late to insist that the FCC clarify and modify its new broadband policy to fix these problems.
The economic future of America’s rural areas is at stake with this ruling. Aside from the fact that it is unfair to people living in small towns and on family farms, it’s in our national interest to do the right thing here. We need all Americans connected if our country is going to successfully compete in the new global competition.
The FCC should modify this ruling and stand behind our country’s long successful principle (and this administration’s commitment) that our nation can’t move ahead by leaving some behind.
Former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) is now teaching, consulting and writing, and he consults with rural telephone interests on telecommunications issues.