Udall, senators push for rural broadband

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RBC I Mark Udall, a staunch advocate for rural Coloradans, joined a bipartisan coalition of senators calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to do more to encourage rural telecommunications companies to upgrade phone and Internet service in rural areas in Colorado and across the country.
With too many communities in rural America lacking up-to-date phone and internet service, Udall and the group of senators asked the FCC to reform its Universal Service Fund (USF). The fund, previously reformed in 2011, supports new investments by telecom carriers in hard-to-reach areas.
However, recent reforms left the amount of support that telecom companies receive too unpredictable, discouraging some carriers from making needed investments in rural parts of the country.
Udall and the group of 26 senators asked new FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to improve predictability of the USF, which would allow telecom carriers to more confidently invest in affordable broadband throughout rural Colorado.
“We remain concerned the reform order is limiting the ability of small carriers to provide rural consumers with the broadband service they need to compete in today’s global economy,” Udall and the senators wrote.
“We urge the (FCC) to take immediate steps to re-establish predictability, sufficiency and transparency in the USF program so that these small businesses can resume critical investments in rural broadband.”