Meeting with FCC Officials in D.C.

One year ago, the full issue of our newsletter was devoted to concerns about the National Broadband Plan and proposed FCC changes to the Universal Service Fund (USF) that might adversely affect rural  customers’ wallets and quality of service. In the past year, some of our fears have been realized. One of the most visible changes has been the FCC-mandated rate increase we have just implemented.

Although there have been changes to the way Kingdom is ordered by the FCC to do business, the battle isn’t over. General Manager Tom Young attended the NTCA Government Affairs Committee meeting June 19th -21st in Washington, D.C.  Young said, “We met with FCC officials, and, while I remain cautious, it seems that our efforts are starting to pay off.  The order issued last November is in effect and is not likely to be changed. However, the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will decide other issues affecting our company has not been issued, allowing us more time to register our concerns with the FCC.”

While in Washington, Young visited with Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill and thanked her for her recent letter to the FCC supporting our cause. He also had “a good talk about rural telecom” with Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, a great supporter of our issues. Young and other members of the NTCA Government Affairs Committee met with the chief counsel for FCC Chairman Julius Genacowski and Carol Mattey, Deputy Bureau Chief at the FCC.

Feedback from these officials indicated they felt there “must not be a problem” because few of the companies had registered complaints or raised questions.  On the contrary, the small rural providers have been making their voices heard through their associations such as NTCA, OPATSCO and WTA and by asking for help from our elected representatives.  So, in response to this statement, 656 concerned rural carriers filed a three-page letter this week with the FCC outlining why we feel the FCC’s actions put rural broadband at risk.

We are still fighting on behalf of the rural consumers that we serve and we thank everyone who has helped support our common cause in Washington.  Our voice is being heard. Now is not the time to relax, but to speak even louder while we have their attention.

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