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Category: On the Hill

The Day After….

The Day After….

The phones are quiet, the ads for simple things like cars and toothpaste are back on television, and the Washington, D.C. metro area is running a little slower and a little later this morning—given a population base that views election cycles as comparable to the World Series. It becomes difficult not to get caught up in the fever particularly during the politically charged times we are living through now. I always enter the political cycle with a basket of wishes;…

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Sharing Thoughts with RUS

Sharing Thoughts with RUS

RUS and USDA are hard at work gathering feedback on their recently released NOI on the new rural broadband pilot program with comments due at the start of next week. The process has been fast and furious and I hope that USDA is just as fast and furious when it comes to releasing funds out the door to rural broadband providers who utilize it so they can continue to build in areas where deployment is needed. It is going to…

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Everyone Has Their John McCain Story

Everyone Has Their John McCain Story

…and I have mine as well. It was (literally) decades ago when everyone in DC’s telecommunications circles was working on crafting what became the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Sen. McCain was a member of the prestigious Senate Commerce Committee and a key player on the majority team as the legislation was crafted over a series of years. Per his usual operation, he forged his own path through the negotiations and discussions including proposing a phone voucher program–a creative idea but…

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Chairman Pai Responds to Congress’ Push for Action on Long-Term USF Budget Fix

Chairman Pai Responds to Congress’ Push for Action on Long-Term USF Budget Fix

In a terrific step forward for NTCA members and RLECs across the country, FCC Chairman Pai responded this week to the 130 Members of the House who wrote to him this May regarding their concerns on the persistent USF insufficiency. The Chairman replied that he aims “to circulate an order ensuring adequate and efficient funding for rural broadband deployment later this year.” He reviewed the steps that have already been taken, including devoting over $500 million to increasing broadband deployment…

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A Peek at the Likely Newest Addition to the FCC

A Peek at the Likely Newest Addition to the FCC

Today was the confirmation hearing for Geoffrey Starks, the Democratic nominee to replace Commissioner Clyburn at the FCC. Starks is currently serving as an assistant chief in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau where he works in the Investigations and Hearings Division and the USF Strike Force.  He also has experience at the DOJ, with the U.S. Court of Appeals and brings a wealth of experience to a new role at the FCC. Since his nomination was announced, folks have been curious…

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Only the Best Kind Of Hand Cramp….

Only the Best Kind Of Hand Cramp….

I continue to be impressed with Congressional leadership on the Universal Service Fund front as Members of Congress – again – have made the effort to weigh in with the FCC on the need for predictable, affordable, comparable and sustainable broadband for all Americans.  One hundred and ninety-three of them to be exact were on the latest round of correspondence to the FCC. This was due in large part to the effort that NTCA members made in sharing their stories…

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Members of Congress Prioritize Agency Coordination on Broadband…We Concur!

Members of Congress Prioritize Agency Coordination on Broadband…We Concur!

I am so impressed with Congressional leadership on rural broadband over the course of the past year…nearly 200 Members of Congress sending letters to the FCC urging support for more predictable and sufficient USF support for rural broadband networks and then today, Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introducing the Office of Rural Broadband Act. The bill establishes an office at the FCC to coordinate efforts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service and the National Telecommunications and…

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Sharing Broadband Thoughts with the House Committee on Natural Resources

Sharing Broadband Thoughts with the House Committee on Natural Resources

What a treat it was to be invited to testify before the Natural Resources Committee this week! It was a great opportunity to share that after the initial business case can be made for rural broadband, we come to the next significant challenge – the barriers to deployment itself. This is where the questions and legislation presented in the committee’s hearing become so important, helping to reduce responsibly and thoughtfully the costs and time associated with deployment and allowing providers…

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Congress Putting Their Actions Into Words

Congress Putting Their Actions Into Words

Today was a big day for those advocating for continued broadband deployment across rural America as 193 members of Congress (194 if you include Sen. Joni Ernst’s letter) reached out to the FCC to address the long-term budget sufficiency of the Universal Service Fund (USF) High-Cost program. This is a critical and necessary step in continuing to close the digital divide (and the urban-rural divide) that is often cited by Chairman Pai as one of his top priorities. The USF…

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What a Week….and it’s only Wednesday!

What a Week….and it’s only Wednesday!

I always love the energy that comes when NTCA members come into town and hit the Hill and key agencies to share their stories and perspective on building broadband in rural America.  With a ton of recent activity – the recent order from the FCC finding reserves to make up some of the budget shortfall, the FNPRM on the future of building high-cost networks, upcoming CAF II auctions, a new RUS funding program in the Omnibus measure approved by Congress,…

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