Mike Romano, our SVP for Policy and Business Development had the opportunity to testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee yesterday alongside the 2 sitting Federal Trade Commission commissioners and former FCC commissioner Rob McDowell on Net Neutrality. It was a great platform to underscore the continuing importance of interconnection oversight for rural carriers and consumers even as the FCC moves to take away the heavy-handed retail regulatory aspects of the net neutrality regime. Mike made the most of the opportunity to highlight and summarize our key priorities on light-touch regulation, interconnection, and USF sufficiency in this exchange, and the full hearing and testimony can be found here.
On another key issue, 39 Senators sent a letter yesterday to the full FCC asking the FCC not to let the high-cost USF collections drop at year end, and to address the high-cost USF shortfalls for RLECs. This is a positive development coming directly out of the work with these offices and advocacy by NTCA members at our recent Telecom Executive Policy Summit and otherwise. This is a complement to a House letter to similar effect sent a few weeks ago; a link to the Senate letter can be found in our press release.
The FCC has a rare opportunity to address this issue before the close of the year and I remain hopeful that they will take it. This will truly allow them to walk the talk about closing the digital divide.