WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) applauded the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Incentive-Based Universal Service Support order, approved unanimously this week, that will increase federal investment in rural broadband throughout Kansas and across the country. The FCC’s order will give small rural broadband providers the certainty and resources they need to increase access to high-speed broadband networks in rural communities and further close the digital divide that puts too many at an economic disadvantage in today’s digital-based economy.
“Access to technology – especially in rural and underserved areas – unlocks an array of opportunity for businesses, students and families alike,” said Sen. Moran. “Whether it’s a farmer trying to expand their business, an individual managing their finances online, or students and teachers utilizing information on the internet as a classroom tool, broadband and technology matter. I am pleased the FCC acknowledges the real need to quickly deploy broadband to the communities that need it most, and I remain committed to working to make certain Kansans have the tools they need to get ahead.”
“Following the investment in rural communities included in the Farm Bill, the FCC, under fellow Kansan Chairman Ajit Pai’s leadership, is continuing to make it easier for people in the hardest to reach communities access reliable high-speed broadband services,” said Sen. Roberts. “Expanding these services in rural areas will make it easier for farmers to operate their businesses with greater efficiency and improve yields, students to further their education with online classes, patients to access remote health care services from the comfort of their homes, and so much more. This will help lessen the urban-rural divide by bringing internet services to rural areas who are all too often years behind their urban counterparts.”
This order is also supported by rural Kansas broadband providers.
“Today’s action at the FCC represents acknowledgement of the importance for all rural Kansans to have access to robust, reliable and affordable broadband. The Universal Service Fund plays a critical role; making possible active engagement for all Kansans in our 21st century economy, education and healthcare,” said Wilson Communications CEO Brian Boisvert.
“I am pleased with today’s FCC decision to address the insufficient universal service fund budget and remove regulatory uncertainty. Sufficient and predictable universal service fund support helps rural broadband providers like Pioneer Communications deploy networks and keep rural areas connected. I am deeply grateful to Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran for their leadership and constant engagement in working toward the order approved today by the FCC. I am also appreciative of the FCC itself for adopting today’s order, especially of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Parsons, Kansas native who knows well what it means to live and serve in rural Kansas. In rural Kansas, like all of rural America, high-speed broadband helps create jobs, boosts economic growth, increases opportunities for education, and improves access to healthcare. The small rural telecom providers in Kansas hope today’s order will allow us to focus more fully again on the business of delivering broadband to the benefit of Kansas consumers and businesses,” said Pioneer Communications General Manager & CEO Catherine Moyer.
Last year, Sens. Roberts and Moran along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) led a bipartisan letter to the FCC to ensure its commitment to affordable and reliable broadband for rural communities.