Rainbow Communications representatives meet with Kansas members of Congress
Submitted by Stacy Simmer
Representatives from Rainbow Communications met Kansas Members of Congress, including the offices of Senator Pat Roberts, Jerry Moran, and Representatives Lynn Jenkins, Kevin Yoder, and Roger Marshall in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the importance of ensuring sufficient resources are available to enable the ongoing delivery of high-speed broadband services to rural communities in Kansas.
Jason Smith, general manager for Rainbow Communications, emphasized that despite reforms made by the Federal Communications Commission last year, millions of rural consumers continue to struggle with obtaining affordable “standalone broadband” services because the costs far exceed what urban consumers would pay for the same service.
Smith and Rainbow Board Members Dennis Anderson, Dave Olson and Melvin Massey, urged Kansas Senators and Representatives to encourage the FCC to act quickly to ensure sufficient resources are available to enable the Universal Service Fund programs that support rural areas to work as designed. They explained that certain programs of the USF are intended to give rural Americans the opportunity to obtain affordable broadband and to advance broadband deployment in high cost rural areas, but lack of sufficient resources may be undermining their desired effect.
“We are concerned that these USF programs, some of which have remained capped at the same level for six years, may be falling short of achieving our country’s mandate to provide reasonably comparable telecommunications services at reasonably comparable rates to rural and urban Americans alike,” Smith said. “We think Congress has a role to play in encouraging the FCC to act.”
Rainbow Communications representatives were in Washington to participate in the 2017 Legislative and Policy Conference hosted by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, on March 26 and 28. Nearly 500 rural telecom representatives from all over the country gathered in the nation’s capital for educational briefings about emerging rules and regulations and other industry issues. They also took part in visits with policymakers on Capitol Hill and the FCC.