U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), along with a bipartisan group of senators called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to do more to encourage rural telecommunications companies to upgrade telecommunications services in Kansas and across the country.
The bipartisan coalition of senators called on the FCC to make changes to its 2011 Universal Service Fund (USF) reform to increase accessibility for consumers in rural areas. USF supports new investments by telecom carriers in hard-to-reach areas, but the recent reforms left the amount of support that telecom companies receive too unpredictable, discouraging some carriers from making needed investments in rural parts of the country.
Moran and 25 senators asked new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to improve predictability of the USF, which would allow telecom carriers to more confidently invest in affordable broadband across rural Kansas.
“We remain concerned the reform order is limiting the ability of small carriers to provide rural consumers with the broadband service they need to compete in today’s global economy,” Sen. Moran and the senators wrote. “We urge the Commission to take immediate steps to re-establish predictability, sufficiency and transparency in the USF program so that these small businesses can resume critical investments in rural broadband.”
The bipartisan letter was cosigned by John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Michael Enzi (R-Nev.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).