Rural Carriers Want First Crack at Rural CustomersBroadband Stimulus, NTIA March 19th, 2009
Andrew Feinberg, Reporter, BroadbandBreakfast.com
WASHINGTON, March 19, 2009 – The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is fine with stimulus dollars targeting rural areas first. But the bigger question to them is: Who will do the targeting?
While speaking at a Thursday roundtable on broadband stimulus funding, NTCA vice president Dan Mitchell highlighted NTCA members’ records on bringing broadband service to rural customers – 91 percent according to a 2008 survey, and said the money should be sent their way to let them continue their work.
“A significant portion of the NTIA and RUS stimulus money should…be targeted to small rural incumbent carriers, who have provided high-quality services for decades,” he said.
Mitchell urged the technology built should be “future-proofed:” As the capability of broadband technology and internet protocol applications develop, the definition must evolve to meet consumer, education, business, and public health/safety demands so it can keep pace with a definition that includes “generallly available” services comparable to urban areas, Mitchell said.