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Universal Service

Ajit Pai Comes to Senate Oversight Hearing, Defends his More Limited Vision of FCC Authority

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2017 – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai defended his very vision of the agency’s role, as compared with his predecessor, during the first Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing this year. The difference in attitude between Pai and former Chairman Tom Wheeler on broadband deployment highlighted the differences between the two. “High-speed… Keep Reading

The Battle for Rural Broadband is a Subject that Can Unite Red States and Blue States

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Great piece from Ozy, a publication about which we weren’t familiar until this article, about the need for, and power of, broadband in rural communities. This, if anything, is an issue that blue states and red states can unite upon! The Battle for the Internet in Rural America, from Ozy So much… Keep Reading

New York State Broadband Funding Provides Dollars in Traditional and Nontraditional Ways

Broadband Breakfast Insight: New York State continues its innovative efforts to provide broadband funding to underserved areas of the state. In addition to funding for traditional and non-traditional telecom companies, the program has received funding from the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program. $212 Million in Broadband Funding Awarded to 26 Carriers Including FairPoint, Frontier, and… Keep Reading

New Deal Rural Broadband Act Introduced in House of Representatives Aims to Close Digital Divide

Broadband Breakfast Insight: This is a significant development to see emerging from the House of Representatives, which is generally less focused on rural broadband issues than the Senate. This new measure, the “New Deal Rural Broadband Act,” has an array of items, but one significant part appears to be the authorization of the Rural Utility… Keep Reading

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s Friday Changes to E-Rate May Be the Most Significant of the Turnabouts

Broadband Breakfast Insight: This item from the “Friday news dump” got less attention, but may be the more significant of the measures taken by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. In addition to overturning aspects of the Lifeline changes made by the Obama-era FCC, he and the Republican majority have also “rescinded” an E-Rate report issued… Keep Reading

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s First Action is Approving Connect America Fund Dollars to New York State

WASHINGTON, January 26, 2017 – In his first substantive action since being named to his position on Tuesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced approval of the petition by New York State’s broadband program to access the Connect America Fund. The agency’s full press release is below: FCC VOTES TO EXPAND BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT IN… Keep Reading

White House Announces September 21 Date for Release of Broadband Report

Editor’s Note: The White House announced that it would be releasing a report from its Broadband Opportunity Council on Monday, September 21. Read more about the council. Coming Soon: Building on Our Progress of Broadband Investment and Competition August 20, 2015 at 5:57 PM ET by Jeffrey Zients Summary:  The White House has received input… Keep Reading

FCC Workshop on eRate Funding Shows New Flexibility for School and Library Fiber Builds

June 18, 2015 – Recent changes to the eligibility rules for the Federal Communication Commission’s eRate program open the door for new fiber connections for schools and libraries using agency funds. Among the rule changes were the suspension of the requirement that applicants seek funding for large up front construction costs over several years, the… Keep Reading

Schools, Health and Libraries Conference a Vital Connection for Public Broadband

Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition Conference WASHINGTON, May 18, 2015 - More than five years after the unveiling of the National Broadband Plan, policy-makers and on-the-ground-advocates seeking to build better broadband networks will convene here this week at the annual conference of the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition. The conference, "Enhancing Broadband Through Innovation, Investment and Inclusion," has become the regular Washington gathering point for those engaged in public broadband initiatives. Among the keynote and plenary sessions at this year's conference include addresses by Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, former Virginia Gov. and Sen. George Allen, plus Mayor Jill Boudreau of Mount Vernon, Washington. Keep Reading

Rural Telecommunications Congress Videos and Presentations Posted

AUSTIN, May 18, 2015 - The Rural Telecommunications Congress posted the entire video and presentations made at the recent Rural Telecommunications Congress held here last month at the Broadband Communities Summit. The original link to the sessions is at http://www.ruraltelecon.org/2015-rtc-bbc-summit.html

2015 RTC Program Agenda and Session Content


Tuesday, April 14
3:00pm – 4:00pm: Looking Forward by Looking Back: Digital Inclusion from 1980 to Today From the first community technology center (1980), the first community network (1986), to the first open gov/data initiative (1989), this presentation explores the history, themes, and future of our work. Moderator:  Jane Patterson - RTC President; President, The View Forward         Speaker:  Anne Neville – Director, NTIA State Broadband Initiative, U.S. Department of Commerce
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00:00
Digital Nation NTIA-SBI Highlights - session audio

Anne Neville Presentation
Download File

Rural Telecommunications Congress Elects New Slate of Officers: Drew Clark as Incoming President; Jane Smith Patterson as Immediate Past President

AUSTIN, April 16, 2015 - The board of the directors of the Rural Telecommunications Congress voted here on Wednesday to elect a new slate of officers to lead the organization, building upon its work over the last several years. At its annual meeting held jointly with the Broadband Communities Summit here, the Rural Telecommunications Congress unanimously approved as new officers:

  • Drew Clark, President
  • Jason Whittet, Vice President
  • Frank Odasz, Secretary
  • Eric Ogle, Treasurer
  • Jane Smith Patterson, Immediate Past President
"It is a humbling experience to be entrusted with the leadership of an organization with the history and institutional knowledge of the Rural Telecommunications Congress," said Drew Clark, incoming President. [...] Drew Clark, Incoming President, Rural Telecommunications Congress Jane Smith Patterson, Immediate Past President, Rural Telecommunications Congress Keep Reading

Better Broadband for Rural America Means Looking Beyond Tradition: Join Us at the Rural Telecommunications Congress Today

AUSTIN, April 14, 2015 - The Rural Telecommunications Congress portion of the Broadband Communities Summit opens here Tuesday with a series of conference sessions focused on looking beyond conventional rural telecom. Rural Telecommunications CongressWith a theme of "Connecting Communities Across the Countryside of Rural America," our conference sessions on Tuesday include a discussion of the State Broadband Initiative and its impact on rural America, and a robust panel on the companies and technologies that will broadband the life-giving broadband to rural America. The RTC sessions planning for Wednesday including a summary of the lessons learned from successful broadband deployments, "Broadband and the Farm," and the impact of the internet of things on rural communities -- plus important insight on telemedicine-based health and education programs. [...] Keep Reading

Jonathan Chambers of the FCC Says Results of Rural Broadband Experiment Teach Incumbents a Lesson

AUSTIN, April 14, 2015 - The official from the Federal Communications Commission responsible for the agency's unique "rural broadband experiment" on Monday said the experiment was less about learning than about teaching the rural telecom industry that it can do better. Speaking on panel at the Broadband Communities Summit here, Jonathan Chambers, chief of the Office of Strategic Planning at the FCC, said: "I wanted to teach certain people in Washington that we could do better than 4 megabits per second (Mbps) down and 1 Mbps up [in broadband speeds.]" [...] Jonathan Chambers, Chief, Office of Strategic Planning, FCC Keep Reading

Rural Telecommunications Congress Takes Center Stage at Broadband Communities Conference – For a $195 Price

__1421904841AUSTIN, April 9, 2015 - The Rural Telecommunications Congress (RTC) will take center-stage at the 2015 Broadband Conference Summit here next week. Preconference workshops begin on Monday, April 13 and the Summit continues from Tuesday, April 14 through Thursday, April 16. For the seventh year in a row, the 12-year-old- Rural Telecom Congress has been partners with the Broadband Communities Magazine to improve broadband availability and usage across Rural America. FOR THE SPECIAL RATE OF $195, you can register for the full conference. This represents a $700 savings from the full conference cost.  RTC invitees use the code RTC195 to register at a special rate.  This includes all meals, refreshments , evening Receptions,  and admission to all sessions.  When registering, choose the “code holders” option and enter “RTC195” when prompted.  Go to the registration page at: http://www.bbcmag.com/2015s/pages/15register.php Keep Reading

California Emerging Technology Fund Helps Bridge the State’s Digital Divide

WASHINGTON, November 19, 2014 – Although some believe that the digital divide is not a problem, there are Americans who have not adopted broadband due to the cost or lack of access. Some states have played an active role in getting their citizens online, and one such organization is the California Emerging Technology Fund, which… Keep Reading

FCC/Universal Service

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in Press Call with Sen. Markey, Proposes $1.5 Billion Increase in E-Rate

WASHINGTON, November 17, 2014 – Federal Communications Committee Chairman Tom Wheeler and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., on Monday proposed increasing the $1.5 billion cap to the E-rate portion of the Universal Service Fund. Schools and libraries, who would benefit from such an increase, have been calling for it for years now. Despite requests for E-rate… Keep Reading

White House Rural Council Meets with Officials from NTCA, or Rural Broadband Association

WASHINGTON, October 30, 2014 – Members of the White House Rural Council and the trade group NTCA, or Rural Broadband Association, met on Tuesday at the Executive Office Building to discuss the group’s Smart Rural Community Initiative. Additionally, the NTCA held a telecom executive policy summit and lobbying event with more than 100 association members… Keep Reading

Education/Universal Service

Alliance for Education Emphasizes the Need for Next-Generation Network Internet Speeds In Schools

WASHINGTON, October 27, 2014 – An Alliance for Excellent Education webinar on Tuesday highlighted the integral role that high-speed internet access in schools plays in the success for both the institutions and their students. As highlighted in the Pew Research Center’s recent report, next generation high-speed networks will help to bring about the next generation… Keep Reading

At Schools and Libraries Broadband Conference, Educators Lament Lack of Internet Funding

WASHINGTON, October 10, 2014 –High-capacity internet and networked services are the future of education because they will provide instructors and students with the necessary connectivity and capacity for 21st century educational technologies, said the Indiana state director of Education Networks of America at the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition conference here last week. DSC02629~2 [more...] Keep Reading

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Title II Reclassification of Broadband On The Table

WASHINGTON, September 18, 2014 – During a House Small Business Committee meeting on Wednesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler comfortably discoursed on his years as a small business owner. The hearing covered topics including broadband’s impact on small businesses, that lack of rural broadband competition and network neutrality. The FCC “will continue to orient… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Rural Providers Want RUS Funding, AT&T Expands ‘GigaPower’, and Potential Surveillance Changes

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2014 – The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit held a hearing on coordinating the future of broadband investment. Lang Zimmerman, vice president of Yelcot Telephone Co., a member company of rural broadband association NTCA testified that funding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service is critical for… Keep Reading

FCC Officials Outline Plans for $100 Million in Funding for Rural Broadband Experiments

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2014 – In a webinar on Thursday, July 17, the Fiber to the Home Council hosted a webinar with Federal Communications Commission officials on a $100 million fund for expanding broadband capabilities to rural communities. FCC officials encouraged companies to apply for the funds, but also cautioning them of the heavy commitment.… Keep Reading

FCC/Universal Service

In Partisan Vote, FCC Passes a Modified E-Rate Proposal for Spending Funds on Wi-Fi Connectivity

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2014 – The Federal Communications Commission on Friday voted to modernize of its E-Rate program Friday, reallocating funds from technologies considered obsolete to Wi-Fi based connectivity in schools and libraries. However, owing to strong skepticism from opponents over funding, the proposal was scaled back to $2 billion, down from its original $5… Keep Reading

FCC/Universal Service

In Lead-up to July’s FCC Meeting, Agency Laid Groundwork for Supportive Vote on E-Rate Changes

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2014 – In a phone conference on July 1, in the lead-up to last week’s open meeting of the Federal Communications Commission, agency officials discussed Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to modify the E-rate program. The agency seeks to spend more funds on Wi-Fi gap connectivity within schools around the country and maximize the… Keep Reading

FCC Announces Universal Service Fund Strike Force in Effort to Combat Wasteful Spending

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2014 – In an effort to combat ongoing complaints of inefficiency within the Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Service Fund, Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday announced a strike force dedicated to “rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse.” To be led by Loyaan Egal, a former public corruption attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Internet Giants on Net Neutrality and FCC’s Rural Broadband Launch

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2014 – Some of the world’s leading tech giants, represented by a lobbying firm called the Internet Association, have officially filed their petition for net neutrality. The companies include Google, Facebook, Netflix and Amazon, among others. “The internet’s continued success is not inevitable,” the group wrote. “Broadband internet access providers continue to… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Caution on E-Rate, Merger Review Teams at FCC, and a New Akamai Internet Speed Report

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2014 – Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly supports modernizing the E-Rate program, but not if it means increasing the “ever growing strain on [the average American’s] pocketbook,” he wrote in a blog post Monday. The solution to increasing the program size, O’Rielly said, is to cut spending to outdated technologies, like long… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Charter Schools Love E-Rate, Kickstarter CEO on ‘Fast Lanes,’ and Broadband Video Quality

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2014 – As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to vote on E-Rate modernization July 11, some educators are “threatening to derail” the process according to The Hill. These educators have criticized Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal for focusing large sums of funding on Wi-Fi while neglecting to increase the overall E-Rate budget. The… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: FCC’s Wheeler Continues Net Neutrality Quest, FCC Wireline Bureau Benchmarks Broadband Data for Connect America Fund

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2014 – Republicans are concerned about the regulation of internet service providers as utilities under Title II of the Communications Act, but Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler said that he isn’t ruling out the section as a legal basis for agency authority. In a letter responding to concerns from House Speaker John… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Comcast Blasts Public Utility Regulation, White House to Host Smart Home Expo, and ‘Commercially Reasonable’ Data Roaming

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2014 – Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has defended his company and its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable against critics, reports Re/code. Saying that he could accept “some kind of net neutrality law,” he scorned the idea of reclassifying broadband as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act, which… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Data Brokerage Industry in the Hot Seat, Library and Education Group Want More E-Rate Funds

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2014 – The National Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission released a report charging the data brokerage industry with collecting “troves” of information on nearly all American consumers. The agency urged Congress to push for more transparency. Believing that an invasive collection of personal data could harm consumers, the FTC recommended… Keep Reading

Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition to Meet in Washington This Week

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2014 – Efforts to construct Gigabit Networks will be featured prominently at the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition meeting this week in Washington, the fourth annual event for this community of broadband users. The even will run from Wednesday, May 7 through Friday, May 9. Registration and the agenda for the event… Keep Reading

Expert Opinion: Business as Usual Despite Departure of Universal Service Administrative Company CEO

Although it is the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) that is charged with implementing the ambitious universal service policy goals set forth in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the “Act”), the FCC designated the Universal Service Administrative Company (“USAC”), an independent, not-for-profit corporation, to administer the day-to-day operations of federal universal service. USAC bills… Keep Reading

The Broadband State of the Union? Obama Touts Apple- and Microsoft-Funded eRate Initiative in Address

WASHINGTON, January 29, 2014 – President Obama highlighted the importance of broadband connectivity in his State of the Union address Tuesday, and announced that Apple, Microsoft, Sprint and Verizon were contributing funds to enable ultra-high-speed broadband connections “over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.” The statement appears to be a… Keep Reading

Using a Map of Communities Receiving Connect America Funds, FCC Uses Rigorous Approach to Targeting Broadband Subsidies

WASHINGTON, September 6, 2013 – The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday released a map demonstrating the location of more than 600,000 homes and business targeted to receive higher-speed broadband connections. The map, dubbed the “Connect America Fund, Phase I, Round 2,” follows on the FCC’s announcement, on August 21, 2013, that eight telecommunications providers are… Keep Reading

FCC Acting Chairwoman Praises Cable Industry, Calls for More Broadband Adoption and Use

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2013 – Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn discussed her work at the agency and her plans for the future of the FCC with National Cable and Telecommunications CEO Michael Powell at the opening session of the second day of the NCTA’s annual Cable Show. Clyburn described the success of the… Keep Reading

Congressional Panel at The Cable Show Highlights Spectrum, Net Neutrality, and Universal Service Issues

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2013 – Spectrum policy, net neutrality, and Universal Service Fund reforms were among the topics discussed by congressional staffers at The Cable Show panel entitled “Capitol Perspectives: Commerce Committee Staffers on Communications Policy.” The panel, held at the annual convention of the National Cable and Telecommunications Associations on Monday, consisted of eight… Keep Reading

Farm Bill Debate in Senate on Thursday; Numerous Amendments Dealing with Broadband

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2013 – On Tuesday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, kicked off the new debate on the Senate’s  consideration of the farm bill when the chamber returns to session on Thursday morning.  A number of amendments proposed to the measure impact broadband in rural areas.. An amendment by Sen. Maria Cantwell,… Keep Reading

Acting FCC Chairwoman Clyburn Announces Second Wave of First Phase of Connect America Fund

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2013 – The Federal Communication Commission will offer $485 million to expand fixed broadband access in rural areas, Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said on Wednesday. The funding is part of a public and private effort to provide broadband services in areas, predominantly rural, that currently lack adequate access. The money is intended… Keep Reading

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