Utilities Stand Ready To Expand Rural Broadband Access On Issuance of FCC’s Report and Order Inviting Proposals Under Connect America Fund

The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) applauds the FCC for taking a major step forward in promoting rural broadband access in today’s Report and Order which invites formal proposals for Federal funding under the Connect America Fund to provide rural broadband experiments in unserved areas. This action opens the opportunity for utilities and others to provide broadband to unserved areas of America.

Utilities are already well positioned to take advantage of this action with more than 200 expressions of interest filed by utilities in response to the FCC’s January IP Transition Order. Today’s Report and Order marks the next step in the process — and by including utilities an important one. Utilities have extensive infrastructure, including fiber-optic networks that can be leveraged to provide fiber-to-the-home on a cost-effective basis. Several utilities have already deployed systems offering gigabit services to their customers over fiber optic networks, and today’s Report and Order will encourage more to follow these examples, expanding the growth of existing utility broadband networks and increasing the availability of this important service to underserved communities.

Connie Durcsak, President and CEO of UTC stated “We are grateful to the FCC for its strong leadership and vision as embodied in today’s Report and Order. The Commission has changed the landscape and moved obstacles that stand in the way of progress for rural markets. By encouraging utilities and others to provide broadband that is robust, affordable and reliable, the FCC is creating new opportunities to promote economic growth and expanded access to health and safety, education, and essential services in our rural communities.  Rural America deserves more than minimal broadband services and there are many utilities are ready to invest, deploy and deliver.”

In support of this important issue, UTC formed the Rural Broadband Council, (RBC) an independent operating unit of UTC comprising electric utilities committed to expanding broadband access in the communities they serve. “RBC members have worked tirelessly to achieve this historic outcome,” said Durcsak. “It is rewarding to see their efforts have resulted in the adoption of today’s Report and Order.”

UTC is hosting a series of workshops to assist electric utilities develop comprehensive broadband deployment strategies. The next scheduled event is July 21st in Indianapolis, IN, the focus of which will be to help utilities prepare to file formal proposals to participate in the rural broadband experiments and to position themselves for access to funding available under the FCC’s Connect America Fund for rural broadband.  For information contact Alyssa Clemsen at Alyssa.clemsen@utc.org.

– See more at: https://www.utc.org/press-release/utilities-stand-ready-expand-rural-broadband-access-issuance-fcc%E2%80%99s-report-and-order#sthash.9wZJtAns.dpuf

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