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UTC’s Rural Broadband Council Applauds FCC Technology Transition Policy Task Force Recommendations

UTC’s Rural Broadband Council Applauds FCC Technology Transition Policy Task Force Recommendations

Washington DC – The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to support targeted service-based technology transitions experiments around the country strikes a positive step towards promoting rural broadband deployment by utilities.  On December 12, the FCC Technology Transitions Policy Task Force presented to the Commission a set of recommendations that could begin to clear barriers to utilities’ participation in this effort to deliver rural broadband access.

The Task Force is working toward an Order for the Commission to consider in January which, if adopted, would:

  1. Invite on a rolling basis, service-based experiments with short timelines for submission, establish criteria for experiments that focus on the impact on consumers, and create a speedy process for public comment and Commission evaluation
  2. Recommend actions to support targeted experiments and research
  3. Describe structured observations and data collection
  4. Establish a timeline for the adoption of a managerial framework to resolve the important legal/policy questions


The Commission is focusing on ways to get broadband to rural areas and looking for partners to help them meet the goals laid out in the National Broadband Plan, key of which is that every American has access to affordable broadband.

This goal is central to the formation of the Rural Broadband Council (RBC), an independent operating unit of the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC). “The RBC seeks to establish a strategic, comprehensive, and nationally-organized effort to deploy broadband covering all of rural America”, said RBC Chairman Mike Keyser. “Several RBC member utilities have already proven this concept and many more have programs ready to deploy in support should the Commission adopt this framework.”

RBC maintains that with existing infrastructure and right-of-ways, proven abilities in making investment decisions on rural infrastructure timelines, and steadfast devotion to their member-owners and communities, rural utilities are well positioned to oversee the development of broadband in rural spaces.

“Since forming RBC, staff members and senior leaders from our utility members, including Bob Hance, CEO of Midwest Energy Cooperative, have actively engaged the Wireline Bureau, the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, Commissioner Clyburn, the Interim Director of the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force, Jon Sallet, and many others to promote our position. It is rewarding to see these efforts begin to resonate with the Commission,” said Connie Durcsak, UTC’s President and CEO.

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