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Consumer News

Helping Rural Telecom Services To Evolve

Posted: 6/21/2013

Telecom networks in rural areas are undergoing major changes
Telecom networks in rural areas are undergoing major changes. The key, say experts, is to protect the interests of consumers while implementing new technology.

(NAPSI)—There is a major change taking place in the way consumers get their information—and it’s going on in rural America.

Rural telecom providers are delivering advanced technologies that help to make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. As policymakers consider changes to rules governing telecommunications, they must not overlook the importance of ensuring the sustainability of networks in rural communities to enable all of these cutting-edge services.

That’s the position of NTCA−The Rural Broadband Association, which represents nearly 900 community-based telecommunications providers all over the U.S. NTCA members work to deliver broadband and other critical communications to Americans in the most sparsely populated areas of the country.

Thoughtful Review and Change

The association contends that what’s needed is a “smart” policy environment that promotes and sustains this ongoing evolution of networks through thoughtful review and update of existing regulations, rather than changes that could put public safety or universal service at risk under the theory that new technologies will address such concerns on their own without any need for oversight.

Community-based carriers have led this network evolution to date in rural America, deploying greater capacity to homes and businesses. But they also recognize that the existing rules and legal frameworks—even if they need updating for a broadband world—can and must play a key role in ensuring that consumers realize the full promise of these advanced technologies. They also need greater regulatory certainty to help justify expensive investments in rural networks that can take decades to recover.

Three Key Principles

The association’s work revolves around three principles: protecting the interests of consumers, encouraging competition among service providers, and encouraging legislators and regulators to continue to support the Universal Service Fund, which helps to keep rates reasonable in rural areas and recover the costs of deploying those advanced networks.

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