The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) applauds a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report and order regarding IP technology transitions and commends the work of UTC Members in supporting the need to extend affordable, reliable and robust broadband access to underserved and unserved citizens in rural markets.
The report and order adopted by the FCC on January 30, 2014 will create new opportunities for utilities to access funding already allocated to supporting the growth of broadband infrastructure.
Utilities serving these markets are uniquely capable of providing these services by utilizing existing infrastructure and right-of-ways, proven abilities in making investment decisions on rural infrastructure timelines and established relationships with their customers, members and community leaders.
In support of this issue, the UTC has formed the Rural Broadband Council (RBC), an independent operating unit of the UTC.
As explained by the FCC in its news release describing the report and order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry (FCC 14-5), the commission is launching a broad set of voluntary experiments — including targeted experiments and cooperative research to focus on ways to deliver robust broadband to rural areas.
These experiments will explore the impact on specific values, including universal access and competition, and are meant to ensure that the nation’s communications networks continue to provide the services consumers want and need in this era of historic technological transformations. The funding for these experiments will be drawn from the Connect America Fund and the budget and the selection criteria will be determined as part of the notice of proposed rulemaking.