FCC Moves to Jeopardize Wireless Service in Rural America

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Decision to Limit Federal Support Will Compromise Economic Development and Severely Limit Public Safety Resources

October 2007 – [DES MOINES, Iowa] – Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) signaled its intent to cap the Federal Universal Service Fund (USF) “very soon” – most likely by November 1, 2007. This is especially dangerous for rural America as the USF provides critical support for wireless companies to build new cell towers in rural, high-cost areas across the country.

 

Congress created the USF to make sure that telecommunications technology doesn’t leave rural communities behind. The USF has enabled wireless carriers like U.S. Cellular to build hundreds of towers in rural communities nationwide and bring new service to areas that would not have otherwise had access.

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“We can’t understand why the FCC is moving forward with the cap in the face of resounding opposition from rural citizens across the country,” said John E. Rooney, President and CEO of U.S. Cellular. “I was invited to testify before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee in June because this is such an important issue for Americans. Fourteen members of Congress have submitted letters to the FCC describing how important the federal USF is to their constituents, and this ill-informed political agenda will only compromise rural communities across the country.”

 

Without reliable wireless coverage, first responders like police officers and firefighters cannot quickly and reliably deal with critical safety issues. Also, E-911 technology is useless in areas without wireless coverage, and in high-cost rural areas, wireless companies rely on federal support to make these resources available to smaller communities.

 

U.S. Cellular is calling on Congress and the FCC to protect universal service funding for wireless carriers serving rural America. Rural consumers pay into the fund and deserve access to the same reliable wireless service and choices found in urban America. With universal service support, U.S. Cellular stands ready to deliver high-quality wireless service in rural parts of our network footprint – everywhere our customers choose to live, work and play.  For more information, please visit www.connectingruralamerica.org.

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