Peterson and Cramer introduce legislation to establish an “Office of Rural Telecommunications” at the FCC

Apr 13, 2018 Issues: Congressional Issues

This week, Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced the bipartisan Office of Rural Telecommunications Act to establish an “Office of Rural Telecommunications” at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Under the legislation, the office will liaise with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC), and other agencies to help coordinate federal efforts and resources to develop rural telecommunications systems. The office will also assess and publish the impact of FCC actions on rural consumers and annually report its findings to Congress. 

“This legislation will help focus the attention of the FCC on providing rural communities with dependable and affordable broadband services,” said Peterson. “Congress needs to do everything possible to shed light on the disadvantages that millions of Americans continue to face without them.”

“The FCC and other federal agencies are joining Congress to remove barriers so broadband can be more effectively deployed in rural areas,” said Cramer. “Affordable internet service is vital to small businesses, farmers, and folks all over rural America. This legislation will help give access to consumers in unreached areas by establishing an office specializing in this issue.”

The Office of Rural Telecommunications Act is endorsed by NTCA – the Rural Broadband Association and the Minnesota Telecom Alliance.