Oklahoma Farm Report masthead graphic with wheat on the left and cattle on the right.
Howdy Neighbors!
Ron Hays, Director of Farm and Ranch Programming, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network  |  2401 Exchange Ave, Suite F, Oklahoma City, Ok 73108  |  (405) 601-9211


Agricultural News

Lucas Joins Peterson, Bi-Partisan Delegation In Introducing Universal Broadband Act

Tue, 05 May 2020 13:33:44 CDT

Lucas Joins Peterson, Bi-Partisan Delegation In Introducing Universal Broadband Act Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives Don Young (R-AK) in introducing The Universal Broadband Act. The Universal Broadband Act will ensure rural Americans have the opportunity to access reliable broadband services by expanding the Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution base to include broadband services, rather than the current outdated model that draws support solely from telephone services. The costs of building out service to areas without adequate broadband continues to rise, while the current base that contributes to the USF is declining. This has resulted in an increasingly growing contribution factor, overburdening those who are required to contribute.

“Access to affordable high-speed internet is essential to prosper in the 21st century economy. Thanks to the leadership of my friend and colleague Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Congress is expanding the investment to the Universal Service Fund to ensure all Americans have reliable access to broadband,” said Congressman Lucas.

Lucas continued, “The Universal Service Fund can trace its origins back to Depression-era efforts to provide telecommunication services to low-income households and high-cost areas across the nation. As the USF’s mission has evolved over time to include the expansion of broadband internet service to rural America, the contribution structure that supports the Fund has become more and more outdated.”

“While the cost of the programs supported by the Universal Service Fund continue to rise, the already-overburdened contribution base continues to diminish. The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the inequities our rural communities face due to lack of broadband. Families have struggled to keep their children connected with their teachers through online learning. Telemedicine has been essential for people across the country to receive medical attention without going into the doctor’s office, but even the best of this resource isn’t available to you if you don’t have the broadband capabilities to join a video chat. For the fortunate few who are able to work from home, productivity is often limited by a household’s broadband speed. Our work in this area is far from finished, but the Universal Broadband Act will be an important step in bridging the digital divide between rural and urban areas. This is more important now than ever.”

“Reliable broadband is a utility, every bit as necessary as electricity,” said Rep. Peterson. “From distance learning to telehealth and the transitions of working from home during a public health crisis, broadband is more important than ever. It’s unacceptable that rural communities have limited, unreliable or worse yet no broadband access. In response to these inequities I have introduced the Universal Broadband Act that secures adequate funding to support the construction of broadband infrastructure in rural and underserved areas without having to increase the national debt.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of broadband access for our communities, schools, and health care providers," said Rep. Young. "We must work so that those in our rural areas can have access to the connectivity they need to keep their families safe and give them a semblance of normalcy. I am proud to partner with my good friend Congressman Collin Petersen on this critical effort to help close the digital divide, and will continue working to ensure that Alaska’s families can stay connected.”

The Universal Broadband Act would provide long-awaited reinvestment into the USF that prioritizes building out broadband without over-burdening the FCC from extensive new regulations. The bill would:

• Codify that broadband is within the definition of Universal Service;
• Require the FCC to set the contribution rate as needed to meet Universal Service goals and serve all Americans;
• Require consultation between USDA’s Rural Utility Service (RUS), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the FCC;
• Create reporting requirements to ensure the FCC is meeting their build out goals; and
• Prioritize unserved areas, and further ensure tribal areas are served.

NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, CEO, Shirley Bloomfield “NTCA applauds the vision of Reps. Peterson and Young, and these other leaders in Congress, in seeking to ensure that the universal service programs that are so critical to bridge digital divides sit atop a solid and more reliable foundation. Now more than ever, as we telecommute, educate our children remotely and try to stay connected with loved ones online, it has become clear that broadband communications play an essential role in our nation’s economy, and the well-being of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, even as the importance of universal broadband connectivity increases, the system that governs contributions to the Universal Service Fund (USF)—the program that enables such connectivity—has continued to erode and become less stable. By directing the expansion of the USF contribution base to include broadband access services—those very services that have become a primary focus of our country’s shared universal service mission—this bipartisan bill, which NTCA endorses wholeheartedly, charts a course for steadier long-term support of the USF program on a more equitable basis, and it will therefore help to promote achievement of all aspects of that mission.”

National Farmers Union, President, Rob Larew “Family farmers depend on the internet to access critical information about markets and environmental conditions, implement precision agriculture technology, and reach customers. But currently, more than a third of rural Americans lack access to affordable, high-speed broadband. By expanding the scope of and stabilizing the revenue stream for the Universal Service Fund, the Universal Broadband Act makes great strides toward ensuring that every rural household has access to this essential resource. NFU thanks Chairman Peterson for his ongoing leadership on this important issue that affects many of our members.”

American Farm Bureau Federation, President, Zippy Duvall “There are more than 19 million rural Americans that lack broadband access. This bill will modernize the Universal Service Fund to help our rural communities bridge the digital divide.”

Farm Credit Council, President and CEO,Todd Van Hoose
“Access to broadband is critical, and rural communities trail their urban counterparts. We thank Reps. Peterson and Young for introducing the Universal Broadband Act. This legislation will help ensure the longevity of the Universal Service Fund, which is vital to the expansion of broadband networks in underserved and rural areas.”



WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI


Top Agricultural News

  • Cleaning on a Regular Basis is a Must in Offices as We Return to Workplace  Mon, 01 Jun 2020 09:45:18 CDT
  • California Scientist Believes Cattle Are Not Adding Extra Methane To The Environment  Mon, 01 Jun 2020 09:44:45 CDT
  • Lucas Praises Successful SpaceX Launch: This is a New Era of Space Travel  Mon, 01 Jun 2020 09:37:57 CDT
  • National Dairy Month to Recognize Dairy Farmers’ Commitment to Communities  Mon, 01 Jun 2020 08:37:06 CDT
  • New Thresholds, Familiar Program Helps Bull Buyer Narrow Options  Mon, 01 Jun 2020 07:33:28 CDT
  • Monday Preopening Market Update with Dave Lanning   Mon, 01 Jun 2020 07:04:56 CDT
  • Lucas Joins Colleagues Advocating Flexibility for Oklahoma’s Cattle Producers  Mon, 01 Jun 2020 07:01:47 CDT
  • Oklahoma Grain Elevator Cash Bids as of 2:00 p.m. Friday, May 29  Sun, 31 May 2020 16:40:47 CDT

  • More Headlines...


    Ron salutes our daily email sponsors!

    Oklahoma City Farm Show KIS FUTURES, INC. Oklahoma Ag Credit Oklahoma Farm Bureau National Livestock Credit Ag Mediation Program P&K Equipment AFR Insurance Stillwater Milling Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association

    Our Road to Rural Prosperity sponsors!


    Search OklahomaFarmReport.com

    © 2008-2020 Oklahoma Farm Report
    Email Ron   |   Newsletter Signup   |    Current Spots   |    Program Links

    WebReady powered by WireReady® Inc.