Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R), along with a bipartisan group of nearly 40 senators, today sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials urging them to affirm their commitment to provide affordable and reliable broadband for consumers in the hardest to reach communities across rural America.
"In every county across our state--especially in rural areas--Coloradans tell me how critical high-speed, affordable broadband is to succeeding in the 21st century economy," Bennet said. "We hope the FCC will address the issues that many of our innovative, forward-thinking rural leaders face so they can continue to deliver reliable internet access to their communities."
"Rural Coloradans need access to broadband to grow their economies and keep our rural communities strong," Gardner said. "The Federal Communications Commission should take the necessary action to make sure rural broadband providers are receiving the resources they need to serve rural America."
In the letter, the senators pressed the FCC to address the budget shortfall of the High-Cost Universal Service Fund (USF), a program that is critical to achieving national broadband goals and closing the digital divide.
"A lack of resources to meet our [shared national broadband] goals is undermining investment and consumer access to affordable broadband across much of rural America," the senators wrote in the letter. "For this reason, we write to encourage the FCC to take the much-needed step of addressing this USF budget shortfall...Many of the providers that serve rural consumers and businesses in our states have already begun to feel the pain of an arbitrary budget cap on High-Cost USF support. We urge the FCC to take action as quickly as possible to ensure the High-Cost USF program provides sufficient and predictable support to help deliver affordable, high-quality broadband to rural consumers."