COMPETIFY Statement on Congressional Letter and BDS Impact on Rural Communities

In a letter sent to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler, nine Senators reiterated the need to consider rural communities as part of the FCC’s business data services (BDS) proceeding.

Below is a statement from COMPETIFY and our partners:

After ten very long years, the FCC has collected the most comprehensive data set available on the BDS market. Informed by countless reports, public comments and analysis, the FCC has compiled a complete record and is poised to provide a data driven diagnosis that is reflective of the entire marketplace. We agree with the call made by Senators Tester, Murray, Cantwell, Casey, Klobuchar, Bennett, Baldwin, King and Heitkamp to resolve this docket based on the record. Their letter is a reminder about the benefits that competition-based BDS reform will deliver for rural communities and the FCC should act on this record without delay.

Today, almost 40% of rural Americans lack access to high-speed Internet as compared to just 4% of urban Americans. Further delay of the competitive benefits of the BDS proceeding would disproportionately impact rural Americans and those who rely on mobile broadband who are already struggling to compete in the 21st century economy. Rural America need higher speeds and more advanced service offerings that can improve precision agriculture, expand telemedicine in hard to reach places, and connect schools where students can learn from classrooms around the globe. All Americans, including those living in rural America, unknowingly pay increased costs resulting from the exorbitant BDS rates paid by community anchor institutions, businesses, non-profits, government agencies, and wireless carriers. Looking to the future, BDS reform is critical to leading the world in 5G, where increased connectivity and IoT will deliver further benefits to Americans in rural areas and dense metropolises alike.

COMPETIFY Partners for the Cure include: Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee, Broadband Coalition, BT, Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), Engine, INCOMPAS, Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), Level 3, Open Technology Institute at New America, Public Knowledge, Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB), and Sprint.