Excerpt from a letter sent by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Senator Jeffrey Merkley (OR), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI), and Senator Mazie Hirono (HI) to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler:
As senators representing states with many small towns and small businesses, we appreciate the Federal Communication Commission’s continued effort in promoting broadband infrastructure to every community, rural and urban. We are concerned, however, that the Commission’s proposed rulemaking on business data services (BDS) could have an outsized negative impact on rural telecommunications providers in our states.
Studies have shown that broadband access is an essential tool for rural economic development in today’s information economy. To attract businesses and build their own enterprises from scratch, our communities depend on a broadband infrastructure that is constantly being built and updated to accommodate the growing demand for speed and capacity. This is why we believe the policies adopted in this rulemaking must take great care in how it may affect rural areas to make sure it does not deter investments or hinder serviceability.