Thune in Tune

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“First, rural Americans, and the smaller businesses serving them, must never be an afterthought when making public policy decisions.” So began the opening remarks of Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, in an October 4th hearing labeled “Broadband: Opportunities and Challenges in Rural America.”
Senator Thune went on to call for a united effort in Congress, rightfully saying that “universal service cannot be achieved without pragmatic and bipartisan cooperation.” He pointed to the absolute necessity of ensuring “the certainty and sufficiency of funding for broadband in rural America – for carriers and end users.”
The Senator chastised the FCC for failing to conduct the necessary economic analyses to ensure adequate rural broadband funding, while calling the impact of the Commission’s failures in this area “even greater in America’s Tribal lands.” He sharply criticized the FCC’s lack of proper analytics, combined with the 25% cuts imposed by its budget mechanism, as “simply unacceptable.”
We wholly agree. It is time for the FCC to stop endlessly talking and making promises about this issue, and actually do something about the unpredictable and inadequate support levels of high cost support in rural and tribal America.
Perhaps Democrats in the Senate, who did not exactly distinguish themselves in deliberations over Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, can gather themselves and join Republicans in a bipartisan effort to help bring universal, high speed and affordable broadband services to the most rural Americans.