Washington, D.C. – The Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG), a trade association representing small, rural wireless carriers, supports the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its actions today that further support healthy competition in the wireless marketplace.
RTG applauds both the FCC’s unanimous decision to eliminate the in-market or “home” roaming exception to its automatic roaming rules and also its decision to re-open rulemaking on the application of automatic roaming rules to mobile data. The complete elimination of the in-market roaming exception finally corrects a small but important misstep by the FCC in its automatic voice roaming rules. Additionally, while RTG supports the introduction of the second further notice of proposed rulemaking for mobile data roaming, it remains cautiously optimistic that today’s decision by the Commission will ultimately harmonize both voice and data roaming services and realize the dream of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) by making universal mobile broadband access to rural Americans a reality.
“RTG is happy to see the automatic roaming rules for voice services return to how they were originally intended and it looks forward to working with the Commission and other parties to make universal mobile data roaming a similar reality”, said Caressa Bennet, RTG’s General Counsel. The FCC, through the NBP, has emphatically recognized that rural Americans need access to roaming and spectrum to be on par with their urban counterparts.”
On the universal service front, RTG is troubled by the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking on high-cost universal service since it proposes radical changes to the current mechanism in order to refocus funding toward broadband when the FCC’s broadband authority has been called into question. “RTG is gravely concerned that the Commission is going full bore to dismantle the current universal service program when there exists great uncertainty over the broadband portions of the NBP,” stated Caressa Bennet. She added that “it would be a disaster for rural areas and rural businesses if traditional high-cost funding to small, rural carriers is eliminated in exchange for a reverse auction regime that favors nationwide carriers with no rural roots.”
About RTG – Headquartered in Washington, DC, RTG is a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who serve less than 100,000 subscribers. RTG’s members have joined together to speed delivery of new, efficient and innovative wireless broadband technologies to remote and underserved communities. www.ruraltelecomgroup.org.
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