Kansas Delegation Takes Issue with FCC Broadband Funding

Lawmakers said in a joint letter that FCC action reducing subsidies to the state would hamper rural providers' attempts to invest in connectivity.

by Tim Carpenter, The Topeka Capital-Journal / October 16, 2018
Three of these smiling faces undid U.S. consumer protections online. Federal Communications Commision

(TNS) — The six-person Republican congressional delegation from Kansas recommended Monday the Federal Communications Commission bolster financial support for a fund relied upon to improve broadband service in high-cost rural areas.

U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts as well as U.S. Reps. Lynn Jenkins, Kevin Yoder, Roger Marshall and Ron Estes urged FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to reconsider the commission's budget-control mechanism that undercut the percentage of subsidized cost recovery provided to companies through the Universal Service Fund.

"Full funding of the program, as designed, helps ensure that rural Kansans have access to high-quality, affordable broadband and voice services comparable to those available in urban areas," the Kansas delegation said.

The lawmakers said in a joint letter that FCC action reducing subsidies to Kansas by $13 million during a 12-month period in 2018 and 2019 would hamper rural providers' attempts to invest in connectivity.

The letter said half of Kansas was served by rural carriers, and alteration of the funding stream threatened to postpone projects and increase consumer broadband rates.

In 2017, Moran endorsed Pai's nomination to serve a five-year term on the FCC. The senator did so while praising the Parsons native's commitment to "bringing rural communities into the digital fold so that millions more Americans have quality, reliable access to broadband and wireless connectivity."

©2018 The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kan. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.