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National Grange Lauds Federal Communications Commission

By National Grange Press Release (4/27/12)

  APRIL 27, 2012 --

The National Grange commends the FCC's decision to launch their "Connect America Fund," a $300 million reserve that will be used to expand broadband Internet to over 400,000 unserved homes and businesses in rural areas. 

National Grange President Edward Luttrell praised the Commission for taking this step. "This is a landmark victory for rural America. Finally, rural residents will enjoy the same advantages and opportunities as their urban counterparts and be able to compete in today's global economy. Rural America has so much to offer, and now with high-speed Internet we'll be able to market and deliver those vital resources that keep our nation running."

The CAF comes as a result of the Commission's recent decision to restructure the outdated Universal Service Fund and use its funds for the benefit of broadband expansion, rather than landline telephone service. This is only the first phase of funding from the CAF, and carriers have 90 days to accept the funding and begin work on these extensive buildout requirements. 

Private carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon, are anticipated to supplement the CAF funding with their own private capital. The USF's High Cost Loop Support, or HCLS, will assist smaller rural carriers to expand broadband in their areas. HCLS provides nearly $800 million a year to small providers in an effort to offset high operating costs associated with broadband buildout. Thanks to the new reforms, approximately 500 carriers serving 2 million homes and businesses will receive more funding for broadband expansion.

Established in 1867, The National Grange, a nonpartisan, nonprofit fraternal organization, is the oldest agricultural and rural community service organization. With more than 2,100 local chapters, the Grange has evolved into the nation's leading rural advocacy organization and a major benefactor to local communities. There are more than 200,000 members across the United States. For more information on the National Grange, visit our website at www.nationalgrange.org

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