USDA Rural Utilities Service 'weighs-in' on Telecomm Act Reform



For over 50 years, the Rural Utilities Service has been promoting universal service in rural America through targeted lending and technical advice. The competition and universal service provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 have brought a new era with both challenges and opportunities for rural Americans.

RUS is working in concert with its borrowers, other bodies such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Rural Task Force, and with rural leaders to build telecommunications infrastructure that will provide the same kinds of services for rural communities as are available in more densely populated cities and suburbs. Universal service mechanisms will stimulate this process and will help to make advanced telecommunications more affordable for rural institutions and consumers.

Advanced Telecommunications in Rural America (.pdf) is a response by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service to a request by ten U.S. Senators for an evaluation of broadband deployment in rural versus non-rural areas and the effects of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 on that process. This report also responds to a call by President Clinton and Vice President Gore to bridge the digital divide and create digital opportunities for more Americans.

Also see the USDA Telecommunications Programs web-site: