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Cramer Calls for FCC Reform of Universal Service Fund

May 12, 2015
Press Release
115 Members Join in Call for USF Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Kevin Cramer submitted a bi-partisan letter signed by 115 Members of Congress to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging the FCC to move forward on reforms to the Universal Service Fund (USF) to ensure consumers in areas served by small, rate-of-return providers have the same choice among reasonably comparable telecom services at reasonably comparable rates available to consumers in urban areas.  Under current rules, when a customer buys traditional voice services (with or without broadband services) from a rural telephone company, the company is eligible for USF support. However, if a customer “cuts the cord” of traditional phone service in favor of wireless or Internet-based phone services, rural communities served by smaller telecommunication providers lose access to USF broadband support.

 If the FCC fails to act, this policy will lead to less support and less choice for rural customers.   This can cause problems since our nation’s universal service policy is to increase broadband usage and deployment in rural areas. This lack of USF support disregards consumer preference and runs counter to the FCC’s own National Broadband Plan, whose stated goal is promoting the use and growth of broadband networks in rural America.

“I thank my colleagues for signing this letter and urging the FCC to reform the USF.  This debate is about more than money.  It is about ensuring students, teachers, doctors, small business owners, farmers and parents have access to the same technology as consumers in urban areas.  The FCC needs to update its rules and regulations to reflect the rapidly changing telecommunications environment.  Living in rural America presents numerous challenges already but these reforms ensure access to high quality, affordable communication technology is not one of them,” said Cramer.

"Members of the independent telecommunications companies in North Dakota are very appreciative of Congressman Cramer and other co-signers of the letter to Chairman Wheeler and the other members of the Federal Communications Commission.    Many of the issues addressed in the letter are long overdue for action by the agency, but there also must be recognition through action by the FCC that rural Americans lead a lifestyle that whose foundation rests upon access to state of the art affordable broadband.  Congressman Cramer recognizes the difficulties rural residents face being able to fully use the educational, health and economic advantages broadband affords if the FCC does not make the right decisions quickly.   The North Dakota Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives applauds Mr. Cramer for taking the initiative to make sure that rural America is not left behind,” said David Crothers, Executive Vice President, North Dakota Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives.

Click here to download a copy of the letter sent to FCC Chairman Wheeler.

Full List of Congressmen Signing the Letter

(Democratic Members in Italics)

  1. Kevin Cramer (ND-AL)
  2. Rick Allen (GA-12)
  3. Mark Amodei (NV-02)
  4. Andy Barr (KY-06)
  5. Rob Bishop (UT-01)
  6. Rod Blum (IA-01)
  7. Mike Bost (IL-12)
  8. Charles Boustany (LA-03)
  9. Jim Bridenstine (OK-01)
  10. Susan Brooks (IN-05)
  11. Ken Buck (CO-04)
  12. Larry Buschon (IN-08)
  13. Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
  14. Buddy Carter (GA-01)
  15. Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
  16. Mike Coffman (CO-06)
  17. Tom Cole (OK-04)
  18. Doug Collins (GA-09)
  19. Mike Conaway (TX-11)
  20. Rick Crawford (AR-01)
  21. Rodney Davis (IL-13)
  22. Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
  23. Diana DeGette (CO-01)
  24. Scott DesJarlais (TN-04)
  25. Jeff Duncan (SC-03)
  26. Sean Duffy (WI-07)
  27. Renee Ellmers (NC-02)
  28. Blake Farenthold (TX-27)
  29. Virginia Foxx (NC-05)
  30. John Garamendi (CA-03)
  31. Chris Gibson (NY-19)
  32. Louie Gohmert (TX-01)
  33. Gwendolyn Graham (FL-02)
  34. Sam Graves (MO-06)
  35. Morgan Griffith (VA-09)
  36. Glenn Grothman (WI-06)
  37. Brett Guthrie (KY-02)
  38. Gregg Harper (MS-03)
  39. Vicky Hartzler (MO-04)
  40. French Hill (AR-02)
  41. Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15)
  42. Tim Huelskamp (KS-01)
  43. Jared Huffman (CA-02)
  44. Will Hurd (TX-23)
  45. Lynn Jenkins (KS-02)
  46. Bill Johnson (OH-06)
  47. Walter Jones (NC-03)
  48. Derek Kilmer (WA-06)
  49. Ron Kind (WI-03)
  50. Steve King (IA-04)
  51. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16)
  52. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
  53. John Kline (MN-02)
  54. Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02)
  55. Raúl Labrador (ID-01)
  56. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)
  57. Doug Lamborn (CO-05)
  58. Bob Latta (OH-05)
  59. Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
  60. Billy Long (MO-07)
  61. Frank Lucas (OK-03)
  62. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03)
  63. Cynthia Lummis (WY-AL)
  64. Michael McCaul (TX-10)
  65. David McKinley (WV-01)
  66. Luke Messer (IN-06)
  67. Gwen Moore (WI-04)
  68. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02)
  69. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)
  70. Kristi Noem (SD-AL)
  71. Richard Nolan (MN-08)
  72. Pete Olson (TX-22)
  73. Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
  74. Steve Pearce (NM-02)
  75. Collin Peterson (MN-7)
  76. Mark Pocan (WI-02)
  77. Jared Polis (CO-02)
  78. John Ratcliffe (TX-04)
  79. Reid Ribble (WI-08)
  80. Tom Rice (SC-07)
  81. Martha Roby (AL-02)
  82. Hal Rogers (KY-05)
  83. Todd Rokita (IN-04)
  84. Peter Roskam (IL-06)
  85. David Rouzer (NC-07)
  86. Steve Russell (OK-05)
  87. Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
  88. Austin Scott (GA-08)
  89. Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05)
  90. John Shimkus (IL-15)
  91. Mike Simpson (ID-02)
  92. Louise Slaughter (NY-25)
  93. Adrian Smith (NE-03)
  94. Lamar Smith (TX-21)
  95. Jason Smith (MO-08)
  96. Elsie Stefanik (NY-21)
  97. Chris Stewart (UT-02)
  98. Steve Stivers (OH-15)
  99. Mac Thornberry (TX-13)
  100. Scott Tipton (CO-03)
  101. David Valadao (CA-21)
  102. Filemon Vela (TX-34)
  103. Ann Wagner (MO-02)
  104. Tim Walberg (MI-07)
  105. Jackie Waloski (IN-02)
  106. Tim Walz (MN-01)
  107. Peter Welch (VT-AL)
  108. Bruce Westerman (AR-04)
  109. Ed Whitfield (KY-01)
  110. Joe Wilson (SC-02)
  111. Steve Womack (AR-03)
  112. David Young (IA-03)
  113. Don Young (AK-AL)
  114. Todd Young (IN-09)
  115. Ryan Zinke (MT-AL)